Mike the Mad Biologist

I think Amanda’s take on Amy Sullivan’s denigration of the term pro-choice is pretty dead on. But something else about that interview bothered me, and it was Sullivan’s need for religious validation from political figures and parties. In the interview, Sullivan says:

When you write off Catholics and evangelicals as not your voters, you’re stereotyping. When you make fun of John Ashcroft or George W. Bush for praying, you are giving off a sense that there’s something wrong with that. That there’s something ridiculous about people who spend their mornings with prayer. And we’ve seen this in the polling data as well: When we ask people if they think Democrats are friendly to people of faith, only 29 percent think that now. And those numbers were in the high 40s and 50s a few years ago. So whether it’s a result of Republican spin or failures the Democrats have had themselves, the end result is they’re being seen as hostile to faith and they’re not getting all of the religious voters who really should be with the Democratic Party.

To the extent that many Democrats–including religious Democrats–feel uncomfortable with religious displays by political figures, I think it revolves around the related issues of validation and exclusion.

I don’t need or want a political figure to validate my religious beliefs. On the contrary, as a member of a religious minority (and here’s where the post title comes in), I feel very uncomfortable when politicians do this, because, almost certainly, they are excluding (or invalidating) other religions, even if they don’t realize it. Granted, a non-denominational “Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub! Yay, God!” type of prayer wouldn’t bother me (although I don’t really see the need for one in a politically-related setting), but it would probably bother many atheists, who would feel excluded. From personal experience, this sort of exclusion feels awful. And, most importantly, unless you feel the need for religious validation from political figures (and that’s just fucking stupid), it is not necessary.

That’s ultimately what bothers me about Sullivan. Protestant Christians have been the theological default setting in the U.S. (while at the same time, some claim to be discriminated against. Go figure…). Now that they’re not, they get to join the rest of us religious minority types. If every time their religious beliefs and practices will not be granted special ‘supraecumenical’ status (even when they’re actually quite sectarian), they think they’re being discriminated against, then they’re going to have a very long next couple of decades.

Welcome to Minorityville.

Update: Amanda has more.

Comments

  1. #1 Jeb, FCD
    February 26, 2008

    That there’s something ridiculous about people who spend their mornings with prayer.

    There is something wrong with that. I would rather have my political leaders spend their mornings doing something effective instead of just wiling away the hours wishing.

  2. #2 Dave Briggs
    February 27, 2008

    So whether it’s a result of Republican spin or failures the Democrats have had themselves, the end result is they’re being seen as hostile to faith and they’re not getting all of the religious voters who really should be with the Democratic Party.

    I think I know how she feels. I have been a Christian for 30 years. A science lover for longer than that, and I deeply care about how the government operates to serve the people. It seems that the Democratic party has the only hope for us to make a nation of the people and for the people again.
    Even people in the same religious denomination don’t always agree on everything. If the Democratic party could find ways to reach out more to people of faith I think it would be the best for the country, and since we in the USA are blessed to be the, ( or a), leading economy which helps the whole world, it would be best for the whole world!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  3. #3 bellatrys
    February 27, 2008

    The problem is that non-conservative Catholic Democrats are considered to be heretical, Not Really Catholics by the people that Sullivan wants to court. Sen. Patrick Leahy? Not Really Catholic. Likewise John Kerry. They could be rosary-carrying daily massgoers and it wouldn’t matter to the conservative Catholic single-issue voter – it would just be further evidence of their hypocrisy/doctrinal incoherence.

    No amount of pandering is going to win the votes of people like the person I once was.

    Being forced to confront the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance of the so-called Prolife movement, however, worked wonders…

  4. #4 Right Democrat
    March 2, 2008

    The reality is that you have Catholic and evangelical voters who are not single issue in focus but have been turned off the hard-line secularist and pro-choice image of the Democratic Party. There is really a “religious middle” that in election years is torn between fairly conservative social values aand populist-progressive views on economic matters. Democrats win when these voters come home to the party. Bob Casey’s 2006 Senate victory in Pennsylvania is a good example.

  5. #5 erotik shop
    June 19, 2009

    The problem is that non-conservative Catholic Democrats are considered to be heretical, Not Really Catholics by the people that Sullivan wants to court. Sen. Patrick Leahy? Not Really Catholic. Likewise John Kerry. They could be rosary-carrying daily massgoers and it wouldn’t matter to the conservative Catholic single-issue voter – it would just be further evidence of their hypocrisy/doctrinal incoherence.

  6. #6 nusret
    August 21, 2009

    very thanks for article

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