Nasty epithet

Drinking tea, getting ready for church, I turned on the TV looking for “the farm report” — Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (which Peregrinato also likes) and I couldn’t find it.

Did, however, find an hour-long condensed version of a conference on the growth of the religious right in America on Maryland Public Television.

Info: Examining The Religious Far Right

But one of the things that struck me most is the encouragement from two or three participants for centrists and leftists not to tar those on the right with (what one participant said, paraphrasing) “nasty epithets” of radical, extreme, and the like. He said these are meaningless and perjoritive, and I’m inclinded to agreed. How can you expect someone to listen to you — and there is a large opportunity to reach out to people who are both right-leaning and sensible — if we (the center to left) resorts to high-handed name-calling.

In particular, I’ve noted that highly-placed Unitarian Universalist ingulge in this and come off like partisans. I think that needs to end.

Ah! There’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly on WETA, but too late for me to get to church, too!

3 Replies to “Nasty epithet”

  1. I’m often at a loss as to how to relate people on the right in general and to the Christian right in particular. I often experience it as a kind of postmodern dilemma, not quite knowing what to say or what action to take. An angry or hostile response seems undesirable, although I often feel impatient toward them. At least two of my acquaintances became quite angry with me when I told them that I did not “support the troops” in Iraq and Afghanistan in the way that they do. That is, I support them as people and want to bring them out of harm’s way immediately. It seems to me that war should and could have been abolished long ago. I feel a lot like an Adin Ballou universalist in the wrong century trying to deal with an imperial presidency way out of control


  2. I find that I in theory this is a great idea. In practice it is worth trying for. For talking to the centrists it is something to work towards. For those folks who use similar words to discribe those of us on the left…I suppose on idea is to just walk away?

  3. John, Why mix politics and faith so? I work in a VA hospital. If you told me “You don’t support the troops” I’d like to think I’d try in put that in context but fankly, I’d be angry with you as the troops are real people for me; deserving of support, honor, and respect regardless of ones poltics. I go out and shake hands with patients and thank them for their service if ever find that thought not close to my heart. Next time you see someone in uniform, can up and say thankyou.

    I volunteer overnight on Sats at a homeless shelter in a Free Methodist Church. The UU who oriented me towards volunteering there said he would leave promptly at 7am on Sunday to avoid the bible study class. My first night, my evangelical volunteer-colleague asked me about Unitarianism vs Trinitarianism. He wanted to know. He was deeply interested. I dread that kind of question because I’m damned if I know a good answer. It’s a question no longer relevant to my life. So I punted with a dry history lesson. I’ll do better next time simply because I put more thought into faith blogging now.

    But I do realize we UUs badly need the Christian right because we’re the flip side of the same coin. Our minister told us one Sunday of a call she received from a Evangelical therapist concerned about a client in deep despair over hell and damanation. The therapist asked if our Minister would council the person on Universal Salavation. That faith is complex and there is hope.

    We can serve that smaller group of believers who often deeply despair because Gods message can get tangled. We can help people live with that complexity, and to foresake dialogue with those folks –even if just to make are selves available for mind twisters like what’s the difference between Unitarian and Trinitarian– would be tragic.

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