“Waste the hours with talking, talking. These twisted games we’re playing.”– Dave Matthews
Those of you that have been reading these regularly have probably deciphered a pattern. I tend to hover around the same topics like a moth rushing to the flame. Yesterday’s piece concerned religion. At the other site I write for, it drew a ton of interest. One even not so kindly requested that I stop writing about my invisible wizard in the sky.
So, I won’t subject them to this piece, but as I have said here many times, I pay the freight over here. These are not isolated topics. These are all intertwined in my mind. It is easy to blame all of this on one side and that is certainly our most basic instinct, but in this case it would be wrong.
The biggest connection here comes from the concept of issue framing. The simplest way to consider this is to consider it as a form of language. It’s more like a regional dialect. It’s like those raging debates about how “coke” is labeled in speech or how someone says “y’all.” In this case, it isn’t regional but spiritual (or not spiritual).
People speak in a particular way when they come from a Christian tradition. They speak in a certain way when they don’t. They also speak in a specific way when they used to be Christian and have decided to go in a different direction they speak in a specific way. A large part of keeping a big tent in politics is finding ways to communicate to a variety of groups. Those groups all have languages of their own.
The Democratic party has slowly developed an advantage over time of communicating with people of color. They have developed an advantage of communicating with women. They have developed an advantage of communicating with the LGTBQ+ community. They have developed an advantage in communicating with those that have shunned the church.
That leaves one group out. Those are the people that the party is having an increasingly difficult time reaching. Those are the people that many progressives are becoming increasingly hostile towards. These are the folks that share political values even when they are still members of the flock. They can be reached if you simply speak the language.
It is all well and good not to be interested in the church itself, but it is paramount to understand the politics going on inside it. There is a divide throughout Christianity between what we might classify as the legalistic group of Christians and those that we might classify as the social justice group of Christians.
The Bible obviously can be split into various parts, but the two biggest dichotomies exist between all of the rules and regulations that people of faith are supposed to follow and the mission of Christ. That mission involves feeding the poor, clothing the naked, and healing the sick. That is the very heart of the progressive platform.
The problem comes when you insult believers. I understand it. Many believers are insulting themselves. They don’t respect non-believers and deride them unmercifully. We all get that. Yet, there are a group of good and decent believers that believe in our values that are there to be courted. I know because I’m one of them.
The current strategy forces those that we might label “the Christian left” to choose between Christian and left. When you force people to choose you never end up liking their choice. When you are forced to choose you usually choose against those forcing you to make the choice. Stop making them choose.