Religion and the left

Katha Pollitt kpollitt at
Tue Jun 2 12:29:51 PDT 1998

Several listmembers have said things along the lines of the Left should be more sympathetic to, tolerant of, willing to work with religious people, more careful about distinguishing religious belief from particular noxious political positions held by some religious people. etc.

the Nation has run article after article making these points on no evidence and distorted quotes (some from me!). But WHO exactly is doing all this chastising of everyone who believes in god? WHO is refusing to work with Sister Helen Prejean on death penalty stuff, or the methodist church on social justice issues? Who says Cornel West is a jackass because he's a minister? Where is the "left" attack on the Methodists or the presbyterians or the maryknolls or the reform branch of Judaism? the issue is not about casting religious people from "the left" because they believe in God, but about the specific content of certain faith-based conservative political causes. Let's have some concrete citations -- not anecdotes about some rude thing that happened twenty years ago, or some vague impression.

I don't care whether people believe in God or not -- as someone said, most people believe lots of foolish things, including me no doubt -- so if my friend Peggy wants to believe in Jesus, fine. but I don't want to pay for their schools, I don't want my child to have to say their prayers or listen, in public school, to their abstinence-only garbage, and I don't want their doctrines running my personal life, whether its my right to a divorce or my right to read books about gay history in the public library.

Best, Katha

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list