Americans love a good fight, especially mano a mano. It’s just the way we’ve come to view life. Cowboys vs. Indians, Rocky Balboa vs. Clubber Lang, the Philadelphia Phillies vs...ouch, never mind…you understand. In our minds, one is good and right, the other bad and wrong.
Politics in the 21st century has followed the lead of culture, and the media. Once a venue for broad dialogue, the political arena is now as bloody and brutal as was the Roman Coliseum. The more distinct the differences between opponents, the easier it is to root for our side, and hiss at the enemy. Problem is, in creating the extreme caricatures necessary to pitch our political battles, we have begun to carelessly draw lines of demarcation—and association—that either don’t exist, or shouldn't be inferred.
Conservatives, in their desire to fashion the perfect enemy, have portrayed all liberals as money-squandering, tree-hugging, values-neutral (or -negative) Democrats who have lost touch with the people, and use religion only as a means to an end.. Conversely, as liberals create their conservative bogeyman, they talk about oil-hungry Republicans that look out for the “rich,” rather than the average American. Under the thumbs of the “big corporations,” these red-staters associate with the “religious right,” and largely do not have the capacity to think for themselves.
Of course, such broad brush portrayals are unfair and wrong. Yet, the recently redux liberal radio network Air America is hoping at least one of these stereotypes holds water.
Enter “FreeThought Radio.” The new Air America offering will feature guests like Christopher Hitchens, author of the best-selling book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Co-host Dan Barker is president of the “Freedom From Religion Foundation,” a “national association of freethinkers” whose purposes—as stated in the organization’s bylaws—are “to promote the separation of church and state,” and “to educate the public" (I despise that phrase!) on "matters relating to nontheism.”
The questions I would ask of self-proclaimed liberal Christians are these: what’s “progressive” about “nontheism?” Is Air America saying that a large-enough segment of the liberal nation is “nontheist,” to merit associating Democrats with such unbelief? Do these people speak for you? And is the "irreligious Left" the natural negative image of the "religious Right?"
In its mission statement, the Freedom from Religion Foundation cites its efforts to “[act] against the ongoing campaign against civil rights for women, gays, and lesbians led by churches.” Sadly, there are apparently there are not enough “progressives” in those churches to stop this “ongoing campaign,” according to "FreeThought Radio." Or perhaps—in their efforts to demonize conservatives—Air America is OK with one of their programs demonizing Christians and their churches by association.
In part 2 of "Who Speaks for God?" on Thursday: The Gospel According to Coulter, Stills, Nash, and Osteen