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The Misrepresentation by the Secular Left

The Misrepresentation by the Secular Left

Recently, while doing an internet search, I came across a critique of a piece I wrote last December, regarding the assault on Christmas. Out of curiosity I investigated the link to see where it took me.

Most of the time, I don't write much about the responses I get to my editorials. I don't need to publicly attack everyone who disagrees with me, nor do I want to accommodate publicity seekers who hope they will get mentioned in future columns. I have had my share of personal attacks and hits from people who want to pick a fight over the internet.

In this case I will make an exception, because the blog/website of the critic was very informational in stating the goal and ideological positions that will prove to be an informative catalyst and launching pad for discussion.

The site is , and is operated by a self-professed humanist and atheist named Doug Berger. From the beginning I must compliment Mr. Berger for one thing. He didn't feel the need to tell me that he was panning my column, and then send me a link to his review. I run into several people who did that, then go on to publish any portion of personal correspondence that they think will make them look good.

Mr. Berger succinctly articulates the purpose of his blog/website as such:

 "The only political agenda this blog has is to respond to the name calling, lies, and myths propagated by the 'right'".

I would be the first to admit there are misrepresentations, name calling and incorrect assertions propagated by the right-wing at times. However, when Berger says that there are lies being told, he moves into an accusatory position that will cause me to demand a higher standard from his claims also. To call someone a liar, you must know something about the thoughts and intentions of the individual making the claim. In this era of reckless character assassinations, we have become impervious to the principle that if lying is despicable, then calling someone a liar gratuitously is proportionally as repugnant.

Berger goes on to identify his target audience.

"People covered by the label 'secular left' seem to include the entire Democratic party, those who support separation of church and state, those who support real religious liberty, those who support reproductive choice, those who work to lessen poverty, those who work for better world understanding, those who support sane environmental protection, and those who trust science as a tool for solving problems or answering questions in our world."

 And here is where our analysis will begin.

First off, I don't consider the secular left to be the whole Democratic Party. The problem is the national democratic platform. Party democrats, who don't comply with certain important planks, find there is no place at the table for them. Look at what happened to pro-life candidate Bob Casey a few years back, or what is now happening to Joseph Lieberman for not attacking the president on Iraq. This is not so with Republicans, where people like Juliani, Schwarzenegger, McCain, and others are given prominent roles as spokesmen.  

Who are those "enlightened" folks that support separation of church and state? I have news for you: I support separation of church and state also. The Judeo-Christian tradition has always recognized that principle, going back to the theocracy of ancient Israel, with its division of priest and king, temple and palace, law and gospel, tithe and tax, etc; whereas pagan nations often melded the religious and political authority into one figurehead. The difference is that I see the proscribed separation as a functional and jurisdictional division of duty and authority, whereas Berger likely means an ideological separation that is tantamount to "separation of the acknowledgment of God from government." We should all know what George Washington said about that (see his Day of Thanksgiving Proclamation address).

Who are those who support real religious liberty? I would bet Mr. Berger has in mind not those people who want to keep the state out of regulating religious free exercise, but those who desire freedom from religion across the culture, save our houses of worship and bedroom closets.

What does it mean to support reproductive choice? Are there groups of activists who are trying to prevent women from giving birth to their own children? Of course this is code for pro-abortion. These people never seem to understand that there are important choices made before a woman becomes pregnant; choice doesn't begin there. I visited the Freedom from Religion Foundation website a few years ago. They proudly boasted that atheists also have charities. It seems they had formed one to help indigent women pay for abortions. I asked a local member if the financial support applied to women deciding to give birth and raise the child, or place the baby up for adoption. I guess you know how committed to choice they actually are.

Are only liberals working to lessen poverty? I am glad he words it that way (lessen poverty). Poverty is a function of the corrupted condition of humanity, thus it will never be completely eradicated, yet it certainly can be curtailed. I am not against this and either are conservatives at large. We simply believe that charity is giving from the heart, and should be done by groups and individuals who are convicted of that cause. Charity is not the domain of the government. That only politicizes true charity, a la, vote for me and I'll give you another program. Greed is not the only reason for poverty. The "left" often condemns greed, but then encourages its minions to covet without limitation (relentless rhetoric of class).

I would love to promote better world understanding, but you can't negotiate with a rattlesnake, or make a bargain with the devil. Only a fool or despot wants war, hatred and bloodshed. But there has to be some balance to your approach, because it's not always possible to come to an amicable agreement with everyone. Not everyone is appeased with a bottle of Coca Cola (if you remember the ad). What do you do then? When a person vows to kill me, I want to think about defending myself, rather than spending all my time philosophizing about why the guy hates me. Some people don't need a good reason for wanting to do harm. I can turn the other cheek for myself, but no political leader has the authority to do so on behalf of a whole country, particularly when bound to a national covenant requiring him to provide for national defense.

I have always believed in ecology and sensible conservation. I demonstrate that in the automobile I choose to drive (should choice be applicable here?), the temperature setting of my house thermostat, and my affinity with nature. On the other hand, the belief that man is causing global warming seems to be a declaration of faith more than fact. The earth has warmed before without any combustion engines or factory smoke to help it along. This issue seems the equivalent of the "left's" Armageddon.

Are you against scientific progress or scientific procedures as a means for factual discovery? There may be people who are, but I haven't met many. Of course, Mr. Berger probably has a different understand of that concept as well. I don't subscribe to the naturalistic fallacy, that you can extract "what ought to be" from "what is," or what "could be." For instance, should we experiment with embryonic stem-cells just because we can? Do we ask if moral factors mitigate our scientific quests? If not, there is really no reason for not cloning humans. If one really believes in avoiding issues that are divisive, if one really believes in being flexible and fostering understanding, then why not go the adult stem-cell alternative and bring virtually everyone on board to support research? The "left" would rather imply that those opposed to their position are ignorant Luddites, or uncompassionate zealots, while depicting resistance towards caprice in bioethics as another chapter in the Galileo versus the Roman Catholic Church misadventure. I'd like to know by what true scientific axiom we declare a Zygote or Fetus not to be human life.

Let's not forget that anyone who doubts the fact of macroevolution is a hopeless crackpot. Some might remind us that over 99% of "credible" scientists believe this. Of course, if one has to believe such in order to be credible in the first place, the statement is something of a tautology.

I have written an editorial, if not several pieces about virtually all these issues in greater detail. Is not Mr. Berger perpetuating myth by default, in the way he characterizes his own audience? You be the judge.