Better to Stick with Secularism

The whole Sojourners’ discussion with Clinton, Obama and Edwards is a exercise in wishful thinking by both the Sojourners and the Democratic candidates.

It’s no secret that the Democrats’ own base is very secular.  It’s also no secret that the Republicans’ base tends to be religious.  So the trick for these candidates is to sound like they’re religious when they convey a message to their own base that they’re not.  This is very cynical politics.

Hillary is the best positioned to take advantage of this, as is the case with many other things.  She was raised in a United Methodist church and was led into the "religious left" by her activist youth minister, Don Jones.  She is a moralistic person, which sometimes doesn’t fit well with the "party animal" branch of the left.  Her background makes it easier for her to use the buzz words of evangelicalism, which she did profusely, especially when talking about her dealing with the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Edwards has to deal with the whole religious issue because he is a lower middle class Southerner.  He obviously knows how to sprinkle a little religion in front of a jury, which probably helped him become a successful trial lawyer.  Religious lefties probably find his high lifestyle hard to take, but that’s part of the scene he’s a product of too.  Those who come up to success are almost expected to flaunt it because it creates a visible example for others to follow.  That’s why so many preachers do it that way.

Obama, with a complex background, is probably less at ease with this issue than the others.  That’s one reason why George Soros likes him so much.

The truth is, however, that statists–and all of these people are that–see religion solely in its ability to serve the interests of the government, not religion as a way to animate society to be and do better.  This is close to an "opiate of the people" line of thinking, as Marx and Engels would put it.  That’s why conservative evangelicalism frightens them and the rest of the left–it represents to them a power challenge.  That’s why they want to co-opt it the best they can.

It would be more honest of them, however, to stick with secularism and try to buy off the public with new government programs than to try and impress the rest of us with their religiosity.

Leave a Reply