Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Learning to Understand Each Other

Recently, I made a comment on another blog indicating my feeling that the government unfairly attacked liberal churches, when they turn a blind eye to the same things happening in conservative congregations. Another blogger (not the site's owner) quickly responded that he saw exactly the opposite happening: that liberals could get away with all sorts of political action, but that conservatives are always attacked for being too conservative.

Clearly, we have seen the same information, and yet have come to exactly opposite conclusions. I was reminded of this entry by Steven Waldman at written shortly after the rancorous 2004 presidential election. It details a number of ways in which conservatives and liberals fail to understand each other. I encourage everyone to read the whole article, but here's a snippet:
Most Support Separation of Church and State to Protect Religion

There is indeed an outspoken group of secular liberals who oppose any manifestation of religion in the public sphere because they are suspicious of religion in general, and their views are Constitutionally protected. But most liberals (and many conservatives) fret about the separation of church and state because they want to protect the free expression of religious views. Conservatives might scoff at this as an over-reaction, and perhaps it is, but for most liberals it's a view born out of a love of religious freedom.

They Feel Under Assault

With conservatives controlling the House, Senate, White House, and Supreme Court -- and Christians accounting for 83% of the population -- it's hard for liberals to understand how conservative Christians can feel persecuted or under attack. But religious conservatives look at this way: they have clear beliefs about what is right or wrong. They think homosexuality is wrong, for instance. They turn on the TV and see it treated as morally okeedoke, and there's nothing they can do about it. They may have the numbers but they nonetheless feel powerless against a popular culture that doesn't seem to share their values, and in the face of aggressive judges who impose their will over the objections of state legislatures.

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