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Is it theocracy when liberals pray?

by Greg Krehbiel on 9 March 2012

Or do we all realize they don’t actually believe in prayer and it’s just some kind of PR stunt?

White House Works to Shape Debate Over Health Law

On Wednesday, White House officials summoned dozens of leaders of nonprofit organizations that strongly back the health law to help them coordinate plans for a prayer vigil, press conferences and other events outside the court when justices hear arguments for three days beginning March 26.

If a conservative calls for prayers, he’s mocked, or compared to the Taliban, or both.

HT: PJ Tatler.

-- 2012-03-09  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 16

  1. RootCzar
    9 March 2012 @ 4:31 pm

    Is it only a choice between Theocracy and a heathen PR stunt?

    Can’t say that I’m nutty about the ‘prayer vigil’ aspect, but I don’t entirely object either. Might actually be on the shrewd side … as recent events in the healthcare spheres have been framed as attacks on religious liberties. If he’s seen standing in solidarity with a myriad of interfaith leaders, some of which presumably may be catholic … it diminishes that argument considerably.

    Eh …

  2. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    9 March 2012 @ 4:33 pm

    No, those aren’t the only two options.

    I just find it amusing that some people cry “theocracy, head for the hills” when conservatives talk about religion, or ask for prayer, or whatever, but they don’t seem to mind when liberals do it.

  3. RootCzar
    9 March 2012 @ 4:57 pm

    I hear you. I don’t disagree. I’d submit that conservatives in govt are more likely to wear their religion on their sleeves … so those that would find it threatening, and ‘head for the hills’ would be more wary and vocal in protest.

  4. Derek
    11 March 2012 @ 10:18 pm

    The hypocrisy is mind numbing, though in my viewpoint, liberals seem to embrace it quite easily.

  5. madeline philbrick
    13 March 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    Greg K. What exactly does”wearing religion on their sleeve “mean? I looked at me sleeve. Nope, sorry. Nothing there; and I go to daily mass. Go figure! I suppose it’s okay to be religious as long as nobody knows about it. Boy, is Washington in trouble or what! Did someone come out of the closet? He’ll really have to apologize to the mid-east this time.

  6. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    14 March 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    Madeline — it was actually RootCzar who said that, not me.

    I have always thought that “wearing religion on your sleeve” meant that you were making your religion obvious and noticeable. Like a badge on your sleeve.

  7. smitemouth
    14 March 2012 @ 6:40 pm

    Could mean making your phylacteries broad.

    Could mean passing out creationism DVDs at work to people who don’t want them.

  8. RootCzar
    14 March 2012 @ 7:08 pm

    Aye, Greg. That was my intended meaning. (although i won’t deny that smites’ defs might also apply) :-D

    Imagine how peaceful the world would be … if everyone kept their religion (or admittedly, the lack thereof), to themselves.

    Pretty sure THAT’S not gonna happen …

  9. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    14 March 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    Root, why would that make the world peaceful — as opposed to, for example, if everyone kept their political views to themselves?

  10. RootCzar
    14 March 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    Greg, certainly both would be helpful! :-)

    Logistically, perhaps governance inherently involves expression of political views … and the debate that follows. Absent of proselytistic mandates, or perceptions thereof, one’s religion could be kept much more personal.

  11. DSM
    14 March 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    “[..] perhaps governance inherently involves expression of political views”

    *blink* “Perhaps”?

    “Absent of proselytistic mandates, or perceptions thereof, one’s religion could be kept much more personal.”

    True by definition, I suppose: if you remove everything about religion which couldn’t be a purely private matter, then it could be kept much more personal. But any religion worth believing in, or nonreligion worth believing in, will probably have social consequence about which people can disagree. There’s simply no way to stand above the fray.

    Frankly, it’s not even possible to easily divide matters between the personal and the public. I’m reminded of the famous quote of Lord Melbourne, “Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life.” [The circumstances of that quote might give you pause.]

    In any event, Christians can’t abandon the Great Commission.

  12. RootCzar
    14 March 2012 @ 8:51 pm

    I actually went back and inserted the word ‘perhaps’ … because I felt like I’d get jumped on for making an unequivocal statement … Oh well! ;-)

    What qualifies for you, a religion or nonreligion as being ‘worth believing in?’

    To be candid & honest, I see delusion, a vast absence of empirical/ archeological/historical data, and mythical super heroes among some of the more ‘popular’ ones … which for me, makes most of them not ‘worth believing in.’ I’d also submit that the Great Commission, is a tragic fools errand of conflagration than anything else.

  13. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    14 March 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    I don’t think the secret is people “keeping their [whatever] views to themselves,” but, rather, people not having a fit when somebody else disagrees with them.

    I had coffee this morning with an old friend. We’re not friends because we hide our differences. We’re friends because we choose to be friends despite our differences.

    Many years ago I worked for a Jewish guy (not the one you’re thinking of, Root). Once he mentioned something about the passover, and I thought of an article I’d read by a Christian theologian that he might appreciate. So I got a copy and gave it to him, with apologies and “I don’t mean to offend,” and whatnot, and he gave me a stern talking to.

    “Don’t ever make excuses,” he said. He went on somewhat to the effect that it’s more offensive to him for me to gloss over real differences than it would be to admit them honestly and respect each other nevertheless.

    That was a pivotal moment in my life. I realized that I ought to be able to respect someone — truly respect them — even if I had substantial and deep disagreements.

    There’s a kind of civility that treats everyone well because it studiously avoids controversial things. That’s probably the best rule for most people. The old “don’t talk about religion or politics” rule.

    The deeper civility is when we can treat one another with respect and courtesy even when we disagree.

  14. Peter
    15 March 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    It’s theocracy when religious beliefs are used (or advocated) as the basis for Government. Using “the WORD of GOD” as a basis is theocracy and these days almost always done by Conservatives. A key characteristic is the supernatural nature of the beliefs; they are “revealed truth” and not subject to discussion. For example, Right-Wing Republicans don’t oppose Gay Marriage based on a rational analysis of its social benefits and costs. They oppose it because it is contrary to God’s Law.

    Liberals have had their own attempts at theocracy. Marxism was revealed truth, just not revealed from God. The difference is that generally Liberals aren’t basing their current policies on revealed truth.

    Finally, the names “Conservative” and “Liberal” have been so muddied that they’ve completely lost their historical meaning.

    The Tea Party and Right-wing Religious Republicans aren’t “Conservative” in the sense of Barry Goldwater. They are “Radicals” in every sense of the word. They don’t want to conserve what is best about Government and preserve the parts that work; they want to up-end it entirely and replace it with completely new structures, including some theocratic ones that would effectively overturn the Constitution. Their changes would be at least as sweeping as those of the New Deal.

  15. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    15 March 2012 @ 12:36 pm

    Hi Peter. Thanks for commenting.

    I’m not sure what this means.

    It’s theocracy when religious beliefs are used (or advocated) as the basis for Government.

    So let’s say I read the Bible and come to the conclusion that alcohol should be against the law. A lot of other people also read the Bible and come to the same conclusion. We all get together and propose an amendment to the constitution.

    Is that theocracy?

  16. DSM
    15 March 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    “What qualifies for you, a religion or nonreligion as being ‘worth believing in?’”

    That’s another way of asking how to define a religion, which is notoriously tricky: I’ve toyed with something like “an overarching story of the world” before, in which case I’d say that Christianity, Buddhism, Marxism, and so on are all religions in their way. Each has private and public consequences.

    Your opinions on the Great Commission are interesting anthropologically, I guess, but they’re very unlikely to be adopted by Christians, so short of mass conversions one way or another or Soviet-level democide I don’t see that they’re likely to prove useful in finding ways to live together. YMMV.