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Christian Left Challenges the Right

Mark Lawsonâ??s article in The Guardian yesterday might make some heads spin with its litany of recent names and subjects in the news associated with what he terms a United States theocracy: Billy Graham, George Bush, John Brown, the Terri Schiavo case, the Ten Commandments, the Air Force Academy, not to mention the mother of an 11-year-old boy from Utah who pronounced to the nation that â??the heavens are openâ? and God â??does listen,â? after the discovery of her missing son in the wilderness.

Mr. Lawson observes:

The open religiosity of US society has always been a shock for European visitors, but it feels as if the rhetoric is intensifying monthly in a sort of galloping spiritual inflation.

I agree with the intensity, but I cringe at the thought of linking this galloping inflation with anything remotely spiritual, except in the sense of America possibly selling â??its soul to the devil,â? as Lawson wonders at the end of his article.

Perhaps agreeing with Mark Lawsonâ??s assessment, but not ready to throw in the towel, is the new Christian Alliance for Progress (CAP) that is determined to â??reclaim Christianityâ? from the Christian right extremists.

According to Rob Garver of the The American Prospect:

The Reverend Timothy F. Simpson, a Presbyterian minister and the groupâ??s director of religious affairs, said in an interview Wednesday that the Christian left has for too long allowed the Christian right to be the public face of his religion in America.

The radical Christian right has so polarized our country that an activist Christian left faction is now organizing ready to make waves. CAP is attempting to counteract the highly organized efforts of the Christian right by becoming a viable front that also acknowledges Muslims, Jews, atheists, and anyone who cares about what these leftist Christians view as expressing the ends of the kingdom of God -- standing for the interests of the neighbor, poor people, and the oppressed.

Leftist Christians, although respecting non-Christians, still characterize them in terms of a Christian agenda. And even though the Christian left is promoting the noble aim to preserve the separation of church and state, their efforts do sound like the makings of a holy movement.

Time will tell how effective this grassroots strategy will be and maybe all this is necessary, but Iâ??m beginning to wonder when the term â??secularâ? will stop being a dirty word.

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