Thursday, October 23, 2003

The Godless Party...

Check the April 2003 edition of Touchstone Magazine. It generated quite a few subscription cancellations. In the title article, The Godless Party: Media Bias & Blindness - And the Big Story They Missed, Rod Dreher outlines how he feels the Democratic Party lost their religion. He's a politically conservative journalist, which he readily admits may seem like an oxymoron to some. He does give us pause, though, to understand how some well meaning Liberals may simply not understand their bias. Consider, "I once proposed a column on some now-forgotten religious theme to the man who was at the time the city editor of the New York Post. He looked at me like I'd lost my mind. "This is not a religious city," he said, with a straight face. As it happened, the man lived in my neighborhood. To walk to the subway every morning, he had to pass in front of or close to two Catholic churches, an Episcopal church, a synagogue, a mosque, an Assemblies of God Hispanic parish, and an Iglesia Bautista Hispana. Yet this man did not see those places because he does not know anyone who attends them. It's not that this editor despises religion; it's that he's too parochial (pardon the pun) to see what's right in front of him." This reminds me of the time, years back, when I sold Real Estate. There was one house listed that was occupied not only by the husband and wife owners, but by their three, large dogs. That in and of itself is not very unusual, but when you take into account the fact that the owners were not overly concerned with picking up after their dogs (and I'm not referring to the dog's toys) you might get a drift... or a whiff, of what I mean. Essentially, the house REEKED! Yet, as far as the owners were concerned, the whole world may as well have smelled like that... they didn't notice it. Okay, so maybe we can give Liberal journalists the benefit of the doubt most of the time. But what has that got to do with the Dems? Dreher goes on to describe their slip into secularism, "Until relatively recently, both major parties were of similar mind on issues of personal morality. Then came the 1972 Democratic Convention, at which secularists - defined as agnostics, atheists, and those who seldom or never attend religious services - seized control of the party and nominated George McGovern. Prior to that year, neither party had many secularists among its delegates. According to a comprehensive study of survey data from the Democratic delegates, the party was badly split between religious and moral traditionalists on one side, and secularists on the other. They fought over moral issues: abortion, women's rights, homosexuality, the traditional family. What the authors call a "secularist putsch" triumphed, giving us what Richard Nixon mocked as the party of "acid, amnesty, and abortion," and instigating - with help from the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973 - the long march of religious and moral conservatives to the GOP, which became the party of traditionalists by default." (emphasis mine) Dreher comments on how the divide between traditionalists and secularists widened, and how it also effected relations with minority groups and those typically viewed as disadvantaged. "The divide has become so stark that the authors have discerned a new kind of voter: the "anti-fundamentalist." According to the 2000 ANES [American National Election Study] data, the hatred of religious conservatives long apparent among Democratic convention delegates has found a home among a disproportionate number of Democratic voters. Twenty-five percent of white respondents in the ANES survey expressed serious hostility towards religious conservatives, as opposed to only one percent who felt this strongly against Jews, and 2.5 percent who disliked blacks and Catholics to a strong degree. (Ironically, these are people who say they "strongly agree" that one should be tolerant of persons whose moral standards are different from one's own.") Eighty percent of these voters picked Bill Clinton in 1996, with 70 percent choosing Al Gore in 2000." (emphasis mine) The link is then made to the current influence that the media has by its reporting strategy with regards to the Religious Right. "But their most striking finding was the near total lack of editorial and news coverage devoted to the increased importance of secularists to the Democratic Party versus the role of traditionalists in the GOP. The numbers are mind-boggling: 43 stories on secularist Democrats, 682 stories on traditionalist Republicans. In 1992, the Times alone published nearly twice the number of stories about Evangelicals in the GOP than both papers did about secularists among the Democrats for the entire decade. The bias is even worse among television journalists, who filled the airwaves with stories about the "Religious Right" and the Republican Party, but who didn't file a single story - not one - about the Secular Left's relationship to the Democrats." The media has a hand in shaping public opinion. Being in bed with the Liberals will produce biased reporting - we have to understand this. How to fight it? Blogs certainly pass valid information along, but perhaps the war will only be won one person at a time. Scientific theories are validated primarily by one method - testing. Worldviews should follow the same verification. Indeed, there are many tests one can apply to a worldview to TEST its reliability. Ron Nash, in Faith & Reason, and Chuck Colson, in How Now Shall We Live? outline tests that may be applied to worldviews. In our day to day dealings with Liberal secularists who may be our colleagues or friends we need to gracefully show them how to test the two opposing worldviews. Easy? Nope. Productive? You bet. Also check out several other articles in the April 2003 Touchstone issue including: Voting as Christians, and Political Orphans: How the Democratic Pary Left Traditional Believers Behind

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