Friday, December 23, 2005

So This is Christmas...

Indeed, Christmas is again upon us. Time not for banty-rooster feistiness, but for Christian good cheer. I am about as ready for Christmas Eve to get here (as it will, tomorrow, whether I'm ready or not) as I am ever going to be.

In the spirit of the season, it is time for a little holiday reflection. I began this Blog still clinging to the desperate hope that the Left might be helped -- by alternative media like mine -- to see the light of its death-throes situation, turn onto a better path and save itself. SOMEBODY needs to take down the Radical Right, and as I have been a Democrat since I first registered to vote at eighteen, I still hoped that the Party of the Donkey could do it.

Why have I changed courses so quickly? Because I cannot say things -- especially in a forum as public as a blog -- that I no longer wholeheartedly believe.

I also write, as I have for some time, now, for the very classy and principled web-magazine, Whosoever, which brings Christian hope and truth to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered believers and seekers. I do this because I am a progressive Christian, who deeply believes that the Religious Right will destroy Christianity (for everybody, gay and straight) if it is not effectively countered by those who understand the real meaning of the Gospel. I used to be a whole lot more conservative, theologically, than I am, and I would daresay I am still more of a traditionalist than are many of the other writers who contribute to Whosoever. But I have come to believe that the Holy Spirit is still active in the world, still urgently speaking to us all, and that this requires we not ossify the Bible or traditional doctrine into an idol that we worship instead of the living God who promised to be with us 'til the end of time. The Religious Right is doing its utmost to silence the Spirit of God, and because of this its minions must be stopped.

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me, however, that we must do this as Whosoever is going about it -- which is by offering a truer argument and a better way. Not only is it wrong to go on trying, as do so many progressives, to force Right-Wingers to conform to our convictions, but IT ISN'T WORKING. All we've done is piss them off to the point that they see us as devils from Hell and are determined to defeat us at any cost. In the process, they are harming a great many innocent people and even destroying their own souls.

The Left, as it has existed up to now, simply is not able to overcome the juggernaut coming at us from the Right. We are too disorganized, and too deeply in the grip of secularists -- who hate all religious faith and are irrationally opposed to everything spiritual -- to be able to stop this juggernaut from crushing us. I have been saying, for years, now, that the Religious Left needs to stand up to the Right and offer what I have come to recognize (and I think most other people will, too) as a better argument and a better way. But the political Left, centered in the Democratic Party, is simply not able to do that. And I have totally lost faith that they ever will be.

I am tired of hearing atheists on the Left throw snits about creches in the public square. The whole "we've gotta defend Christmas" brouhaha coming from the Right is irrational, hyped-up hysteria, but I cannot help but recognize that the Left keeps bringing this on themselves. And they are no longer "us" for me, but "them." My shift in pronouns, right here, is intentional.

My evolution into a libertarian (small "l") has been a long time in coming. My "coming out" as a Libertarian (capital "L") is provoking more hostility from people than my having come out as a lesbian ever did. But I still believe in mercy toward the poor, in the defense of the defenseless, in liberty and equality (of opportunity, if not of outcome) for everybody. Those are the basic tenets of traditional liberalism, and they are the principles upon which the Democratic Party used to stand. The Democrats are such a mess, and so lacking in any moral center, that they no longer support anything except what the latest opinion polls tell them. And neither they, nor the Left that so stubbornly clings to them, any longer retain the ability (or even the will) to uphold the principles I once shared with them.

As a liberal-leaning Libertarian, I remain perfectly free to promote my principles in the ways I deem effective. I will continue to stand up for progressive and inclusive Christianity. But I will do it as a private citizen and as a writer, rather than as somebody trying to force my values on those unwilling to accept them by seeking to MAKE them conform to my principles. I no longer believe in confiscating their money to use for purposes they do not willingly support, or in siccing the State on them when they express ideas I do not like. Hearts and minds must be won over the hard way -- by painstaking persuasion. The liberal-statist way can do nothing but make more enemies and incite them to an ever-angrier determination to defeat everything that true liberals hold dear.

Peace, brothers and sisters. The holiday season is upon us. Whether you prefer to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" (remember, "holiday" means "holy day," making the latter greeting actually more pious than the former), please remember what makes the Season special. This is the time Christians have chosen to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. If the Brits and the Germans could suspend their hostilities on a battlefield in World War I, singing carols and playing soccer in the middle of that silent night, then surely our Ann Coulters, our ankle-biters, our wingnuts and moonbats and even our Lori Heines can stand to go at least a few days without snapping at each other.

Have yourself a glass of eggnog and chill out.


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