Social media can reduce activism to a fad—something that we take part in because a particular Twitter hashtag is trending, a video has become viral or a Facebook cause has become popular. It can ignore the hard work that has been taking place over decades and discount a long-term strategy that a community might have.
I have found myself dreading Facebook lately. With the general election beginning to churn, the competing posts are out: “Evidence of Obama’s socialist conspiracy!” “Republicans plan to inspect every woman’s womb!” Some are rather scary while others I quietly cheer; still others simply draw me into grief over how little Jesus seems apparent in any of it.
We could avoid all sorts of nasty fights, Stephen Jay Gould argues, if we would stop expecting science to provide validating evidence for religious dogmas or biblical events. Nor ought we to turn to religion to resolve questions of a properly scientific nature. He wants no more natural theology, no more "anthropic principle," no more attempts to find scientific confirmation for religious beliefs, and no more fundamentalist "creation science." In short, "science gets the age of rocks, and religion the rock of ages; science studies how the heavens go, religion how to go to heaven."
What was remarkable about the overturning of Proposition 8—California’s
ban on same-sex marriage—was the weakness of the case mounted by the
defense. At times during the proceedings, Judge Vaughn Walker had to
ask the legal team in charge of defending the proposition, in effect:
“Haven’t you got something better than this?”
In a recent lecture on the exercise of political power, David R. Young claimed that although much attention is paid “to the physical and intellectual dimensions” of the exercise of political power, little or none is paid today to “the emotional, nonrational or spiritual dimension.” And yet, argued Young, “it is the spiritual character of the individual human being as a whole . . .
Alan Wolfe has previously written about the capacity of the American people to correct political imbalances and sustain consensus on many issues (One Nation, After All, 1998). In Does American Democracy Still Work? Wolfe does not express such optimism. He is worried that American democracy is in trouble.
“Lo and behold there is a religious left,” declared an article in Slate. “The religious left is back,” announced the Washington Post. The evidence? An increase in blogging and organizing, as well as best-selling books by Jim Wallis, Michael Lerner and and Jimmy Carter.The rise of the religious left provides a natural journalistic lead because it plays against type. The persistent assumption, at least among mainstream media, is that Christians are politically active only on the conservative side.