First, we repudiate two equal and opposite errors into which many Christians have fallen. One error is to privatize faith, applying it to the personal and spiritual realm only. Such dualism falsely divorces the spiritual from the secular and causes faith to lose its integrity. The other error, made by both the religious left and the religious right, is to politicize faith, using faith to express essentially political points that have lost touch with biblical truth. That way faith loses its independence, Christians become the “useful idiots” for one political party oranother, and the Christian faith becomes an ideology. Christian beliefs become the weapons of political factions.Useful Idiots is such a great term, it's one I will definitely use in the future. I'm amazed that some Evangelicals were actually able to see this, they tend to be blinded by their ideology. The Republicans have lured them in with social issues such as abortion and gay rights and they vote on those thing while destroying themselves financially.
Second, we repudiate the two extremes that define the present culture wars in theNow this is truly astonishing for an Evangelical. Their MO over the years has been to attack other religions, like that one group in Oregon that tried to keep out a Buddhist Temple from their town because it was devil worship. Or Bob Barr being outraged when he heard that Wiccans were able to hold ceremonies on a military base. So I'm very happy to see this development, it shows real rationality and a sense of fairness, although that word "persuasion" gives me pause. The Inquisition could be called "persuasion."
United States. On one side, we repudiate the partisans of a sacred public square, those who would continue to give one religion a preferred place in public life.
In a diverse society, it will always be unjust and unworkable to privilege one
religion. We are committed to religious liberty for people of all faiths. We are firmly opposed to theocracy. And we have no desire to coerce anyone or to impose beliefs and behavior on anyone. We believe in persuasion.
On the other side, we repudiate the partisans of a naked public square, those who would make all religious expression inviolably private and keep the public square inviolably secular. This position is even less just and workable because it excludes the overwhelming majority of citizens, who are still profoundly religious. Nothing is more illiberal than to invite people into the public square but insist that they be stripped of the faith that makes them who they are. We are committed to a civil public square – a vision of public life in which citizens of all faiths are free to enter and engage the public square on the basis of their faith, but within a framework of what is agreed to be just and free for other faiths as well. Every right we assert for ourselves as Christians is a right we defend for all others.Now here they have it wrong but I think it's just ignorance on their part, but then I think most atheists get it wrong, too. The Separation of Church and State is most important to the religious because it protects them from religious persecution, or of being in that "Useful Idiots" role as they say above. Religion tied to government is no longer free. But the real bottom line of it all is that the government should not be in the religion business, period. It sounds nice to give everyone their say but the government has to stay away from religion in any way. Besides, adding religion into the public square is no way to promote civility, it's a way to destroy it.
Third, we are concerned that a generation of culture warring, reinforced by understandable reactions to religious extremism around the world, has created a powerful backlash against all religion in public life among many educated people. If this hardens into something like the European animosity toward religion in public life, the result would be disastrous for the American republic and would severely constrict liberty for people of all faiths. The striking intolerance shown by the new atheists is a warning sign. We call on all citizens of goodwill and believers of all faiths and none to join us in working for a civil public square and the restoration of a tough-minded civility that is in the interests of all.Now this one cracks me up. Probably comes from that Barna survey a few months ago that said people had a more negative perception of Evangelicals than just about anybody else. What they call intolerance by atheists is just a question of us calling it like we see it. Most religion is evil and causes evil things to happen. Like the T-shirt that said "Imagine No Religion" and had a picture of the New York skyline with the Twin Towers still there.
I read something a while back that showed that certain Evangelicals, Hispanics and blacks primarily, do not understand other Evangelicals obsession with such issues as abortion and gays while completely ignoring Jesus' message to help the poor and needy. Wow! And here I thought Jesus said to make a lot of money and let the poor fend for themselves, I mean, that's what right wingnuts are all about. Did Jesus actually say to help the less fortunate and that it's not good to be rich? You'd hardly know that from the behavior of most Evangelicals.