. . . Wednesday November 10, 2004

Morality Can Play

A lot of us over here among the cultural elite (I watch HBO, went to college and only drink Michelob when I’m high, so I’m assuming I qualify) are hestitant to mix morals and politics. It makes a lot of sense on one hand. We are ultimately a nation of laws and the constitution must outrank the bible when it comes to the running of our country. On the other hand, there is a large swath of the Amercan electorate that wants to hear their leaders talk about values.

We need to broaden the definition of values (or in some cases, change that definition altogether).

And we will not be alone. Yes, many extremists on the religious far right want to drop evolution and start teaching creationism instead (after all, they’re both theories?). But there are a whole lot of religious moderates who don’t just think of gay marriage when they think of morals. We need them on our side.

Yes, it’s true that many liberal Christians named moral values as a determining factor in their voting patterns. And that’s worth a headscratch or two. But wait. According to a recent poll by Zogby, those moral values included issues such as the Iraq war and poverty and economic justice.

According to one of the organizers behind the poll, “Progressives need to embrace the deep moral critique that people are looking for and make that case on poverty and Iraq, and not just try to talk more about God or outpace the Republicans on gay marriage or abortion.”

Sounds like a good plan. I’ve asked the question before: Why would anyone want to vote for the party of diet-god?

Don’t get me wrong. The movements to stop the teaching of evolution and limit the rights of certain Americans and divert government funds to religious groups that are of a certain profile (and you should know that profile by now) and the celebration of stupidity (how else can one define attacks on academia and culture?) must be fought and stopped.

But that’s not the whole moral of the story.

What if we could include the blatant selling of god and religion in order to win elections in the list of the moral values that needs some looking into? I view the separation of church and state as a vital moral value. There is a middle ground here. Don’t believe all the hype.

Even Joe Scarborough watches The Sopranos.

Concentration is important!