Monday, August 30, 2010

Religious, right?


In his book, "The Great Awakening", Reverend Jim Wallis said, "Ironically, despite how the Religious Right has discredited the role of faith in politics in recent decades, faith is now coming back to life as a force for progressive social change." And Reverend Welton Gaddy and his Interfaith Alliance often say, "The Religious Right is neither."

These two men consistently speak to what should be good about Christianity. They remind listeners, readers and watchers that the messages of Christianity are about helping your neighbor live the best life they can, reaching out your hand and helping them up when they are down, seeking those in need and providing them with opportunity, and simply caring. These two men speak to my heart and mind despite the fact that I am an atheist. They speak to me deep inside because we share the same values. My values are those of a Christian's and a Jew's and a Muslim's and a Buddhist's. I am an atheist but I care about humanity. And that is why I am also a Democrat.

After watching what Glenn Beck presented as some mock revival I felt a mix of emotions. Disgust and anger over this fraud he is perpetuating on people desperate for something missing in their lives. Sadness for those people who don't realize that they can find what is missing if they'd stop looking for it to come from charlatans. I felt laughter for the ridiculousness of all that is Glenn Beck. But what came through most intensely for me was a great sense of relief that I am confident in what I believe and what my values are. I am more sure each day I see the likes of Beck and Sarah Palin that my principles are embedded so deeply in me that I don't need to seek answers from an entertainer masquerading as a beacon of inspiration. My anger is at people like them trying to confuse so many. But my pride is in the fact that I am one of the millions who see it for what it is -- a sham.

And so I choose to listen to Reverend Gaddy's weekly internet radio show and read Reverend Wallis's books, Sojourner's, and essays. I don't need to be a Christian to know that these men consistently, honestly and humanely speak about true values for the right reasons and not for the right's reasons.