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May 27, 2014 4:31 PM If Liberals Really Were Hostile to Religion….

By Ed Kilgore

In the midst of a long and effective attack on the idea that “religious liberty” is endangered by secular liberalism, Peter Beinart makes this especially telling point:

[I]f liberals really stigmatized the religious, wouldn’t some of them have objected when John Kerry flaunted his Catholicism in 2004 or Barack Obama flaunted his adult embrace of Christianity in 2008? Is there a single example, even in the most liberal city or district, of one Democratic candidate trying to outdo the other by proclaiming herself more hostile to religious belief?

It’s this last point that bears repeating: in the safe precincts of godless liberalism, where is the proud godlessness? Certainly not anywhere in Democratic politics. Meanwhile, religious pandering is quasi-universal in Republican politics. The tribunes of false equivalency will, of course, always be able to find some writer or gabber or blogger who speaks out against religion generally—not just that abuse of religion that finds salvation in conservative cultural legislation—and try to treat it as having the same weight as the massive presence of the Christian Right in the GOP. But that’s ridiculous.

If you put aside those who (a) profess to be mortally offended by the removal of officially sanctioned religious expressions like municipal creches or school prayers, or (b) consider it an act of persecution to be denied taxpayer support for the religious education of their children, or (c) regard themselves as martyred by the obligation to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s
by obeying equal employment or health insurance laws, it’s really, really hard to find even semi-plausible examples of threats to “religious liberty” in this country. And as I observe often to my fellow Christians, if you are so weak in your faith that it cannot survive an absence of state support, then the actual martyrs undoubtedly weep for you.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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