Monday, October 5, 2009
I appreciate Michael Perry's "Amen" to my post on The Wisdom of a "Liberal with Sanity."
I wish I could reciprocate it by shouting "Amen "to his post of Martin Marty's essay entitled "Evangelicaldom." I'm afraid I can't though. First, I think that Dr. Marty, whose work on church history I admire, doesn't understand evangelical Christian conservatives at all well, and his animosity towards them is so intense (his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding) that it consistently generates unjustifiably harsh judgments against them. The essay itself is evidence of this. Second, the essay is just too partisan. Indeed, it is nearly mindlessly so. Anyone who thinks that that
judgment might be too harsh can test it by the simple expedient of transposing the essay into a critique of the left, including the religious left, substituting names like "Kennedy" or "Clinton" for "Ensign," and names like "Olbermann," "Maddow," "Maher," and "Garafalo" for "Beck," "Limbaugh," "Hannity," and "O'Reilly." For Neal Gabler and his critique of conservative populism, substitute Charles Krauthammer and his critique of liberal messianism. For moderate conservative David Brooks and his warnings to those to his right, substitute moderate liberal Stuart Taylor and his warnings to those to his left. And so forth. In short, two can play at this game--which is a pretty good sign that it's hardly a game worth playing. In any event, it isn't likely to generate much illumination. It will do little more than provide opportunities for partisans on the opposing sides to take turns shouting "Amen!"