Thursday, April 23, 2009

Culture Wars Are Ideological

Culture wars center on ideology. And ideology determines how one understands, and 'puts together" their understanding.

In today's America there is a battle for "truth", which is "real history". This battle is not fought just within our borders, but in the wider world, as it affects the world at large.

There are some that believe that our nation's founding was to promote a Christian ideology. What transpires when this thinking is allowed without challenge, is a type of fundamentalism in application of "authorial sources", whether that be scripture or Church tradition/authorities. Who decides what is to be "real reality", i.e. power in the political realm.

I believe our Founding Fathers were theistic rationalists. They understood the implications of allowing a Church tradition (that includes scriptural traditions) to play out politically. It ends in war over whose interpretation, whose "right" is to be defended, and where will that play out in the reality of others lives who don't believe as the "ruling party". They protected us from this situation by the "Establishment Clause".

Conservative Christians have been concerned over the country's "moral demise" and have entered the public square to influence legislatures to implement their form of "truth". The "Moral Majority" was born and social activism was birthed in the pulpits of many churches. The evanlgelicals were known to have the traditonal values and commitments to the "family, pro-life, and anti-gay" movements. These positions played out politically in lobbying, petitioning, protesting, and appealing. If one did not adhere to these standards, then Christian faith was doubtful.

The Christian Church became political in every aspect, as their view was "total commitment" to Christian values. "Toltal commitment" to Christian values broke the wall between separation of Church and State, re-wrote history, and alienated those whose political views might differ.

I have been reading the writings of our Founding Fathers and find their insight profound. These men were not "Bible believing" Christians, but Deists, theistic rationalist, unitarians, etc. They valued freedom of conscience, when it pertained to religious matters. And they found that tyranny was often the result of combining religion and politics.

Whenever ideology does not allow open dialogue across diverse voices, there will be a lack of freedom for the individual. And our Founders found that the individual conscience and reason was the best way to formulate the "standards" of government.

The culture wars we have today are based on universality, which the Founders believed, or exclusivisity, which the Puritans believed. These ideologies could not be further from each other. But, exclusivist claims to truth do not allow freedom of conscience, freedom of discourse, or reasonable choice.

We are a people, but a diverse people who do not adhere to any particular conviction about religion. We are based upon a rational choice ideology, and not a "determinsitic God" of the Calvinist sort.

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