Yasmin Nair

Why the HELL Are Gays So Excited about Religion?

Filed By Yasmin Nair | January 16, 2009 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Bill Dobbs, gay marriage, Gene Robinson, Inauguration, Joseph Lowery, Religion, Rick Warren, separation of church and state

Obama has decided that Gene Robinson will deliver the opening prayer at his inauguration, and the gay community is ecstatic at the idea of an openly gay pastor at such a public event. Of course, all this excitement comes after the keenly voiced anger over Rick Warren.

In all this hoopla about religion, we seem to have forgotten a key issue: the separation of church and state. In October 2008, Reverend Moody wrote worriedly about the how "Religion Threatens '08 Presidency" More recently, Richard Kim, also writing in The Nation, asks, "...why not make the case for secularism, the separation of church and state and the purity of the constitutional oath?"

Kim's article indicates that he understands that this will be a losing battle. We've long since given up the pretense that ours is a country defined by the separation of church and state, a fact driven home to me recently as I waited in a courtroom and looked up at the words "In God We Trust," in giant silver metal letters on the wall. The atheist in me wondered: so, with God looking over things, who needs Justice?

Over the last decade, the gay community has tried to paint itself as holier-than-thou, every pun intended, in relation to straights and much of that has, of course, to do with the gay marriage issue. The logic goes like this: We deserve to be married so that we can access all those benefits that straight people get, and so we're going to prove that we're more committed, we make better parents and... we're way more religious than anyone else.

But really, we ought to start worrying about the the fact that we now take religion in the public sphere so much for granted. Some among us have been pointing this out for years. The redoubtable Bill Dobbs, one of the few gay activists who has been consistent on marriage and religion, was quoted in Gay City News when Joseph Lowery was still the only perceived antidote to Warren: "The toxic effects of religiosity are what are at issue. I don't think that having Joseph Lowery is any better at bringing about unity. Let's remember what preachers do. Their perspectives are based on faith and are not based in rationality or science." Those words still ring true today, as sections of the gay community jump in joy at the choice of Bishop Robinson.

A lot of LGBT folk who are religious have gone the through the pain of being rejected by the institutions that they grew up revering. So I understand why so many might want the public to understand and appreciate their relationship to religion. But I don't think that most religious LGBT people necessarily think that religion in the public sphere is a good thing. I do think that most of them are committed to the idea of the separation of church and state; it's one thing to want to be part of a church, quite another to insist that religious principles should govern public life. But right now, the gay community's public dismay at Warren, without any accompanying criticism of the fact that pastors are invited to deliver prayers in the first place, makes it seems like we're also wedded to the same principles as the religious right.

There's a parallel to be drawn between this recent issue of religion and the topic of gay marriage post-Proposition 8. Most of us, including myself, are against Prop 8. How could you not be? But our collective anger at that homophobic measure doesn't necessarily mean an automatic and wholesale embrace of gay marriage as the defining cause of the "community," such as it is. A lot of us still don't think marriage should be the goal of the "movement," or that married people deserve special benefits just because they're married. But it's difficult to make any critique of marriage, gay or straight, in an environment where marriage is seen as the only and most natural form of "rights."

I fear that something similar will happen with religion and the gay community, following the fracas over Rick Warren and the exultation over Gene Robinson. Neither choice is an occasion for anger or excitement. But the overlay of both emotions onto a significant public occasion means that we're going to forget that neither man should be praying for and with the nation in the first place.

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I agree that religion has no place in the public square. Robinson is a friend and advisor to Obama. To have bishops surrounding a leader is getting back to the days of Henry VII.
What if Obama had invited a Muslim cleric to give the invocation? Or a Buddhist or a Hindu or a humanist? Would the majority be OK with that?
Obama's educated mother was an anthropologists and free thinker teaching reason with no religion. She would not approve of Warren or Robinson advising her son. Prayer has no place in a crashing world economy and unemployment. It will take reason and hard work coming out of the Obama adminstration.

I think you've identified the Catch-22 of liberal faith. It's great when we do it, but whoa nelly when the other side does it. The answer? Civics class in the 7th grade. We need to teach the Constitution as our civic "religion."

Hear hear. I have a bit of respect for Gene Robinson since he said he will give a non-Christian prayer to be more inclusive - however, that still doesn't include me since I gave up on the myth and superstition ages ago.

I do think marriage should be a goal, but civil marriage unions are secular contracts. I couldn't care less what some religion thinks about the issue. My brother and sister are non-religious and they got married in a purely secular ceremony with a court official presiding.

Modern marriage has absolutely nothing to do with religion. You can get married in the Church of the rightous cheese cracker, but it will not be official until the paperwork down at the courthouse goes through in regards to getting the privledges accorded to married couples. In fact, the state also has to recognise the validity of a person's authority to perform a wedding, before the wedding is legal. Authority over weddings is purely a government countrolled process, the church stuff is only window dressing.

In Texas, and other states mostly in the mid-west and west, there is common-law marriage. Basically, if a man and woman live together for six years, and/or they represent themselves as married while co-habitating, then in the eyes of the state, they are. No preacher or church involved. this was instituted because the state knew that not every couple lived within easy riding distance of a preacher, judge, or even justice of the peace.

Religion in regards to marriage is purely a smoke screen. It is a myth perpetrated by the religious bigots and facists to try and maintain their power and control over society.

Tyranny in the name of religion, is still tyranny.

Thanks, all. GregC, yes, you're right to identify that Catch-22! And I've always been surprised that students aren't asked to learn about civics and the Constitution - I know I had to, growing up...

I didn't actually know that about Obama's mother - but then I shouldn't be surprised that he's gone against more democratic impulses in favour of religion, a trend with him over the course of his career.

And Eshto, I too wish that people would just place marriage in its civil context - and civil unions and other arrangements would allow non-marrying people to share benefits with people they choose, without even needing to be romantically involved. Instead, we've chosen this messy mix of religion and emotion to convince people. But that's another post.

Civics was always my favorite class. I think we need to come up with better ways of making the subject more relevant for kids who don't look like the founding fathers. It would help to place the emphasis on "in order to form a *more perfect* union..." Perfection is a process and not a product.

Religion as part of the public sphere is a given, for better or for worse. I think that what you're seeing right now, though it may be driven by gay issues, is not necessarily driven by gays. There are a lot of liberal or progressive Christians (whatever you want to call them), who are tired and increasingly willing to push back against the evangelicals and others who have been allowed to define faith and religion in this country.

The gays may have been the first and most vocal group to pitch a fit about Warren, but we weren't the only ones. Obama received a pretty ecumenical uproar over that selection. Progressives of all persuasions have been empowered over the past few years by people like Gene Robinson and Jim Wallis and they're shoving back, they're taking their faith back.

For a long time the religious left just refused to engage in the conversation -- and while they may have been right in principle--the result was the evangelicals were allowed to run rampant.

So now the left, and religious gays are out to prove that they can be just as religiously nutty and petty as the other side. Might they push too far on occasion? I'm sure they will, though I've yet to see it. Someday, perhaps, we'll reach a happy medium -- but we'll never get it out of the square entirely.

Whether we like it or not, all objections to equality for homosexuals--from DADT, ENDA, marriage, adoption, you name it -- are rooted in religion. Now, you may not like religion, you may think it should have no influence whatsoever in determining public policy, and you may very well be right. But the fact is it's there and it's something we have to deal with. If you're not comfortable having that conversation, for whatever reason, that's fine. But I don't think you gain anything by attempting to silence those who are.

I personally don't think that Gene Robinson is anything to get excited about, I think it's a naive, pandering response. However, the fact that it happened, the fact that the uproar not only from secular gays, but from religious gays & straights was registered is progress. The fact that the religious left is being covered and starting to receive equal footing with the right is very positive. It just so happens, at the moment, to be centered around gay issues. I think in the next four years you're going to see a shift, or a broadening of the agenda, the left is going to start dinging the religious right on poverty and healthcare issues -- if gaining strength and credibility on gay issues helps them down the road, I think we should be glad to help.

I just don't see the point in continuing to lament the fact that religion is a part of the public square. That ship has sailed, move on.


Thanks for your thoughtful analysis of how things got to this point. I think you're right about the objections to "homosexual agenda" (as the Right might put it) being rooted in religion, but I think it's incumbent upon us to not let them define and dictate the conversation. In other words, the fact that their objections to "our" issues (inasmuch as anyone can claim that there's a single gay movement/agenda) are rooted in religion doesn't mean that we have to resort to proving how we're just as religious as they are in order to get out "rights."

So, for instance, the conversation on marriage could be quite different if we just ignored some gay conservative leaders and simply shifted the focus away from marriage as an ultimate goal. We could have forged a new movement in alliance with, for instance, the labour movement, that insisted that benefits like health care needed to be granted to all, not just married people. So, in that case, we've let religion/values dictate our response to inequality.

As for the religious left; I have a lot of friends there but even they don't care for the idea of religion taking over the public sphere. I think it's dangerous to simply take religion's presence in the public sphere as a given; that has a lot of implications for a lot of communities and their issues. Women and abortion rights, for instance. Or religion in schools, which would disastrous - a fact recognised even by people in Kansas.

beergoggles | January 16, 2009 6:36 PM

Well I'm kinda glad I'm not the only one who failed to be jubilant about the religious overtones of Obama and the christianist brigade. I'm pretty sure I'm a homo, which means not all gays are so excited about it - you can check my post history here.

But this all goes back to us atheists and humanists being reviled by the public far more than being gay. It's amusing that you mentioned how this shouldn't just be a movement about marriage because atheists can get married provided they provide the right genitalia, but I'd feel far safer walking down the street with a big pink triangle than I would a sign that said there is no god.

We've got multiple fronts to progress on here and as a student of history, I'm looking forward to the intertwining of religion and government. It's an effective way to make people sick of religion and renounce it.


Re:"I'd feel far safer walking down the street with a big pink triangle than I would a sign that said there is no god." I think you're right!

Thanks for responding.

beergoggles | January 16, 2009 6:39 PM

Just to add a side note, I recently realized just how much I don't 'get' religion when I read this post on Pharyngula: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/01/sins_so_heinous_that_only_the.php

Genocide and murder are lesser sins than desecrating a wafer. I seriously don't understand these people.

I didn't care about Warren because I knew Obama was reaching for support for his domestic agenda. I also knew Obama is our good friend and that Warren would not be making policy. I thought it was a shrewd move of Obama's.
But I'm thrilled Robinson will talk. It's a first for us. It's historic! But you guys are so down on religion, you would divide us over this imaginary line instead of uniting with all people of good will, religious or not.
You don't hear me crying that free thinkers are into mental masturbation and so we should never speak to them.
You all sound like Sam Harris, who I think was hired by commercial media to divide religious and non religious liberals.


Don't you think it's a problem that the "first for us" is a gay pastor? As opposed to meaningful legislation? I'd rather have that than a gay pastor.

Well, I have already been let go from one job because I am a witch. They didn't fire me, just told me my contract was over, so they wouldn't have to explain why they had told me the week before to never say anything about religion ever again. A discussion I had with another writer about a run in with a street corner preacher, and my openly wearing my pentacle pretty much made me unwelcome to one of the managers who decided that witches and video game companies don't mix.

So I have been passed over for employment for being trans, and then I get removed from a position for my faith. Isn't America a great country or what?

I think 'they' dislike us witches more than they do you athiests and humanists, especially an apostate like me. I mean all you do is deny his existence. It is much worse to them for someone to worship a god besides theirs.

We are either dupes of diabolical powers, or devil worshipping creatures of evil. In either case they have permission from their god to kill us.

"thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Doesn't say anything like that about athiests now does it?

I really don't think it makes a difference diddlygrl. If you're not one of them, you're somehow less than human and don't count. I think that's basically what religion is, a tool to demonize the 'other' so they can feel good about themselves. I doubt they spare the brainpower to differentiate between a humanist or a wiccan.

All this blah-blah-blah over the Inauguration, which is nothing more than a cultural ceremony? People, both Warren and Robinson will be speaking their magic voodoo words in the following context: after Aretha Franklin sings a song, and before a poet reads a poem. In my humble opinion, this places religion back precisely where it belongs: in the cultural tradition of the humanities and personal creative expression. Save your agonized posturing for the too frequent occasions when religion is elevated to the level of science, policy, legislation or statecraft; those are the areas in which religion poses a credible threat.

In case you haven't noticed, we live in a crazy religious country, one where a vast majority of weird, fringey people can be brought into line behind their leader with a few blessings from a popular priest. Why not let this idiocy work in favor of our agenda for once?

Well, thatbob, unfortunately the presence of pastors at such a prominent public gathering does indicate a tacit support for the role of religion in the realms of "science, policy, legislation or statecraft." The fact that there is still, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, a battle over the teaching of creationism vs. evolution in classrooms, is an indication that reason is fighting a losing battle.

Consider the election battle between Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan, where the former referred to her opponent as "godless." Hagan, instead of brushing aside the charge or disputing the idea that her religion should matter, instead went all out to prove that she was godlier than Dole. I think that's a pretty strong indication that religion has too strong a place in the state.

So, I think that horse has escaped. And is birthing foals everywhere. Religion already plays an implicit and often explicit role in the areas you mention.

As for the idea that using religion might "work in favor of our agenda," I shudder to think what that agenda is, exactly. Your political strategy, if it is one, shows contempt for all sides: those religious folk who could lead their apparently idiotic (to echo your rhetoric) followers, their followers, and those who work with them towards....what, exactly?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | January 17, 2009 4:47 AM

Good post, Yasmin.

The problem with most superstitious cults in nominally secular societies like ours (nominally because our Constitution both tolerates and promotes cultism and superstition) is that their leaders tend to take themselves seriously. As representatives of the sky gods they feel that the law should be used to force others to mimic their absurd chosen lifestyle. Often they claim that it's for our own good to save us from demons and terrors that go bump in the night. (I’ve always enjoyed things that go bump in the night.)

Sooner or later they these vicars of the sky gods on the earthly plane all begin to toy with theocratic ideas. And it pays off. In this country both parties pander to them without letup and the result is the deliberate suppression of our rights. There are innumerable examples. Both Clinton and Bush pushed bigoted laws like DOMA and Obama (like McCain) organized his campaign to appeal to bigots, even going so far as to successfully promote Prop. 8 by speaking to Warren’s cult and reaffirming that bigotry’s ok because the sky “god's in the mix".

We need to fight for laws to eliminate tax breaks for churches whether they're political or not, to close their schools to protect children from sexual abuse, and end bribes by government leaders like Obama and Bush disguised as faith based charitable support. We need to push for laws that make openly and loudly bigoted cult leader’s automatic co-defendants in the prosecution of hate crimes.

And if would be nice if all these necessary laws went into effect on Halloween. At midnight. While people were enjoying things that go bump in the night. Oggedy Boogedy.

I don't think that rationalism is the solution to religious fervor. There are plenty of people who don't base their politics on faith (or at least don't say they do) and still believe some pretty horrible things. The only difference is that they get rather arrogant about how "rational" they are, which for some reason comes off as more insufferable than people who think God is telling them the truth directly. I don't know, at least I can write off the latter as a bit odd.

For a few examples, Chris Hitchens' cheerled the Iraq War even harder than Rick Warren did, and George Will opposes any protection of labor or consumers as well as swearing in on the Bible. Ayn Rand herself called her philosophy "objectivism" based on "rational self-interest" because it was rooted, in her view, in reason triumphing over faith. And we're getting a lesson right now in how incredibly wrong-headed her economic philosophy was.

We need to, as progressives/liberals/the left/what have you, get over seeing ideas that get labeled as religious as being based in scripture or faith. More often, they're just the same tired impulses to dominate, make money, and feel better about oneself while putting others down, justified with a book and some ceremony. Religion is a cultural form, and, like any other, can be used for many purposes.

Yasmin says:

As for the idea that using religion might "work in favor of our agenda," I shudder to think what that agenda is, exactly.

There have been plenty of good movements based in faith! Like the abolitionist movement, which took Christian puritanical fervor and pitted it against the raw greed of slave-holders and the lukewarmness of politicians who supported slavery. There was the African American civil rights movement, which drew most of its leaders from the Black church and used churches to strategize and publicize actions and scripture as a justification narrative.

We do need to tone down the religion in the public square, since we're to the point of applying faith tests to elected officials. It's not just Hagan/Dole, it's every presidential race where the candidates have to show their faith, and many other races in areas that care about that sort of thing.

But statements like Dobbs's don't really do it for me. Put objectivist Ayn Rand's view of how the government should regulate wealth next to the Reverend Martin Luther King's, and it's pretty obvious that rationalism has its own skeletons in the closet.

Point taken re: rationalism and the murky paths it can lead to. To be fair to Dobbs, he's not of the same ilk as Rand et al, and I base that on my understanding of his views over the past several years. And just as I don't see all people of faith as bigoted crazies, I also think it's unfair to paint everyone who talks about rationalism and science as being like Ayn Rand George Will.

As for the comment about thatbob's agenda, that was very specifically directed at him, because he wasn't clear on what that agenda was and it seemed odd to actually want to go along with a bunch of "weird, fringey people" for some nebulous "agenda" - I was trying to get a sense of what that agenda would be, exactly.

Yes, you're right about the examples of religion and progressive politics, and I'm aware of those. But those have never worked in isolation from the secular left, and I think we need to get past this constantly repeated theme about how the religious left has done all this good, as if there was never a left in the first place to work along with those movements. Also, we'd do well to remember that each of those examples you provide also illustrate the fact that many, many people had nowhere else *but* the church to go to for political engagement.

That doesn't negate the ongoing contributions of church-based organising, it's simply stating the context in which these movements occur. Christian fervour today also takes on anti-sex trafficking measures in the global south, with disastrous and right-wing consequences that are being supported by many supposedly progressive feminists. I was practically raised by Jesuits, so I have some idea of what the religious left looks like, but I honestly think my beloved Fathers would be horrified at what they see in terms of the intermingling of religion and the public sphere. But then, they're Jesuits and oddities in the theological world.

Seriously, though, the question here isn't about the nature of religion in the public sphere (good God, bad God, to echo Kim) but about the consequences of the same.

I don't mean to paint everyone talking about rationalism as an Ayn Rand clone; in fact, that was the opposite of the point I was trying to raise (keyword: trying). But it does bug me when folks say we should be relying on "reason" and "logic" in the public square, which always leaves me to wonder "Whose reason and logic?"

I can see a problem with over-exaggerating the effects of the religious left in the public sphere, and there are many political consultants whose careers depend on the myth that the key to moving the country to the left is in religion. But I think it's also faulty to assume that secularism will lead to a better world - the Enlightenment itself was based on the triumph of reason over everything (or that's at least how those folks described themselves), and yet they ended up with the same goals that theocracies have striven for, with a greater degree of success.

Indeed, I generally agree that religion should be kept out of the public square and would like for there to be no invocation, benediction, or prayer at the inauguration, but it does get to be a bit much when the left starts to talk about the "toxic effects of religion" and how rationalism always preferable, and further left, than faith. It isn't and it doesn't have a good track record, and at least someone who's religious knows they can't be debated with. Someone who thinks they base their thoughts on logic and reason and yet has an uncanny ability to always be vehemently wrong (e.g. Chris Hitchens) is a lot harder for me to take. Maybe that's just personal.

Again, as someone who's agnostic on religion (ha ha), I can see the point of keeping religion out of the government so as not to preference one over the others, which is clearly happening by having a central religious figure at the inauguration. But I disagree with this assessment:

A lot of LGBT folk are religious and have gone the through the pain of being rejected by the institutions that they grew up revering. So I understand why so many might want the public to understand and appreciate their relationship to religion.

I don't think that's the most popular position on religion among lgbt folk. From what I've seen, there are far more LGBT people who want everyone to reject religion because it's hurt them, and so they become distrustful of any and all religion. Right now secularism is pretty queer-friendly, so I suppose they're choosing wisely when it comes down to with whom to cast their lot, but it hasn't always been and there's no guarantee that it will always be.

Glad you raised that particular point about "a lot of..." Please see above; I've amended it so that my intended meaning comes through more clearly : "A lot of LGBT folk who are religious have gone the through the pain of being rejected by the institutions that they grew up revering."... which fits in with the sentences following.

Re: Chris Hitchens, who's widely despised by many if not most on the left, including said rationalists: I've got nothing there. Other than his avowed aetheism, I'm not sure why he's being brought up here and why he's such a representative of those who're publicly for reason and science. Yeah, I'd say it's personal (what happened, Alex :-)?) Not all who espouse rationalism are the same, yes?

While a lot of people who use the word do know about the history of rationalism, I think it's important to distinguish between the use of such words in their quotidian sense and in their intellectual sense. Given the history of people of faith being allowed a lot of leeway in expressing their religious views as if those were beliefs we should all know and understand, it's unfair to not let people use words like "rationalism" without being pilloried with the likes of Hitchens or being criticised because of the word's intellectual history. That's not to say they don't bear responsibility for their politics and their ideas, but let's not stretch things too far to force connections. I think you're raising and linking a lot of loaded issues/terms (secularism, Enlightenment, rationalism, logic, reason) which require about six different conversations.

You're right to ask, "whose reason and logic?" But, at this point in time, seriously, we're not in danger of being swallowed up by reason and logic. It's good to be mindful of the consequences of extremes, but at this point we're drowning in the sea of religion.

What could be the consequences of Bishop Robinson's 12 step program lingo "god of our understandings". I can see where Warren or the Mormons could lead us to a theocratic government, but if there is no definition of god, no one could point to an imaginary diety as leader in control. Theocrats would make Mohammed or Jesus ? As long as no one except fundamentalists know what "God" means, that's fine with me. God is an idea. God is a sense of the divine. God is the embodiment of the sacred. God is the father, the son the holy ghost. God is someone who loves us and watches over us (the gay explanation). God is the forgiver of our sins. God is good. God is scary. God punishes those who don't believe in him. God is all powerful and all knowing yet God is not responsible for human suffering or evil. We are responsible for evil because of our own free will which God has given us. The devil is responsible for evil. God is in a constant battle with the Devil for our souls. God is our savior.
"god of our understanding" ? WTF Bishop ?

I just read my post above. I may have given the wrong impression that I am a believer. I don't believe in god. Just giving the usual definitions. No one can agree who the hell god is or what it is, so as long as they are divided we are safe at the monet.

Great post, Yasmin. You hit on some of the spots I skipped over in my critique of the Warren controversy that I wish I had addressed. Very astute.

Amen, sister. Preach it.


Seriously, this was great and very much along the lines of my own thinking. My inner atheist gets squirmy at most religion, so I'm with you all the way.

Thanks, Jerame - and good to know I've got company!

So would I. But the community are into the victim role and are constantly picking fights they can't win. Instead of going after domestic partnership, which many straights support, they were out en mass over bouquet throwing. They made a huge fuss over Warren, as if Barac should ignore millions of right wingers whose support he'll need. They went off when Bill made the best deal he could on dodt, and offered zero support when Hillary went to the mat over healthcare, despite our need for medical care. Instead of competance, they like pretty leaders who couldn't strategize their way out of a paper bag. And they rip into natural allies like liberal christians instead of looking for ways we can all work together.
As it is, I'm sure we'll get legislation from Obama. But it'll be the best he can do politically, which is never good enough for the victimization crowd.

Great post, Yasmin. Your points on the dangers of taking religion in the public sphere for granted are well taken.

I would add that the queer community of the last decade is not alone in having tried to paint itself as “holier than thou” in its quest for equal rights. The Stonewall “riots” notwithstanding, there are plenty of examples within the gay movement going back to the 1960s and earlier where courageous gays and lesbians took on the “holier than thou” role in their picketing and other advocacy activities.

Also, as an African-American gay male old enough to remember well the Black civil rights issues of the 1960s, I clearly recall the sense of many within the 1960s Black community of the need to prove itself as “holier than thou” to those who questioned the worthiness of Blacks to full equality. And just as there currently is debate within the LGBTQ community as to how central the issue of marriage should be, there were those in the Black community of the 1960s who then questioned how central the issue of integration should have been. While certain bold judges in those days were ordering integration, some in the 1960s Black community strongly voiced that they couldn’t care less whether they went to the same schools, ate at the same diners or were welcomed to live in the same communities as Caucasians. At least not as the central issue of the movement. (Thank God the religious conservatives of those days were not savvy enough to push forward constitutional amendments - pun intended).

To me it seems that these types of debates must be an inevitable part of any movement toward equality.

Thanks, Paul, for reading and responding here.

It's good to remember that these kinds of debates have histories in other and often related movements. I'll have to keep your post in mind the next time I tear my hair out in frustration :-)!

I'm only going to say this 7000 times.
There are right wing and liberal secularists, and right wing and liberal religious people. Giving liberal secularists a pass on their inaction, and science a pass on charming contributions like the a bomb and global warming, while cherry picking history to trash our religious allies is too tiresome for me.