I received an e-mail from Robert Meyer, who writes editorials on the RenewAmerica website. I have responded to a couple of his previous articles. One was concerning elected officials praying for the victims of Hurricane Katrina (see: Why should we care if the President asks everyone to pray?) and the other was his article about the “war on Christmas” (see: More on “war” on Christmas: writer wants special treatment for Christians). Earlier on Monday, I got a Google alert on “secular left” and found an article by Meyer, offering his views on this blog and my POV.
I think it is appropriate to give a review on his review:
He begins with this:
I would be the first to admit there are misrepresentations, name calling and incorrect assertions propagated by the right-wing at times. However, when Berger says that there are lies being told, he moves into an accusatory position that will cause me to demand a higher standard from his claims also. To call someone a liar, you must know something about the thoughts and intentions of the individual making the claim. In this era of reckless character assassinations, we have become impervious to the principle that if lying is despicable, then calling someone a liar gratuitously is proportionally as repugnant.
Misrepresentations by the “secular left”
Actually I don’t think I have ever called someone a liar unless there was evidence that showed a purposeful misstatement of the facts. One example was the article I wrote about Coach Dave Daubenmire, who basically posted a false bio on his website where it talked about the court case he lost (see: Coach Dave Daubenmire attempts to rewrite history again ) and the spin put out by the Mayor of San Diego and his religious right allies concerning the Mt. Soledad Cross, where they flat out lied about place the cross plays in the public park. (see: Religious Right lies about Mt. Soledad Cross)
If the facts of an issue are known and a person and group “spin” it the other way then they have lied. Their intention is clear.
Most of the time I do give people the benefit of the doubt and classify their misstatements as “myths”.
Next Meyer writes:
Berger goes on to identify his target audience.
“People covered by the label ‘secular left’ seem to include the entire Democratic party, those who support separation of church and state, those who support real religious liberty, those who support reproductive choice, those who work to lessen poverty, those who work for better world understanding, those who support sane environmental protection, and those who trust science as a tool for solving problems or answering questions in our world.”
And here is where our analysis will begin.
First off, I don’t consider the secular left to be the whole Democratic Party. The problem is the national democratic platform…
Meyer is slightly off his analysis. If one looks at the quote he uses from my About page in context you can see that I am not identifying my audience with those words. I am pointing out the label “secular left” as used by the political and religious conservatives:
The term “secular left” began to appear in 2005 when religious and political conservatives started using the term as a pejorative to pander to their extreme religious conservative base. The label includes anyone and any group who dissents against their extreme political conservative agenda, especially in regards to social and culture issues.
People covered by the label “secular left” seem to include the entire Democratic party, those who support separation of church and state, those who support real religious liberty, those who support reproductive choice, those who work to lessen poverty, those who work for better world understanding, those who support sane environmental protection, and those who trust science as a tool for solving problems or answering questions in our world.
Since the label is political it can include believers, atheists, agnostics, Freethinkers, liberals, and progressives.
About Secular Left
I will give Meyer a thumbs up for pointing out that not all religious and political conservatives are outside the points of view mentioned in the quote he used. I do try to avoid painting with a broad brush and I try to only point out specific ideas, views, or writings that are opposed to the issues I post about. My concern is the few if any voices being heard outside the shrill intractable extreme right on many of the issues.
Those views do cloud Meyer’s points. For example he writes:
I have always believed in ecology and sensible conservation. I demonstrate that in the automobile I choose to drive (should choice be applicable here?), the temperature setting of my house thermostat, and my affinity with nature. On the other hand, the belief that man is causing global warming seems to be a declaration of faith more than fact. The earth has warmed before without any combustion engines or factory smoke to help it along. This issue seems the equivalent of the “left’s” Armageddon.
Global warming isn’t based on “faith”. There is quite a bit of science out there and they pretty much say that the rate of warming is faster since humans reached the industrial age and has been even faster in the past 50 years of heavy world industry and clearing of rain forests. (see: Global Warming for a start)
Now it could turn out that Meyer is right – science is always tentative and changes as more or better information is found – and the warming is just a blip? No harm no foul I guess, however views like Meyer’s is always founded in other issues besides the science.
It seems more a result of short term economic and political policy. Basically conservatives don’t want to pay for it now but would rather pay for it later if needed. Kind of like Congress not wanting to pay for better security at airports until after 9/11 forced them to do it. Or the $27 million asked for the levee program in SE Louisiana before Katrina compared to the $9 billion needed to fix the system to get them to insurance certification after Katrina. (see: Levee Repair Costs Triple )
I much prefer prevention. Prevention always tends to be cheaper in the long run than paying a penalty later after the damage is done.