Pleasant it is to arrive at (more or less) mutual agreement with cyberfriends, especially at this time of year. After a lively discussion, Pastordan, Rmj, and I seem to have found the same page to be on in re: the Democratic Party and its re-engagement in public religious discourse. Rmj offers a paragraph that, it seems to me, is in particular worth taking to heart:
As I’ve said here, I think this issue goes deeper and further afield than politics or cultural shifts that made religion a more properly private matter. The latter is, I think, part of the ebb and flow of religion in American public life: sometimes we’re Jeffersonians, and religion is a nice idea for how to live one’s personal life; sometimes we’re devoted to a religious vision that all must share in public, or be declared politically apostate. It’s not a very pretty yin-yang, and not exactly a fruitful one, either; but there it is.
I’d add that there are, kemo sabe, a lot of “we’s” here. Progressive whites and African-Americans have their public religious days, and conservative evangelicals have theirs; and that’s to say nothing of the different ways the country’s several regions calibrate and weigh out the role of religion in their distinctive public cultures. At the moment, the nation as a whole does seem poised for a significant turn of the tide in this regard, and, I’d say, none too soon.