smackdown.jpegIn the latest round of The Big CLURT Smackdown, Pastordan is up on Religion Dispatches with a response to Robbie Jones’ cri de coeur against critics of the “Governing Agenda to End the Culture Wars.” Personally, I think there’s probably some (excuse the expression) common ground to be had here. If the Third Way folks had, for example, been a bit more modest about what they were doing, calling it, say, “A Few Goals We Can Agree On,” there would have been fewer brickbats thrown. And Pastordan (under whose crusty prophetic exterior there appears to be a heart of mush) would probably agree that agreeing to move forward on some abortion-reduction programs would be OK, for example.
But what he misses in his plea for hard-edged debate is what I take to be the real purpose of this exercise, at least so far as some of the engaged progressives are concerned. With Thomas Frank, they see the culture wars as a massive means of distracting conservative church-goers from voting in their economic self-interest, and believe that if they can just create enough of a DMZ between the two sides, then there will be no problem getting the rest of the progressive agenda through. And the religious right sees it the same way, which is why it’s so resistant to left-deviationism (cf. Rich Cizik). So if Pastordan would just agree to sell his abortion-and-GLBT-loving soul for a mess of Third Way pottage, we’d be all set, right? How about it, Dan?