Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Facism of the Secular Left

When I was starting out as a college chaplain in 1967, facism in its various guises was mostly a trait of the pro-war, right wing in the US. Over the ensuing years, like many others, I have seen a blending of leftist politics with a militant secularism that would now stifle speech and shut down voices that speak in opposition to its pieties. I am cheered that a number of commentators have recognized these developments, especially in universities where the secular left has been dominant (unlike the whole of society). In the last 20 or years, I witnessed on campus the public harassment and contempt for any strong religion and any religious view that claimed its role in the public sphere. This new secularism was far from a neutrality among different faiths but rather a strenuous effort to define and limit religion to the purely private sphere. This has now grown to such an extent that the other day, a decidedly non-academic Republican governor of California was insisting that his Catholicism has absolutely no relevance to public policy. A Catholicism that has no public impact is simply not Catholicism which is a communal faith. Happily, many of the college students I knew saw right through the rigidity and double standards of the PC academics who would scream if a slightly negative word were uttered about minorities and other protected groups, but be wholly indifferent to the worst slanders about Catholicism or any other faith that appeared as a strong, public faith. These students have been permanently enlightened by the double standards and canards they were forced to witness in the name of a diversity that was very selective. Now many others are paying attention and its about time.

Left2Right: Universities, Religion, and the Secular Left