“Pro-faith left” for want of a better term. Irreligious as I am, I’m definitely not anti-faith left – rather, to the best of my knowledge, a political secularist who supports the right to freedom of belief and religious expression. This is something to investigate more because it looks as if it will come under threat somewhere down the line. If it already isn’t.
Max Dunbar writes on a debate between Socialist Worker Party theorist Ian Birchall, who is supportive of the SWPs famed alliance with reactionary political-religious groupings in the name of “anti-imperialism”, and Andrew Coates, who is supportive of militant secularism.
Still to read. I think I learnt about it at Bob From Brockley.
Takes me back to the wonderful time I spent reading Redemption by Tariq Ali.
Update: Max in a comment to this post explains the term ‘pro-faith left’ and directs us to a defence of religion by Seumas Milne (associate editor of The Guardian and troubling apologist for some of the most racist, rejectionist and murderous sections of religious extremism).
I enjoy your blog and appreciate the link.
A note on terminology. What I mean by ‘pro-faith left’ is not necessarily religious lefties – it is people on the left who support any and all religious figures and movements, even if these figures and movements are against freedom of belief and religious expression.
My take is that some people on the left are uncritically in favour of religion because:
1) they see faith-based societies as a bulwark against ‘secular fundamentalism’ which they see as the driving force behind the war on Iraq and Western imperialism in general
2) they see faith-based societies as a more spiritual alternative to our nasty consumer Western societies
Seumas Milne spells it out here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/mar/27/religion
Thanks again and I’m glad the term seems to be catching on.
Thanks Max, as you may see, I’ve added it as an update.
Using Milne as a “do not do as I say” could be an excellent didactic tool, I can appreciate it. However, it tends to muddle the point the person that uses Milne as reference is trying to make. At least it takes getting used to.
In general, finding yourself supporting faith for any reason should cause an immediate second take. Of course, swapos and other stoppers are hardly able to do it, in their feverish search to the “alternative” to “nasty consumer Western societies”.
I do find Milne a useful short hand to what the silly part of the left is thinking. Norm has said this, too.
I waver between angry atheist railing (actually more like muttering) against the Theist Threat to Reason, and a lackadaisical live-and-let-live state. This blog always makes me think, without fail. I only wish I could think without fail.
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