Why a slap in the face won’t do

Jeff Jarvis wants to “slap” those on both sides of America’s religious divide “back to their senses.” With religion under major attack in places like China, Jarvis thinks that God would “roll his eyes” over the debate in this country regarding the place of religion. Indeed, he characterizes the debate as “a fight for the sake of a fight.”
I think Jarvis is missing the political dimension to the fight. This year’s election made clear what political leaders have known for some time — religious belief and degree of religious commitment are closely associated with how people vote. Thus, the extent to which people hold, and are serious about, religious beliefs has a direct bearing on who will hold political power and what our policies will be across the spectrum of key foreign policy and domestic issues. Put another way, the fact that so many Americans believe in God and take religious teachings so seriously is a major reason why our politics and policies are not like those of Europe, where religion has been marginalized. Thus, the temptation of one side to marginalize religion here is sensible and probably irresistible. So too with the urge of those on the other side to fight back.
Thus, while the attacks on religion in this country are nothing like those in China, the reason why religion is under attack is similar — those on the attack are fearful of its political implications.
Hugh Hewitt has much more on the subject.

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