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8.1.04

More On Dean's Religion

As an addendum to the previous post, the article I linked to repeats a framing of the issue of religion in politics that politically liberal Christians are going to have to fight against:

In broad terms, it [the debate over politics and religion] pits Christians who look at the Bible less literally and argue that the Gospels never quote Jesus talking specifically about homosexuality against more conservative Christians who take a more literal approach and point to scripture in the New and Old Testaments that they believe forbids homosexuality. For instance, Leviticus 18:22, according to the King James version of the Bible, says, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."


The paragraph I quoted makes it out to be an issue of people who read the Bible literally versus people who want to take it more loosely. Under this framing -- favored by politically and theologically conservative Christians -- liberal religion is about finding loopholes, ways to get out of the conservative mandates of the Bible's message. Dean's quotes, however, challenge this view, pointing toward the liberal-friendly framing that it's a question of historically-informed critical reading of the Bible versus superficial literalism. Dean's case is not a defensive "the Bible doesn't actually condemn homosexuality," it's a positive "the message of the Bible demands adherence to principles which logically lead to the conclusion that we should allow homosexual unions." Wishy-washy religious liberalism is convenient, but it implicitly concedes the terms of the debate to religious conservatives.

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