Political Flavors

Netroots Nation Thursday Morning: The Ubiquity of Religion

Posted in Editorials on June 7th, 2012

One of the things both of the panels I have been to this morning Have made me think about is the ubiquity of religion in American politics.

The first panel was called “Inside the Activists Studio: What to do when the right comes after you” and featured people from AFSCME, Planned Parenthood, and Jewish Voice for Peace. I found myself surprised that unions were currently under as great an attack as people who advocate for Peace between Israel and Palestine – rather than always thinking Israel is right, and reproductive justice. It quickly dawned on me that unions have been demonized in the United States almost as long as they have existed. Why was I surprised then to see them lumped in with Planned Parenthood and Middle East Issues? The common thread between opposition to reproductive justice and conflict in the Middle East is that they are both fueled by religious fervor. There is no religious justification, as far as I can tell to oppose worker’s rights.

The second panel was sponsored by Advocates for Youth and was called, “Paying the Price, Leading the Fight: Youth and the Politics of Reproductive Rights.” Panelist Debra Hauser stressed that we live in a sex negative culture. But when the panelists were asked why they think this is so, not one person named religion as the reason. A representative from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State spoke up, and the conversation shifted to the “Our Whole Lives” Curriculum and how some members of the religious left support the sexual health rights and education of young people. While as a Unitarian Universalist I am proud of OWL, I find it ironic to suggest that religion is the solution to the problem that it largely created.

Just my thoughts for now, there’s a lot more to unpack here.

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