Politics How to Live Your Life
posted by May 22 at 16:47 PMon
In the comment thread to this post I did yesterday about how a lot of personal blogs out there show just how religious America actually is, I noted that I found it a little annoying that people wore their religions on their sleeves.
A sarcastic commenter took me to task:
Yes. Just what exactly is the point of wearing one’s religion on one’s sleeve? Kinda reminds me of those ridiculous gay pride parades.
I get their point. Identity politics, be it for queers or Evangelicals, certainly rubs lots of people the wrong way.
Here’s the big difference between queer identity politics and Evangelical identity politics, though. When the religious right wears its politics on its sleeve, it’s to tell other people how to live: You cannot have this prescription; you cannot get an abortion; you cannot marry the person you’re in love with; you cannot not teach anything except abstinence.
The only gray areas, I guess, are in the Intelligent Design debate and the prayer in school debate, where Evangelicals believe they’re being oppressed, and being told how to live. I say “gray area” because I’m not so sure they have a point: the Christian Right wants prayer in school to be an official part of the classroom, and non-believers would have to opt out. So, in that scenario, the Evangelicals are telling people how they should live. (It’d be a different story if they were just arguing that students should be allowed to pray privately at lunch or something—which they already have the right to do anyway.)
Meanwhile, gay identity politics isn’t about telling others what to do. It’s about equal protection so gays can live their lives. This seems to me a completely legit reason to wear it on your sleeve. No doubt it annoys some people. But it’s not telling others how to live.