08 February 2009

Breaching Separation of Church & State

(or, Traipsing Trepidatiously 'Cross the Personal/Political Divide)

At our church, we have a tradition (I may have mentioned elsewhere), of "concluding the sermon", which entails, after a couple minutes' meditation, parishioners who are so moved, standing up and sharing how the day's homily or scripture passage resonates with something in their lived experience (i.e, not something they read in a paper or saw on TV). An extension of that tradition, more suited for people like me, who shy away from off-the-cuff public parabolizing, is the "SGN Sharing" email group. Of course, some such people like me, prone to embedding hyperlinks in their emails, tend occasionally to conflate "lived experience" with "having visited a website", or "the way I felt after visiting said website".

Case in point: one co-congregant, S, sent around a link to www.bornagainamerican.org (careful: it'll want to start playing a music video when you click on it). S asks, "What does it mean to be a 'born again American'? I'm not sure, but the combination of left-leaning political and social values with overt and specific references to the Bible, its traditions of social and economic justice, and the Biblical term for religious and spiritual rebirth is fascinating."

Another co-congregant, J, who represents the rare conservative reef in SGN's socially progressive sea, linked us to Jonathan Haidt's excellent TED talk, on the "moral roots of liberals and conservatives" (video after jump):