The Moose prays for more coverage of the religious center.
David Brooks makes an important point in an interesting column today in the New York Times,
Tim Russert is a great journalist, but he made a mistake last weekend. He included Jerry Falwell and Al Sharpton in a discussion on religion and public life.
Inviting these two bozos onto "Meet the Press" to discuss that issue is like inviting Britney Spears and Larry Flynt to discuss D. H. Lawrence. Naturally, they got into a demeaning food fight that would have lowered the intellectual discourse of your average nursery school.
In the aftermath of the "values" election, the media is navel gazing on the issue of religion and politics. Every so often, our friends in the media rediscover that America is a very religious country. This time, it was spurred by the notion that the religious right delivered Bush the election. However, the data does not exactly prove this point. Yes, people who attend church more regularly are inclined to vote Republican, but there is very little evidence to establish that the "religious right" determined the outcome.
The truth is that people who are more religiously observant do tend to be more politically conservative. And the Democrats do suffer from the perception that they are militantly secular. However, it is then a leap to suggest that the Falwells and Robertson represent Republican church going folks or that the Sharpton or Sojourners types represent most Democrats who are serious about their faith. Most religious Republicans are probably not militantly anti-abortion and anti-gay nor are most religious Democrats militantly anti-war quasi-pacifists.
The Moose has long felt that what has provided most of the energy of the religious right is the perception that the elites, particularly in the media, have contempt for highly observant people of faith. By only periodically focusing on the religious right in election years, and then primarily providing a platform for such blowhards as Falwell and Robertson, the media reinforces the perception that they view religious folk as a vaguely alien, bizarre force. It is, at once, both condescending and patronizing.
It would be nice if the media would consistently and seriously report on faith and politics rather than treat the issue as a food fight between the religious right and the religious left. The Moose finds that most of the people in the pews are members of the sensible center.
End of sermon.