Today, the Althouse-Reynolds Axis begs for me to engage them on the issues, rather than making them my "enemy." I'm befuddled. I linked to a quote by Glenn Greenwald, which was very long and included many links to Althouse and Reynolds and others over the question of whether "Christianist" is an appropriate term to use to describe the fusion of political ideology and religious faith. Greenwald shows that Reynolds and Althouse simply refuse to allow me to deploy a word in a manner that makes sense to me. Althouse writes:
I criticize Sullivan when he shows a hostility toward ordinary religious people who aren't trying to bully their way around the political world. There are distinctions to be made here.
Indeed there are. That's why I call "ordinary religious people" Christians and call those who are "trying to bully their way around the political world" Christianists. Is that so hard for her to understand? I've stated it quite clearly from the beginning, but she refuses to take me at my word. Reynolds writes:
"The problem with the term "Christianist" isn't that it adds "ist" to the end of a religion. It's that, by parallelling "Islamist," it is a deliberate attempt at conflating people who oppose gay marriage - or, apparently, Madonna's schlocky posturing - with people who blow up discos and mosques..."
But, as Greenwald points out, my definition of the term includes the following:
I should underline that the term Christianist is in no way designed to label people on the religious right as favoring any violence at all. I mean merely by the term Christianist the view that religious faith is so important that it must also have a precise political agenda. It is the belief that religion dictates politics and that politics should dictate the laws for everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike.
I presume Reynolds can read, so why the inversion of my stated reason? Yes, this term is an attempt to reclaim Christianity from some of its most vociferous representatives in the Republican establishment. When they use the word "Christian" to describe their politics of big government intolerance, I find it distasteful and offensive to my own faith. I have every right to take back a word they have defiled and invent a new one to describe their politicization of faith. Yes, it's provocative. But nowhere near as offensive as the Republicans' cooptation of Christ for themselves.
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