A reader writes:

Attempting to call Fundamentalist "Christianism" a progressive movement?

Honey, the Fundies are yours. You had no problem with them in 2003. The true progressives opposed this war in Iraq - this dare-I-say "utopian" war in Iraq - from the start. You're using Coulter logic (defined as "The whimsy of Lewis Carroll used to murderous ends.") I suspect that in a month you'll be calling the "Christianists" a bunch of liberals.

I sense that the nuanced, chastened Andrew Sullivan is returning to his bullying ways. I bring as a case in point your mocking references to the "magical underwear" of Mormons, or "undies", as you said.  How can you - as a Catholic - mock anyone else's religious ways? I fear that as a happy atheist, Catholicism and Mormonism are equally queer to me. But since your religion has been around longer, you get to be the mean schoolgirl tormenting the new girl on the playground.

A couple of responses: I do find it puzzling that the progressive nature of Bush's fundamentalist conservatism hasn't won more plaudits from the left. This president has called for reversing the U.S.'s historic ties to autocrats in the Middle East, he has endorsed the biggest new entitlement since LBJ (and it's about to get tougher on Big Pharma, as was predictable from the start), he's in favor of legalizing most illegal immigrants, he has poured federal money into education, and spent more on AIDS in Africa than Clinton ever dreamed of. Bush's little secret is that he has been much more liberal than he sometimes appears. Liberal in some of the wrong ways, I'd argue.

As for my own "Christianism," my view is that any Mormon is fine by me in public office, as long as he or she sticks to non-sectarian political appeals. But if a candidate explicitly appeals on religious grounds, then he puts religion on the table. Live by Christianism; die by it. And this blog has long poked fun from time to time at all sorts of religious and non-religious lifestyles - including Catholics and gays and everything in between.

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