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The proprietors of Progressive Revival have encouraged us original bloggers to comment on a post by pastordan at Street Prophets offering a conditional disparagement of the ideological disposition of this crew.
Since Pastordan singled me out for abuse as nothing more than a “DLC hack,” guess I should rise to a point of personal privilege by responding. First off, pastordan, if you are going to insult someone you don’t actually know, you should keep up. I make no apologies for my background, but did give up my policy director gig and spokesman role with the DLC well over a year ago, and am now principally occupied as managing editor of The Democratic Strategist. You might want to go to that site and read what I’m writing. You could also ask, say, Markos Moulitsas and Joan McCarter of DailyKos, or Chris Bowers of OpenLeft, or Josh Marshall or Ezra Klein or Rick Perlstein, just to name a few progressive notables, if they consider me a “DLC hack.”
Enough of that. My broader point is that the people initally recruited for Progressive Revival were chosen not for sitting at some presumed point on any ideological spectrum, but because they’ve challenged in one way or another the identification of organized religion with the political and cultural Right (that’s why I’m here, for example, via jeremiads like this and this), as spiritually as well as morally and politically dangerous. This remains, as I hope pastordan would agree, a pretty important mission, particularly among the very broad readership of Beliefnet.
Trying to pigeon-hole complicated people with complicated points of view as belonging to the “left” or “center” is typically a tiresome and reductive exercise, and the ancient struggle for ownership of the word “progressive” will probably never be resolved. Moreover, I suspect most Progressive Revival contributors would agree that religious faith involves a supernatural commitment to principles of truth, justice and love that can never be completely encompassed by any secular ideology.
This commitment, as pastordan rightly suggests, often demands a willingness to confront the authorities, whoever they might be, and to challenge “friends” as well as “enemies”–even “progressive” friends on occasion. But I’d encourage skeptics to put down the label-maker and judge Progressive Revival’s actual product, instead of pre-judging it based on, well, prejudices about its contributors.