Lines In The Sand

As the culture wars between the “secular” left and the “religious” right heat up will either party notice the widening split between the “Judeo-Christians” and other faith traditions?

It seems that Hindu, Buddhist, and Native groups have aligned themselves with a modern Pagan refused a rotation in a public prayer ceremony because her faith tradition wasn’t “Judeo-Christian” in origin. The Hindu American Foundation along with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and the Association on American Indian Affairs have filed a brief in support of Simpson’s case.

This, I believe, represents a shift in thinking (or at least strategy) on the part of these larger American faith traditions. I don’t think this shift is a little thing. Non-Christian faith groups are feeling increasingly marginalized in our recent trend towards an obsessively Christ-centric society lately and as Paul Krassner writing for The Nation points out modern Pagan stuggles are becoming a “canary in the culture-wars coal mine”.

This new alliance could change the way our faiths are encountered and regarded by mainstream America. Buddhists, Native American religion and spirituality, and Hinduism are seen as acceptable non-Christian faith traditions by a large segment of the population. As such they are left alone by the religious culture warriors on the right. While modern Paganism with its associations with magic(k) and witchcraft has been traditionally viewed as “fair game” for evangelical efforts and small court battles.

Expect this alliance to strengthen as “moderate” Christians try to accomodate the more hardline evangelicals by introducing more Bible study into public schools and rolling over on the issue of evolution. For the growing number of children who don’t subscribe to a biblical worldview the issue of Christian dogma sneaking into education is becoming a serious one that non-Christian faith groups can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch happen.

So while Christians in America continue the battle between “lefty” Jesus and “righty” Jesus expect to see more faith traditions that don’t come from Abraham to start banding together to make their voices heard.

I won’t be surprised if the Unitarian-Universalists join such an alliance soon considering the fact that Wiccan Cynthia Simpson is heading to seminary and plans to become a UU minister.