Conservatives are often accused by liberals of having a “civil religion,” of getting our Christianity confused with our patriotism.
It’s a fair cop. I’m sure I do that, and I’m pretty sure I do it more than I’m aware.
But liberals have a civil religion too, and I have an idea very few of them recognize it at all.
Like the conservative kind, Liberal Civil Religion (LCR) is a denatured form of Christianity. It goes like this:
There’s Original Sin. In LCR, original sin is privilege. “White Privilege” is the fashionable variety right now, but liberals have always been ashamed of privilege of one kind or another. Being a citizen of a prosperous, free country is the pretty much the worst kind of privilege. Since liberals believe in a zero-sum world (if you have $2.00 and I have $1.00, you must have stolen fifty cents from me), all our freedom and all our wealth must have been torn from the poor. We are thieves and parasites.
There’s Penance. Penance takes the form of voting for Democrats (or Socialists, if you’re really a saint) and supporting policies which we suspect will hurt ourselves and our families. We deserve it.
There are Indulgences. Indulgences are paid in the form of high taxes. We may know that government programs are by nature inefficient and even counterproductive ways to help the less fortunate. But helping them isn’t the point. The point is making ourselves suffer. The pain provides a momentary, fleeting sense of expiation.
And what about grace?
There is no grace in LCR. The guilt goes on and on forever.
If grace were offered, how would people be persuaded to do perpetual penance?