Adam Ericksen gets it right ... on a lot of things, including
liberal and conservative, clean and unclean, original sin, and more:
He ends with this challenge to religious liberals:
So, here’s the challenge for us inclusive “liberals”: How do we include those with whom we disagree? How can we respond to Douthat in a way that doesn’t make him out to be the bad guy? I’ll admit that when I first read his article I felt some self-righteous anger that made me into the good guy and him into the bad guy. That’s a dangerous place to be. It’s Original Sin tempting me to claim a sense of my own goodness against Douthat. What’s the solution? I’d like to hear your thoughts about that. But I think the first step is to admit that our fellow Christians are not making tough decisions on liturgy based on an attempt to appeal to a certain demographic. We're better Christians when we give everyone the benefit of the doubt that we are all basing these decisions on an attempt to be faithful followers of Christ. With that realization, we may not agree, but we have a better chance of moving forward in gracious disagreement.
His article prompted me to place a quote from Ross Douthat's NYT article alongside its mirror image:
Which side would you choose?
Option A. Religious progressives are flexible to the point of indifference to dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.
Option B. Religious conservatives are dogmatically rigid to the point of callousness to real human beings, unfriendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to pit Christianity in violent conflict against other faiths, and eager to downplay legitimate human rights in favor of parochial theologal causes.
The gross generalization/mischaracterization of one is made clear by its mirror image. So that makes me want to choose
Option C. Both religious conservatives and religious liberals have some good things they are for and some bad things they are against. Our common challenge is to faithfully balance our commitments to inherited teachings and to our fellow human beings who don't share them, to free speech and to the avoidance of slander and false witness, to what we see and to the certainty that we have both blind spots and a lot to learn.
Whether or not you agree with Adam in every detail, his piece reflects Option C quite well, I'd say.