Thursday, November 19, 2009

A voice of reason, in an era of extremism

Author and public speaker, among other things, Frank Schaeffer is a a former right-wing conservative Christian who has become disenchanted with the conservative movement and the Republican party.

He's written several novels and even some non-fiction books, including his autobiography Crazy For God. He's also done various interviews on TV and radio, plugging his books and discussing the dangerous trends emerging in the political and religious systems in this country. I first encountered him on the Rachel Maddow program, and was blown away by how outspoken a man with his background was against the extremism on the Christian right.

He has called-out those Christianist evangelizers who have made careers (political or otherwise) out of demonizing those who don't share their so-called "values" as well as sounding the alarm against the rising paranoia and bigotry in the Republican party.

Now in his latest book, Patience With God, he's taking on certain militant atheists for their own brand of evangelizing and the bellicosity among some secular militants towards people of faith. He made some excellent points in a very good interview on GRITtv with Laura Flanders.

While I can agree with many things that Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bill Maher have to say about the irrationality and dangers of superstitious beliefs, insulting religious people en masse really isn't improving public discourse nor secular/sectarian relations.

As I've mentioned on other blogs, given his background, his honesty and his balance, I think Frank Schaeffer (click here for his blog) is an indispensable voice of moderation who can help bridge understanding between the sectarian and the secular, as well as help tamp down the extremist rhetoric that is paralyzing our society and political system.

I'd love to see him interviewed by Charlie Rose.

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