Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

Frank Furedi: The curious rise of anti-religious hysteria

This essay is reproduced in full in Policy, the house journal of John Howard’s favourite think-tank, the Centre for Independent Studies. Frank Furedi is an interesting character, as you may see here: “founder and chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) of Great Britain. The RCP has traversed one of the longest ideological journeys in British politics, moving from the hard-left through several incarnations into a broad collection of organisations on the libertarian right wing.”

Much in the essay is good; I agree that left-wing hysteria over The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was really rather silly. On the other hand, I utterly disagree with his ideologically driven dump on Tikkun and Michael Lerner. And unlike Furedi, I suspect, I have as you know actually read Jim Wallis’s God’s Politics:

…when it comes to banality, Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It beats his competitors to the post. This motivational text became an instant bestseller as Democrats looked for ready-made moral formulae with which they might connect with common people. Wallis, billed as a left-wing Evangelical, is critical of the secular dismissal of religion and offers moral values to the disoriented liberal.

I will take Wallis’s “banality” (definitely a travesty that) any day over Furedi’s cynicism, thanks. Incidentally, Wallis bills himself not as left-wing but as a 19th century evangelical born out of his time, thereby invoking people such as William Wilberforce. Not such a bad lineage. He also relates quite happily to figures like Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu and Gandhi, none of whom were/are evangelicals at all, not by the usual definitions anyway.

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Written by Neil

April 12, 2006 at 9:38 am

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