The secular left certainly dislikes religion, but it actually dislikes some religious groupings a lot more than others. The real target of the secular humanists is biblical Christianity. Those who take their biblical faith seriously are the main objects of their wrath. Religious lefties however are actually viewed as “useful idiots” to use Lenin’s phrase.
That is, the secular left is happy to co-opt the religious left for its purposes. This was certainly the case during the Cold War. Plenty of naive and gullible religious leaders of the left ended up promoting the godless Communist regimes. They actually believed that God’s will was somehow being done in these bloody police states.
Many commentators wrote about this incredible idiocy. Paul Hollander wrote Political Pilgrims in 1981, describing Western intellectuals who travelled to Marxist lands and extolled the virtues of Communism while blasting the free West. And Lloyd Billingsley wrote The Generation That Knew Not Josef in 1985 (the pun referring to Josef Stalin of course), documenting the churches’ complicity with Marxism and totalitarianism.
But there are plenty of religious lefties today who are also helping to serve – whether wittingly or unwittingly – the secular left’s many crusades. As an indication of their usefulness, consider how it is only the so-called religious right which is on the receiving end of the secular left.
For example, Tony Abbott is viewed as a wild theocrat about to take over Australia because he is a conservative Catholic. Yet the secular humanists didn’t utter a peep when the Democrats had a Uniting Church minister from Queensland as one of their Senators a few decades ago.
Why not? Because he was a religious lefty! His views (except for a very minimal amount of religion) were perfectly acceptable to the secular left. He was pushing all the same buttons the secular left wanted pushed. So he was no threat. In fact he was a fellow traveller, another useful churchian.
Indeed, religious lefties will receive not only intellectual and ideological support from the various leftist activist groups, but they will also receive heaps of financing as well. Just as the former Soviet Union used to pump heaps of funding into various Western front groups, including liberal church groups, the left is still doing it today.
Consider the radical agenda being promoted by billionaire leftist George Soros. He is bankrolling all kinds of radical leftist and secularist causes, including drug legalisation, euthanasia, abortion, special rights for homosexuals, global government, and atheism.
And he is quite happy to fund radical religious lefties as well. One such recipient of his largesse is Sojourners magazine, edited by American religious leftist Jim Wallis. Incredibly however, for over a month Wallis had stated that such funding claims were a lie, and he refused to acknowledge it. But now he has had a rethink, and finally admits to this funding.
Marvin Olasky of WORLD magazine broke the story, and this tale of truth decay and the religious left is worth telling. Olasky explains: “Half-way through a July 17 WORLD column I mentioned that in 2004 Sojourners, Jim’s organization, received $200,000 from billionaire George Soros, a financier of left-wing groups that push for abortion, atheism, bigger government, and other causes. I had a printout of a page from the website of the Open Society Institute – Soros is OSI’s founder, funder, and chairman – showing the grant.
“It didn’t seem to me like any big deal: Of course Soros would see the religious left as important in drawing evangelical votes away from a conservative embrace. Of course Jim would take the money in pursuit of his aims. So I was surprised by Jim’s reaction when Timothy Dalrymple, who writes for the Patheos website, asked him about my mention of Sojourners receiving funding from Soros.
“Dalrymple asked, ‘Is there anything wrong with making common cause with the George Soroses of the world?’ Jim exploded: ‘It’s not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I’m sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don’t receive money from Soros.’
“Jim kept insisting: ‘We don’t receive money from George Soros. Our books are totally open, always have been. Our money comes from Christians who support us and who read Sojourners. That’s where it comes from.’ OK, easy enough to defend myself against lying: Ask folks to go to the OSI website and see for themselves. I did – and the record was gone. Cue the Twilight Zone music. Was my printout a forgery? Was I lying?”
Fortunately others had a record of this transaction. Thus Wallis has had to finally back down and admit that they did indeed receive Soros funding. As Olasky notes, there is nothing unusual about such funding. Indeed, we would expect it. But what we don’t expect is for religious leaders who like to claim the high moral ground to live in denial, smear their challengers as liars, and then when caught out, still offer no apologies.
Others of the religious left are not immune from such behaviour, and this just happens to be one of the more recent examples. But we have a history of leftist Christians aligning themselves with the bigger agenda of the secular left. The Soviets were quite happy about such complicity during the Cold War, and plenty of leftist groups today are quite happy about it as well.