Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, had this to say about progressives:
…This is where the “progressive” movement is. If you hold a view that is not in agreement with theirs, you are to be demonized by them, the progressives, who, ironically, don’t believe in demons. Why do they do this? Because they, the progressives, consider themselves morally superior to those of us who hold traditional values even though, again, ironically, progressives don’t believe in moral values unless they define them. They moralize against those who promote morality.
The progressive movement is out to destroy our country as it has existed. It is against patriotism. It is against religion in general and is in particular hostile to evangelical Christianity and traditional Catholicism. It is against borders. It is against capitalism. It is for high taxation and government control and regulation of almost everything. It wants people depending on government so they can be controlled. It believes government debt is good. It is against our Constitutional Bill of Rights, in particular the First and Second Amendments. It is for abortion on demand even through nine months of pregnancy. It wants to downgrade the American military. It rejects the idea that Western Civilization is superior to other civilizations. And it most certainly is for promoting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement and punishing people who dare speak against it…
Wildmon speaks as if progressives are a monolithic movement with a stated platform that all progressive must agree to. Progressives are actually quite diverse, holding to a variety of political, social, economic, and religious views.
While I can not speak for other progressives, what follows is what THIS progressive thinks of Wildmon’s ignorant screed.
As a progressive, do I think I am morally superior to right-wing extremists like Tim Wildmon and Bryan Fischer? Yes, I do. When compared to the knuckle dragging, backwater morality of the American Family Association, my moral views are superior in every way. As a humanist, I am committed to making the world a better place to live. The Humanist Manifesto III states:
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.
This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.
Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.
Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.
To suggest that I, as a progressive, have no moral values is a lie. What Wildmon should have written is that people like me don’t have HIS moral values. We reject his appeal to the anquitdated morality of the Bible and his interpretation of it.
Progressives aren’t against patriotism. Again, speaking for myself, I am against hyper-nationalism, American exceptionalism, American imperialism, and nation building via the end of a gun barrel. It is offensive to suggest that I am not a patriot just because I stand against the theocratic ambition of the religious right.
Wildmon states that progressives are “hostile to evangelical Christianity and traditional Catholicism.” Again, this is a huge overstatement. Tomorrow, countless progressives, at a variety of houses of worship, will praise the same God as Wildmon does. What these Christian progressives object to is the fundamentalist and theocratic tendencies of people who are aligned with groups like the American Family Association. Of course, Wildmon likely doubts that these Christian progressives are Christian at all. In his mind, a “true” Christian thinks like Tim Wildmon.
I am a progressive and an atheist, yet I am not “hostile to evangelical Christianity and traditional Catholicism.” I couldn’t care less what personal religious beliefs a person might have. What I am hostile towards is what these kind of Christians DO in the name of their God. When they attack minorities and the marginalized and demand their religion be given preference by the state, then yes, I am going to be hostile. I think their demands are harmful to our republic. We need only look to the Middle East to see what happens when religion and state are in bed together. Our secular democracy must be protected and defended at all costs, and if that makes me hostile in Tim Wildmon’s eyes, so be it.
This article by Wildmon is just another in a long line of cow piles meant to whip up the passions of the faithful. According to Wildmon, progressives are against secure borders and capitalism. We are against the Bill of Rights, especially the First Amendment and the NRA Amendment, I mean the Second Amendment. Progressives want high taxes, total government control, a weak military, and abortion on demand.
What a cake Wildmon is baking, one that he frosts with progressives love for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. It looks like Wildmon hit all the hot buttons, yes? Never mind that ALL these issues are hotly debated in the progressive community.
Sadly, Wildmon’s tired, lying trope will be repeated in countless Evangelical, Mormon, and Catholic churches. God-fearing, Obama-hating, theocratic pastors will remind the faithful that progressives want to destroy Christian America. Perhaps they will warn them that Christians are being persecuted for holding to the faith once delivered to the Republicans. They will remind their parishioners that progressives are really socialists, communists, and atheists. And we all know, if they are atheists then they are most certainly satanists.
There is little progressives can do with/for such people. The best we can do is point our their insanity and continue working towards a more just and equitable society. We can not reason with them because they have forsaken reason for extremist ideology. They are the epitome of a closed mind.
For those who will suggest that it is my progressive views that are extreme, I ask, which view promotes the common welfare of the human race? Which view promotes justice, equity, and respect for all? Which view promotes peace? Which view is inclusive, regardless of religious belief of sexual orientation?
Progress will require us metaphorically walking over the corpses of the religious and political right. Better to walk over their corpses than the literal corpses of those killed as a result of following the extremist, global climate change denying, political and religious views of the right. Much of the current global conflict is driven by political, ethnic, and religious extremism. The way forward for the United States and the world as a whole is to combat this extremism wherever it is found. This requires progressives of every stripe to put their hand to plow and till the ground in hope a better tomorrow. Doing nothing is not an option.
It should go without saying that progressive and Democrat are not synonymous. And yes, I am aware that there is a shrinking number of old school Republicans who are vehemently opposed to the extreme right ideology of their party.