Pharyngula has a very interesting analysis of the role of religion and the future of the Democratic party. In the end, the Democratic party ought to be focused on results. For example, most everyone agrees that fewer aborotions is a good policy goal. The Democratic response should focus on sexual education and access to birth control. These policy choices will produce a better result than sending women and their doctors to prison.
But the post on Pharyngula brought me back to an Arabic folk tale I was reading to Big Sister Hammer last night, The Pious Cat. BSH didn't know what "pious" meant -- big surprise, growing up with a daddy like me -- so we read the story then talked about what it meant to be pious. "To believe in god a really lot" was our conclusion.
We were fine until BSH asked whether I was pious. Clearly, a truthful answer would be "by no objective measure". Kids deserve honesty. They deserve as much information as they can understand. Until she can fully understand the meaning of death, who am I to take away her belief in a blissful afterlife where she will reunite with all those she has loved and lost?
A similar dynamic must direct the Democratic party. We should not focus on piety or religious observance, but on common values. Whether your desire to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, or treat the sick comes from religious belief or compassionate humanism shouldn't matter. Results should matter. For example, if we face more hunger in America today than 5 years ago, let's demand less piety from our country's leaders and more results.