Moral tribalism is alive and living in the political arena

themOK. This is long, but good. Michael Schulson writes at Religion and Politics:

The people I know are ecumenical in their religious values. But, rightly or not, they are dogmatic in their political commitments.

While this experience is not universal, I also do not think it is unique. Social science research about American society supports that hunch. In a lot of ways, the country seems to be getting less religious, more pluralistic, and more tolerant. But at the same time, partisanship is coming to look more and more like a muscular, tribal—almost religious—kind of identity.


6 responses to “Moral tribalism is alive and living in the political arena

  1. Well…yeah.
    I’m a little confused. Does the author regard that as a bad thing?

    • Good question. In true Socratic form: What do YOU think?

      • Like I said…I’m confused.
        That’s why I asked you. You understand these religious more than I. Don’t they think that conformity and enmity…the essence of tribalism…is a good thing?
        And is he saying that pragmatism isn’t found in religiosity? (puh…lease!) And ecumenism…an overt promotion of unity…solidarity…absent from politics?

        So help a secular brother out. Being how I’m all lost in fantasies about the end of moral tribalism and all.

        (As far as I’m concerned, tribalism is as tribalism does. You can’t feed folks a constant diet of hate and discontent…conformity and enmity…without them eventually mimicking the source. See that Pew report. The only thing that can abate tribalistic behaviors is critical thinking. And there’s a law against that now. Right?)

  2. But are you using the word “ecumenical” to mean universal or universally Christian? Because if you mean the latter, then isn’t it dogma? Religion is, in my opinion, one of the most dogmatic belief systems. I frankly don’t think there is much difference between a political ideology and a religion.

    • (I mistakenly typed pragmatism instead of dogmatism.)
      I’m not sure, but I think when Schulson says “ecumenical” he means reasonable. (Because his network of “liberal” friends includes nonChristians.) And when he says “dogmatic” he means something other than reasonable, maybe. But not unreasonable? Possibly?

      I’m not reading it again. The whole thing is so circular it makes me dizzy.

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