It was refreshing to read that (in what turns out to be a lament about the New Pope® entitled, "Sad News for the World's Catholics"). When I see younger bloggers writing about Religion, and The Church, it is almost always as a negative, conservative force, but in my case -- as in Ted Rall's -- this was not the case. I remember the Rightist wingnuts (at that point represented by the John Birch Society, Goldwater, and Governor Reagan) complaining constantly about the liberal National Council of Churches. I remember the Berrigan brothers on trial, Father Drinan in Congress (before the church forced him to quit), Liberation Theology, the Maryknoll Sisters in Latin America, Bob Dylan invoking Jesus against the Masters of War, Quaker & Brethren pacifists . . . I remember thinking that I could use my church as a sanctuary if the Selective Service came to call. The only southern churches I thought about were the churches of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, and those that were the targets of terrorist bombers because of the skin color of their Sunday School students (oh, sorry, I forgot, in New America® good ol' boys can't be terrists, only ferners can be terrists). I didn't think much about fundamentalists except as the fall guys in "Inherit the Wind" until I discovered them on television in the early eighties, and then Jimmy Swaggart and Ernest Aingley were only good for a belly laugh when they screamed HEEEEEEALLLL and asked us all to put our hands on the television screen and money into their pockets.
". . . during the 1970s, one respite from the constant onslaught of capital-C conservatism on the political scene and small-c conservatism in local culture was the church. . . "
I guess all I'm trying to say is that The Church as a simplistic overarching conservative entity is a recent, largely fictional, achievement of the conservative government and its media who have used it, as they've used everything else, as an electoral wedge issue to solidify their power.
Fuck 'em all.
True Blue Liberal