It remains to be seen what kind of political and cultural alliance can develop between (a) secularists who are more patient with religious liberals than the New Atheists are and (b) religious liberals themselves. And this is where the issue of giving religious ideas a “pass” has become especially difficult. Political liberals of secular orientation tend to give religious ideas a pass because they hope thereby to achieve issue-specific alliances with faithaffirming Americans on the environment, health care, foreign policy, taxation, and so on. Why mess things up by embarrassing the faithful and demanding that they repudiate more resoundingly their more conservative coreligionists? In the meantime, religious liberals are under constant attack from their conservative coreligionists for being on a slippery slope to secularism and are thus reluctant to break ranks with more conservative believers to an extent that secularists would find productive. Hence these religious liberals, too, prefer to seek issue-specific alliances with secular liberals and leave potentially divisive religious argumentation aside.

David A. Hollinger, “Religious Ideas: Should They Be Critically Engaged or Given a Pass?Representations #101 (2008), 151-152.

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