The Left Hand of God

I was going to comment on the’s latest post, but after reading their “Terms of Use” that says their goal is to “combat the abuses of the religious right,” I decided my viewpoint would not be welcome there.

So I’ll post here. Note to Talk2Action authors, if you read here: Chasingthewind enforces a similar polite and professional tone but without mandating a right or a left viewpoint. I may be very conservative and right-wing with, but you do not have to be right-wing to comment. Feel free to disagree with me here. 🙂

The author, Silver, posts a review of a book called “The Left Hand of God: Taking Our Country Back From the Religious Right.” In the book, the author Michael Lerner says,

The Left Hand of God means looking at the universe through the perception that love, kindness, generosity and caring for others are the central ontological realities of life, and that when they do not manifest in the world in which we live, the world is distorted and needs to be healed. The Right Hand of God, conversely, means looking at the universe through the perception that life is a struggle of all against all, and that the only path to security is through domination of others.

I can’t imagine what he means by the religious right thinks that the “path to security is through domination of others.” The religious right thinks the path to security is safely in the arms of the Lord and no place else. I don’t ever think about dominating somebody else, nor do I know any good bible-thumpin’ preachers who do. Is it possible the author is confused about the Right’s support for the Iraq war? That has nothing to do with domination and everything to do with freeing the oppressed, protecting loved ones back home, and good old fashioned patriotism and support for a President in the middle of war.

The author goes on to note,

[M]any of the millions of people who get attracted to the Religious Right are not motivated by excitement for their political program, but by the experience of community, caring for others, and its ability to recognize and address the deep distortions in life that are caused by a societal ethos of materialism and selfishness.

I find it ironic that while Lerner says that “the world is distorted and needs to be healed,” he also notes that it is the Right that has “the experience of community, caring for others, and its ability to recognize and address the deep distortions in life.” That’s a fancy way of saying that the Right has figured out that a focus on the Lord brings the healing that the Left desires.

I’ll email this post to the author instead of posting it as a comment on Talk2Action; I know if somebody commented on something I wrote that I’d be curious. In her profile it says, “Diane Silver is a former newspaper reporter and wire service editor who currently resides in Kansas. She is an activist in the movement for civil rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.” I suspect based on that kind of activism that she and I will have little common ground.

5 thoughts on “The Left Hand of God

  1. Michael,

    Thanks so much for letting me know you had posted a comment about my entry on Talk2Action. I haven’t had a chance to read your site, but I suspect that we do have many issues that we disagree on. However, we do have one very important thing in common: A commitment to civil discourse and respect for others.

    I do appreciate the tone of your comment and your note to me. I have been attempting to bring a similar tone into the debate over the cultural differences that divide the religious right and left. One entry of mine where I tried to do that was called “Why the culture war is a lousy idea” at

    I don’t always succeed in keeping to a respectful tone, but I do always try. Your efforts in that area are much appreciated.

    Many thanks!



  2. Mike – you need to rent the movie – Everyone Loves Huckabees.

    It’s a great romp through liberalism, although I doubt that the screenwiter saw it with as much irony as I found in it.

    Christianity is dismissed in one dinner scene about 15 mins. long.

    The rest is a all connected Bhudist manta vs. good old french nihilism – with some Kafka thrown in.

    A good laugh. Except for the dismissal of Christianity, which is where all the answers lay.

    Cheers. and stop ramming your fascist Baptist beliefs down my throat. I’ being oppressed, workers, unite, blah blah blah.


  3. Silver, it’s refreshing to find civil discourse, though I expect we are so far apart on viewpoints that we’ll never agree. Starting with the book, “The Left Hand of God.” 🙂

    Sean, don’t you need to go conquer somebody? I skipped that movie, and I’m afraid in my current mindset (see my objections to the Pink Panther movie) that I’d have trouble enjoying the irony of the movie through the fog of irritation.


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