Matt Yglesias wonders if liberals spend too much of their energy fighting meaningless fights against religious symbolism...I think he's right, and I say that from the perspective of someone who's such a stone atheist that I'm pretty sure it's not philosophically possible to be more atheist than me. Still, there are fights and there are fights, and some are more worth fighting than others.
Evolution? Worth fighting over, even if it costs us. Prayer in public classrooms? I'm agin it, but let's face facts: we won 98% of this battle long ago. The last 2% probably isn't worth too much bloodshed. Creche scenes in front of city hall? Lighten up.
That's right, and I hear it a lot. The problem is that liberals, broadly defined, aren't the folks fighting these battles. Democratic legislators aren't scouring the nation's public lawns for nativity scenes. In fact, most of us just don't care. It's a small set of liberally-affiliated organizations waging these battles. The ACLU, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and a handful of others are bringing the court cases, while the whole Democratic party is getting blamed for the sentiment.
Worse, I'm not quite sure how you fix it. There's no way to reign in the ACLU, nor should there be. Independent organizations can do what they want. Neither is there some technologically advanced muzzle we can slap on O'Reilly's jaw and engage whenever he's disingenuously equating us with some small advocacy group we disagree with. So what do you do? Sister Souljah the ACLU? I'd rather not, all things considered. Whine loudly to O'Reilly's producer? Don't waste my time.
I'm really not sure, in the end. I guess some counter-demagoguery where we do a better job of tarring mainstream Republicans with the opinions of the Friends of the Confederacy might work, at least to prove how ridiculous it all is, but maybe not. In any case, Kevin's right on the merits, but we're really not fighting these battles. It's a few independent groups repeatedly riding off to war and the Democratic party getting blamed for it. What's needed isn't a discussion of whether we should be fighting over creche scenes, but how we stop being grouped in with those who are.