Dear Dan,

I am a religious (in both senses of the word) reader of your work, and I just have to say, with regard to your acidic take on religion: enough!

I take seriously your legitimate complaints about religion and about religious people who try to make the case that they aren't like the others without much to show in evidence of that. I take it so seriously that it has motivated me to look for full-time work in progressive religious advocacy, a major change for me. (As you can imagine, such jobs are few and far between; for now, I'm doing stuff on a volunteer basis.) The right is better organized (for which I have to give them credit: They've been at this in a really well disciplined way for so long!) and WAY better funded. Bit by bit, religious progressives are doing our thing, but we have a harder time getting acknowledgment and press than moderate Muslims. Have you ever seen, for example, the stuff done by Faith in Public Life?

Nobody owes us press, of course, but we're fighting a two-front war. On one side is the Christian right, which has made a very skillful case to media and others that theirs is THE Christian (and family friendly) viewpoint. We have to dismantle the idea that only two sides to any issue are the secular left and the Christian right, but it's a daunting task because media like the simple controversy that that paradigm represents. We're working on it, but it's a slog. The other front, though, concerns secular liberals who complain on one hand that religious progressives don't do enough but then turn around and lump all Christians together as the enemy.

So how about this: We'll keep at it, and we'll take our lumps when they are deserved, but how about you pay attention and direct some attention to occasions when religious progressives are doing exactly what you want them to do (other than becoming atheists, of course)? Seriously, we need the hype and the support of seculars who share our convictions, if not our beliefs. I'd be happy to keep you in the loop.

My own congregation, by the way, has taken on marriage equality as a key justice issue. We will take a vote in a few weeks on a resolution supporting it, just as our state legislators (MD) should be getting ready to tackle the issue. I expect it to pass overwhelmingly in our congregation, if not in the state. (I'm not wild about voting on this as a church—it feels kind of weird to be voting on people's rights, even if it happens state by state all the time—but we're congregationalists: We vote on everything.) In the meanwhile, many congregants have been working the phones and collecting signatures for Equality Maryland. Some will go to Annapolis later this month to meet with legislators and make the explicit case that not all religious Marylanders are against marriage equality. We dedicated an entire service to the topic last fall (Click on any of the blue headers to hear MP3s of that section of the service.), and our senior pastor works the issue into his sermons regularly. If you are curious, listen to this from early September on family (Scroll down and click on "meditation" to launch the MP3.) or this from early December on love and safety (Scroll down and click on "homily.").

I'm not trying to convert you, Dan, at least not on religion itself. But you've challenged religious progressives to put up or shut up. I'm challenging you to do the same.

Best wishes for the new year,

Today's post didn't lump all Christians in together. It lumped Jews, Christians and Muslims in together. But point taken—I've called for liberal Christians to speak the fuck up, and I should do a better job of shining a spotlight on the ones who are trying—and to that end, SNC, here's your letter.