a progressive post...
to a sociology list.
RE: What is being progressive?
I think what defines “progressive” is irrelevant. I suspect that many people would consider me “progressive,” “liberal,” etc. I don’t use those labels in addressing myself. I don’t think that they are useful. If I do use a label to describe myself, I use terms like, “sane,” “reasonable,” etc. I know that these can be debated about me, but I do strive to be those things.
I think that being “sane” and “reasonable” is taking into consideration all of the known data of a phenomena, being respectful of others, and not pretending that I know everything there is to know about something. In past times, this was known as “humility.” Now a dirty word, I think. I also think it is worthwhile to consider how actions have consequences and paying attention to what those consequences might be prior to taking action; being aware of the limitation of resources, etc.; making judgments based on all of the above with the hope of having the best impact on the greatest number. Again, to me this kind of approach seems sane and reasonable; apparently now this kind of thinking is considered “liberal.” Go figure. But seemingly traditional American values (that I try to adhere to and naively expect others to do the same) like respect, honesty, integrity, accountability, and personal responsibility are also apparently now “liberal” values, too. Go figure again.
So, what constitutes “being progressive” is irrelevant, IMO. What matters is how people act. What can I say? I think pragmatism got it right.
RE: politics, religion, values…to answer your question, I do those things that you mention and am not in conflict with my religious belief system. I suspect that some would argue that I have a very “liberal” and/or “progressive” religious belief-system. I consider myself a Hindu-Buddhist-Jesus (-ist?), although when asked what my “religion” is, I will deny affiliation with any; all of that makes complete sense to me and does not run counter to my “beliefs.” I was raised Catholic, but the whole no birth-control, “homosexuality is bad”-thing is just ridiculous, IMO. Although, I do have to admit that my presence on this earth is entirely due to the rhythm method, so I guess I do, on some level, owe the Catholic Church for my corporeal existence (man, what a freaking institution to be beholden to!!!). I agree with their stance on the death penalty, war and abortion, however (I do think that abortion is the taking of a life; I do not think it is my role to pass judgment on those who do that, however).
So, yes, IMO, one can be spiritually/politically/religiously “progressive” all at the same time. In fact, the people I admire the most are those who did/do precisely that.
But, hey, I’m just a damn liberal sociologist and my opinion ain’t worth @#$%!