Harvard Divinity School Pluralism at its best

Reading this, don’t you feel warm fuzzies all over that Wendy has for other American gals who like to share their Christian convictions? 

Religious pluralism leaves you feeling so happy and peaceful, doesn’t it?

“Sister” Wendy reminds me of the “brethren” in Isaiah 66:5 who hate you and cast you out for sincerely seeking to be loyal to Jehovah rather than the clamor of religious group speak.

I bet that Wendy would categorize any passionate love for Isaiah’s YHWH as “fanatical”, “abusive”, “over the top”, and “out of your mind” in today’s enlightened America.


  1. Todd, Prof. Doniger teaches at Chicago, not Harvard. And, your post makes no sense. She explicitly states that the only religious views she objects to are those which are forced on others. While one might debate the blending of theological and political pluralism, her view hardly excludes passionate love for God.

  2. TT, thanks. Yes, University of Chicago Divinity School.

    How could I make this gloss?

    My great, great grandpa attended here for classes. Divinity books are still in the family library. My Baptist roots are diverse.

    I tend to think that Wendy would tolerate any “love” for God as long as one leaves the fundamentalist tendencies back at the door.

    Wendy seems quite forceful.

  3. Todd,
    Prof. Doniger is one of the most respected religious scholars in the country, and deserves a little more than flippant dismissals and condescending names. That she might personally disagree with fundamentalists, even quite forcefully, is exactly her point: Her disagreement does not entail that she force her view on you or anyone else. The standard she sets up is quite clear: religious beliefs have certain limits in the public square, specifically when they require that someone who does not believe the same thing adhere to the beliefs of another person. This is called democratic pluralism and is really at the heart of one of the major streams of political thought for the last several hundred years. I have admitted that there are aspects to quibble about here, but that such a view requires that fundamentalists cannot love God or believe whatever they want is not one of these aspects.

  4. TT, my first exposure to Wendy is this reactionary post on Sarah.

    I suppose as Marty is the scholarly expert (and antagonist) on Christian fundamentalism, Doniger seems to be the expert on Hindu fundamentalism. But do you have a good link or book that sheds more light for me on her religious beliefs? I am willing to read more.

    And I do believe in democratic pluralism to a point (though flagrant disregard for God’s moral law is destructive for any society).

  5. Todd, why do you think her personal religious beliefs are relevant here? Doniger asserts that Palin is a hypocrite who makes it a matter of public policy to teach abstinence only, to restrict abortions even in the case of rape, and to cut funding for pregnant teens, but also to get pregnant out of wedlock, have a daughter who does the same thing, insist that it is her daughter’s “decision” to keep her child. She argues that Palin’s own personal life doesn’t meet the standards she expects others to live as a matter of law. The question here is whether Palin’s religious views are problematic, not Doniger’s. I am not being asked to vote for Doniger, so I could care less what she believes.

    I am glad that you believe “to a point” in my freedom to think differently than you. How do you determine that point?

  6. If you are asking me not to dismiss as one of the most respected religious scholars, I am just curious to know what makes her so respected to listen to her particular feminist perspective.

    In regards to Palin, would she admit that she has transgressed God’s moral law? Secondly, would she discourage ministering help to pregnant teens?

    And in thinking of your last question: I do welcome democracy and religious debate, just reference Baptist church history and polity.

  7. Scare quotes.

    Encouraging substantive dialog since… well, since forever!

    Apologize heathen, or teh Librul Menac will overrun you.

    (It’s kind of like the Yellow Peril, the Mexican Invasion and the Papist Conspiracy, but liberals are not identified easily by outward appearances so their much sneakier. They can even look like Real Americans TM.)

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