Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dave Swindle:

I'm really happy to see an old Internet friend (it's strange how many of my online friends I've never personally met) Dave Swindle, doing well years after I first encountered him. As a freethinking libertarian, I tend to have appreciators of my work from all over the ideological spectrum. When I encountered him, Swindle was a man of a Left and an ideological enemy of David Horowitz. He now seems to have moved from Left to Right (with the help of David Horowitz). I've stayed a libertarian. But I think his kind of conservatism is still the kind I can appreciate and vice versa. He's still a fan of Andrew Sullivan (as am I). And he's not a religious fanatic or a gay basher (i.e., the kind of conservatism for which I have a strong distaste, especially of the "Christian Nationalist" bent).

What I found interesting in his interview with Frontpagemag was about Swindle's return to Christianity. He was a traditional evangelical, then became an occultist. And now is a theologically liberal (or "freethinking") Christian:

FP: Are you still a Christian? Tell us how your spiritual journey has evolved during your political transition.

Swindle: It depends on who we let define what it means to be a Christian. If one must believe in things like the Virgin Birth, the talking snake, and the inerrancy of the Bible then I'm not a Christian. But if we define "Christian" more broadly as I do, and we understand Christianity as a love for the ideas and example of Christ, then I'm very much still a Christian. I still read the Bible, consider its teaching, and seek to emulate Christ's call to live a life of absolute love for humanity. I want to internalize the spirit and metaphors of Christianity while discarding its archaic, and often downright destructive dogmas. (I hold this exact same attitude about the Left by the way. "Progressive dreams pursued through conservative means" remains one of my mantras.)

This dynamic is oft-ignored. We tend to think of politically conservative Christians as theological conservatives and politically liberal Christians as theological liberals. And that's often the case. But not always. Bill O'Reilly for instance, is a theological liberal or moderate Roman Catholic. Jimmy Carter was arguably more theologically orthodox than Ronald Reagan.


Here is a piece written by Swindle in the old days that references a blog post of mine (one of my first Andrew Sullivan links) about Alan Keyes' lesbian daughter. And here is a current work of his -- a review of Christopher Buckley's newest book about losing his famous parents, featured in The American Thinker.

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