For religious liberals, the millennium is always just a wish away. A good example can be found in a guest column in the “On Faith” column at the Washington Post. There, in a item entitled “A liberal religious renaissance?”, the former president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, John Buehrens, sees it somewhere over the rainbow:

The new Arizona law prompted a memory. My wife and I once lived in a town in Texas. It was common practice for the police there to pull over people passing through — often just for “driving while being Hispanic.” We are both ministers. We asked, “Is that how we would want to be treated, if we were Hispanic?” We protested then against racial profiling. We do so now.

I’m sure you do. It’s a good thing, then, that the Arizona law specifically and absolutely forbids racial profiling, isn’t it?

My wife was the first woman ordained an Episcopal priest in Texas. I’m a Unitarian. Despite some people considering us to be “the odd couple” among clergy, we have been married since 1972.

Given that Episcopalianism has become nothing more than Unitarianism in garish vestments, I’m not sure why they would be odd.

We apply the same Golden Rule logic to the issue of marriage equality for loving couples of the same gender. In my present Massachusetts congregation I have five such couples, all raising children together. They can marry in this state but still cannot file their federal income taxes as married couples. So we also protest the federal “Defense of Marriage” Act. It doesn’t help to defend our marriage, or any marriage. It gets in the way of applying the Golden Rule.

That means, I presume, that Buehrens is a member of Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness, since I’m sure he wouldn’t want to limit the Golden Rule.

We forget that America was founded by people who were both religious and liberals. Americans of progressive religious values spoke out boldly for the abolition of slavery, for women’s suffrage, for equal opportunity, for fair housing, and, with now ever-increasing urgency, for more responsible environmental stewardship.

That’s a weird paragraph. He starts with the founders, and manages to move by leaps and bounds from the 18th to the 21st century, without acknowledging that there has been lots of change in so-called “progressive” thought over the centuries. “Progressives,” after all, have also been enthusiastic supporters of eugenics, immigration restrictions (how’s that for irony?), residential racial segregation, and lots of other ideas that Buehrens would likely, and rightly, find appalling.

But this is where it really heads to Oz:

America remains “the nation with the soul of a church,” as G.K. Chesterton once said. But even today, most of its religious people are not adherents of the Religious Right. Rather they are overwhelmingly moderate to liberal to progressive in religion. Even secular progressives should recognize that most of their deeply held values are derived from more progressive answers to underlying religious, and even theological, questions.

“Moderate” is an infinitely malleable word, meaningless in this context. As for the rest:

78% of Americans believe in the resurrection of Christ
81% believe that He was the Son of God and came to die for the sins of human beings
78% believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, with 31% considering it inerrent
39% believe in evolution

This list could go on, but you get the point. You can dispute the specific numbers, and you can make the case (easily) that they don’t match up well with Americans’ actual religious practice. It’s also the case that American Christians have not generally been well catechized, and so have some very odd ideas (all-too-frequent beliefs in reincarnation and pluralism with regard to salvation, for example). But the idea that Americans are “overwhelmingly moderate to liberal to progressive” in religion is simply a delusion, especially if the “liberal to progressive” faction is supposed to represent Unitarianism and the ever-shrinking forms of liberal Protestantism. Oh, one final number:
59% approve of Arizona’s immigration law, with anywhere from 62% to 73% approving of the various elements of it
Yes, that rising tide of progressive religious thought is positively sweeping the nation.