Friday, May 06, 2005

FOUR WORDS I NEVER THOUGHT I'd hear myself say: I agree with George Will. Or, as Chris Mooney puts it:

Savor It While It Lasts
George Will--who recently sang the praises Michael Crichton--seems to has caught an alarming case of lucidity, compounded by a severe bout of reasonableness. Read his column today--quick--before he comes to his senses.

On the other hand, Richard Reeb pulls out his violin for the suffering of fundamentalist Christians who are victimized by a vast left-wing conspiracy to keep religious dogma out of public policy. Reeb makes the well-known (but no less noxious for that) equation between Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott v. Sanford -- a thoroughly fraudulent comparison, since the decision in Dred Scott affirmed the slavery doctrine that blacks were property and thus had no right to decide their own fate. Comparisons are odious, especially comparisons of injustices; having said that, laws prohibiting abortion -- which affirm the misogynist doctrine that a woman, once pregnant, becomes property and has no right to decide her own fate -- are much more analogous to Dred Scott than is Roe v. Wade.

Reeb is even more dense when he criticizes George Will for his statement that "Republicans should not seem to require, de facto, what the Constitution forbids, de jure: 'No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust.' "

One cannot quarrel with sober political advice, although Will seems to have forgotten (one hopes, only temporarily) just how antagonistic the anti-religious Left is to Christianity, making many wonder if Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, with its ban on religious tests for public office, has been converted from a protection against being forced to abide by the doctrines of a religious sect into a demand that no person in public office has a right to act on his or her religious convictions, even if they do not include the establishment of a state church.

Damn straight "no person in public office has a right to act on his or her religious convictions" if that means basing public policy on the particular beliefs or doctrines of a particular religion. Teaching "intelligent design" (God created the world in 7 days, dressed in fancy clothes) in public schools; outlawing abortion on biblical grounds; denying gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, the right to adopt, and the right to choose a profession (like education, or the military); and permitting or even mandating prayer in public schools and at public events is a form of establishment. And that's where Article VI kicks in, with its "protection against being forced to abide by the doctrines of a religious sect."

After all this, Jeff Jarvis's comments are a tonic. I like his taking George Will to task for making Christian far-right religious fringe lunatics the defining group for all religious Americans.

Will then goes on to argue that the religious right should stop trying to play victim and he uses Passion of the Christ and best-selling religious books and more as his evidence. "But their persecution complex is unbecoming because it is unrealistic." I agree with that.

But I have a problem with making Robertson, Passion, and the Left Behind books the milestones of religion in America. Will puts people in that camp or in the unbelieving camp. But there is a vast religious middle that would not qualify as religious by the definition of some, that may not be the most loyal churchgoers or churchgoers at all, that may hold opinions that are antithetical to the beliefs of this group... but they are religious Americans nonetheless. I am in that middle, that mainstream.

Above bloggers' comments via Memeorandum. Which brings up another bone I have to pick. Why does Memeorandum obsessively quote the same handful of bloggers every day -- even when they have nothing substantive to say? For example, here is what Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds posted about the Will column:

GEORGE WILL is offering much the same advice to the Republicans that I offered a while back. And it remains good advice.
And Atrios:

George Will gets reasonable.

That's IT. I mean, not to take away from either guy -- one's conservative, the other's liberal, but they both write well -- but come on, now! If being an A-list blogger means your posts get linked to by roundup blogs even when you're doing essentially nothing beyond providing a link, then (a) no wonder less-well-known blogs have so much trouble getting noticed; and (b) it's not much of an accomplishment to be an A-list blogger -- or it's way cool, depending on your point of view. You get quoted regardless of what you write, or whether you write anything at all.

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