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« Conversations | Main | The other shoe drops »

Feb 13, 2007

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PotatoStew

Sam, the problem with your premise is that you're conflating an enormous potential range of people, roles, actions, and attitudes and then pretending that the only possible relevant difference is political party. When a person speaks about an aspect of religion or faith, the situation can and should be viewed differently depending on who the person is, their position, what role and setting they are speaking in, the exact nature and content of their speech, the intent of the speech, and probably other factors I'm not thinking of. Then, yes, for some people, the speaker's political party may be a factor. You're using too broad a brush here, and oversimplifying the issue for whatever reason.

The CA

I'm also not sure that the Catholic Church as an institution has been "introducing their faith into the public dialogue" lately, which seems to put dear Amanda's radical feminist diatribes into a different category.

billg

Well, I'd suggest that we ought to talk -- with respect and honesty -- about religion by making a distinction between religious beliefs and the person who holds them.

We ought to be sensitive to hot-button language and characterizations, avoiding them lest the discussion go up in flames.

We ought not to demean individuals holding to any given article of faith, no matter what we think of that tenet.

If we decide that expressing skepticism about a particular tenet of a faith amounts to an unjustifed attack on people of that faith, we cut off exploration of a critical part of human existence.

We ought not to make assumptions about anyone's behavior or policies based on what we know of their faith. But, inevitably we do, since the purpose of faith, at least in part, is to shape behavior.

It's a touchy area, so it's hard to tell when someone will decide to take personal offense.

I consider religious belief to be such an intensely personal issue that I'd be very reluctant to discuss my views in public at all. So, my advice to polticians would be to avoid introducing your beliefs into the converstation. I'm always ready to question the sincerity of someone's beliefs -- religious or otherwise -- if they're so willing to publicize them for personal gain.

We ought not to make assumptions about anyone's behavior or policies based on what we know of their faith. But, inevitably we do, since the purpose of faith, at least in part, is to shape behavior.

The CA

Stew, I don't think so. This girl was hired by the Edwards campaign. Edwards was made aware of her comments and did nothing. We all know that if this had been a Republican who hired her, the attacks wouldn't be just on her, but the candidate himself or herself. What you are suggesting sounds like a subjective approach which is exactly why I claim it is unfair.

This started with the Henry Ford thread, which was one of the most desperate smear plays I have seen for awhile. Compare that to what Ms. Amanda said, and it's not even close. Why? If someone is going to be attacked for pronouncing religious views in the political arena, why isn't it fair to attack those espousing anti-religious views? You can't make it subjective because you end up applying different rules to different people, and it often appears that the only subjective difference is the party of the speaker. You can't give someone a pass just because you think they are a "good guy".

The CA

Billg, again I agree with a lot of what you are saying. The problem is that Ms. Amanda wasn't even engaging in an intellectual discussion. She was being crude, insulting and purposely vengeful.

billg

>>"I'm also not sure that the Catholic Church as an institution has been "introducing their faith into the public dialogue" lately..."

It's not something that I follow, but when a religious figure addresses a controversial social issue, I'm not sure how to decide what's in the public dialigue and what is not. I'm skeptical that the public remarks of this pope, and the last, about many issues lacked political intent. The same can be said for any number of preachers, rabbis, imams, mullahs, etc.

Frankly, when members of a faith represent a large enough segment of a political society, it's impossible for religious guidance on issues of concern not to enter the public dialogue. Which is why Ed's question is important.

The CA

Yes, but why all the criticism from so many about your last point?

billg

>>"She was being crude, insulting and purposely vengeful."

Certainly she should have been aware that some people would take it that way. Political bloggers who try to move from the bleacher seats onto the team should expect that everything they've exposed to public view will be a compost pile for fertilizing opposition weeds. A lot of people are bashing Edwards for "caving in" to Donohue. I think the real question for the Edwards' camp is why didn't they see this coming? Still, they aren't the first campaign to be burned by a staffer's previous life, and they won't be the last.

Re: Ed's question: This episode tells us is that the rules, whatever they are, are different for politicians than they are for the rest of us.

billg

If people are being "attacked for pronouncing religious views in the political arena", then that's inappropriate.

In my book, that amounts to making a statement about your religious beliefs. But, what I see happening is this: people basing political condemnations of one thing or another by publicly citing their faith, and campaigning for political support by leveraging that faith. Questioning that, even harshly, does not amount to attacking them for talking about their religious views. They chose to exploit their faith for political gain.

We are more likely to see conservatives being bashed for this than others because we have lots and lots of conservatives. But, I'm sure, somewhere out there, it's happening in reverse.

Could an open atheist run for high office and not expect to be put through the wringer? In the current climate, it's unlikely that our first 5 or six presidents could get elected since they were on record expressing the kind of questioning doubt that seems to offend so many these days.

Connie Mack Jr

Billg, again I agree with a lot of what you are saying. The problem is that Ms. Amanda wasn't even engaging in an intellectual discussion. She was being crude, insulting and purposely vengeful.* Spiritual Purtian leader CA

Lawyer Republican Sam! What would you say if Thomas Jefferson express the same thoughts and words as Amanda to the Spiritual hypocrites of his day?

Connie Mack Jr

Sam! Strike that last remark, you would say that it was William Jefferson Clinton that made it. So much for your Bush Republican 101 conservative historial education background.

Outdated

I wonder how Thomas Paine’s withering indictment of religion in his 1794 publication “The Age of Reason” would be perceived in today’s blogosphere.

Connie Mack Jr

I wonder how Thomas Paine’s withering indictment of religion in his 1794 publication “The Age of Reason” would be perceived in today’s blogosphere.*Outdate

Just like today. The Church of France and England would be outraged and some bigot idiot like Donough would take credit for putting Paine in the French slammer.

The CA

Blaming Donohue for Marcotte's remarks is just plain ducking responsibility.

Connie Mack Jr

Blaming Donohue for Marcotte's remarks is just plain ducking responsibility.* CA

Right lawyer Sam with lots of time on his hand. That is exacty what Lord Burke said about Thomas Paine and his little blog tract being in the mainstream media in England.

It appears that your historial knowledge stops with the election of Bush in 2000 Sam.

Lex

Sam, look at the definitions to which I linked. Then you tell me.

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