Sunday, November 04, 2007
Everybody Goes to Rick's
Huh? The Righteous Right wants less talk about religion in the public square?
Strangely enough, the occasion for their concern is when one of their own, chided into talking about his religion, winds up sounding like an ignorant boob and an evasive one at that. Oh, the occasion wasn't helped by the fact that it was one ignorant boob interviewing another, Bill O'Reilly with former Arkansas Gov. and unlikely presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. It went something like this:
O'Reilly: I understand, I understand this, I am on your side. But I also understand that if you say — indicate that you don't believe that we are descended from primates, then you are going to have a hard time, because they are going to brand you. They are going to brand you and they already have. And I don't know how you fight that. But I want to get this clear. Do you believe in Adam and Eve? Do you think Adam and Eve were around?As Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report describes the rest (I'd hunt down the video and watch it myself but, based on past experience with O'Reilly, my appointment to have my eyes gouged out with hot pokers this afternoon is too attractive to miss):
Huckabee: Yes. I think they were a real person, Adam and Eve. I have no reason to doubt that.
O'Reilly: But so you believe that God just said, OK, here is the man, I'm going to take his rib, and there is Eve. And then everybody evolved from there.
Huckabee: As I said that night with Wolf Blitzer, I do not know how he did it. Honestly don't know how long it took. Wasn't there. I could not give you the details. But I just believe he did it. And so, you know, if it turns out that I am wrong, I have lost nothing. If it turns out I'm right, it is a good thing.
It went on and on from there. Adam and Eve, evolution, religious minorities getting into Heaven, school prayer, tolerance for Mormons … O'Reilly didn't ask a single policy question, choosing instead to focus exclusively on Huckabee's theological beliefs.But this is bad, according to Hugh Hewitt:
…Bill asked the governor if he really believed in Adam and Eve. The answer doesn't matter to me so much as what the question represents: A huge breach in the previously widely respected understanding that such questions are not asked of presidential candidates and, if asked, politely turned aside as inappropriate in a nation built on the premise that religious tests are unconstitutional in law ...Hmmm ... would that be true if Hewitt suspected the candidate might be an ... (gasp) ... atheist?
Hopelessly uninterested in the nuances of politics and its dark alley maneuverings (I've found certain verities sufficient for voting purposes, such as all politicians lie pretty much coextensively with air moving over their vocal cords and all you need to judge one is to observe which totem they are waiving to attract which type of supporter), I don't have a clue who Hugh Hewitt is, but Andrew Sullivan assures us that Hewitt is "one of the main architects of turning the GOP into a sectarian, fundamentalist organization, and demanding adherence to a set of religiously-based propositions as a condition of being a GOP nominee."
I'm shocked, shocked to find that that there is hypocrisy going on in here!
Well, there shouldn't be any official test (and hasn't been since Torcaso v Watkins in 1961).
People, of course, have the right to make their choice about candidates based on any damn fool thing. Personally, I do apply a stupidity test (and disbelief in evolution is stupid).
And Huckabee and the rest didn't have any qualms about talking about their religion when they were courting the "Values Voters" folks, where stupidity and hypocrisy are not disqualifying traits. It's only when the candidates are out where they can be seen by the larger public that they want everybody sweep it under the rug.
If *he* brought it up, he'd be damned for forcing his religion on people. If *someone else* asks him about it, he's damned for what he believes. Which is why, I think, we disagree on how Huckabee is handling this. You to hear him address matters of faith because it will let you pigeonhole him (as you do me and all other "values voters") as a religious nut. Nevermind that many Christians have thought a great deal about life and have struggled through it's difficult questions, the easy answer for you is *stupid*.
Might I also remind you of Huckabee's answer to the question during the debate: "It’s interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president. I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I’m asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States. But you’ve raised the question, so let me answer it..."
He politely noted that he considered it to be an inappropriate question, but he *answered* it nonetheless. What more did you want from him?
Actually, I tend to get in trouble with some people because I rather vigorously defend religious people who I think are intelligent.
But it's ridiculous (might I even say arrogant) to think that every religious person who has ever lived is stupid or thoughtless.
I don't have to imagine intelligent religious people, I know them. I know it's a cliche, but my best friend for many years has been a (now retired) Presbyterian minister.
... we disagree on how Huckabee is handling this. You to hear him address matters of faith because it will let you pigeonhole him (as you do me and all other "values voters") as a religious nut.
I'm sorry, did you go to the site about the Values Voters debate I linked to and read the questions? They were beyond stupid and into delusional. I don't assume all religious people are delusional, but I take notice when candidates pander to the ones who are.
As to Huckabee, I'm willing to listen but he was the one who raised his hand when he was asked who didn't believe in evolution and, so far, he has been equivocating so much there is nothing to base a chanhge of opinion on. If he doesn't want his beliefs to be an issue he could say "that's none of anybody's business" but then he can't go around talking about how his faith informs his policies. And why should I be concerned about politicians being put in hard places, especially when they are running for president? What do you think the job entails other than hard choices?
I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I’m asking for the opportunity to be president ...
Then he doesn't understand the Federal government (and should be disqualified on those grounds). As president he would be proposing and and signing legislation (such as No Child Left Behind) that can have great effect on what gets taught in 8th grade and well beyond. He'll also be appointing a Secretary of Education, who will also have great influence on curriculum.
What more did you want from him?
Well, if he wants my vote, he'll have to be smarter.
In fact, if you take a gander at my blog, you'd fine that I'm not afraid to hash through the hard questions.
I'll give it a look.
(Thanks for the dialogue, I really enjoy it.)