Monday, September 01, 2008


Crunch Time

Rod Dreher, the only man with worst taste in pseudonyms than Theodore Beale, has delivered himself of a spectacularly confused attempt at a drive-by mugging of both Barak Obama and PZ Myers.

The "Crunchy Con" points to a short piece by Steve Waldman:

Steve Waldman foresees that some liberals won't be able to keep themselves from making fun of Sarah Palin's views sympathetic to intelligent design, thus leaving Obama's outreach to people of faith in tatters:

In fact, this is almost inevitable that some liberal bloggers will do just that and the Republicans will gather up every one of those Christian-mocking quotes to prove that the Republicans respect them and Democrats don't. For Obama to avoid this fate, he's probably going to do a Sister Souljah on those Democrats who mock Palin, specifically coming to her defense on matters of faith.

If Intelligent Design is "a matter of faith," then there is no need to make any excuses for opposition to teaching it as an "alternative" to evolutionary theory in public schools (much less the "Creation Science" Palin actually advocated being taught). Obama needs only to point to the Constitution of the United States and explain that the very reason religious faith in our country is so strong is due to the bulwark the First Amendment provides for believers against government intrusion into their religious practices. Any rational person can understand that ... and the irrational believers aren't likely to vote for Obama in any case.

The amusing thing is that Crunchy actually quote mines Waldman, whose point is obviously too subtle for him, though I think it is still not the problem that either of them may think. Waldman prefaces the part quoted by Crunchy with the following:

[I]f Democrats start attacking her as a Creationist yokel, it will undo much of Obama's faith outreach.

Simply attacking Palin's beliefs, separate and apart from her policy position as a public official and candidate, might, indeed, involve some backlash, particularly if there was, in fact, Christian-mocking involved.

But, again, given the believers that Obama is realistically targeting, how many of them are going to see creationism-bashing as the same thing as mocking Christianity? Nor is PZ (or the rest of the science-favoring blogosphere, for that matter) so identified with either the Democratic party or Obama that he would need to do much more than point to one or two posts by PZ attacking his own faith and issue a platitude or two about the openness of our democracy and the blessings of freedom of speech.

In short, Obama's faith is so well known and apparently genuine that he need not have a "Sister Souljah moment," because he pretty much lives one every day.

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