Carol Platt Liebau: On the Side of the Angels

Saturday, November 11, 2006

On the Side of the Angels

Hurray for the Archbishop of York -- who has criticized the systematic erosion of Christianity from public life.

The problem with public atheism is that, over time, it breeds a sense that religion is somehow the topic-that-cannot-be-discussed, at least publicly. As I noted here, it's weird that it's perfectly OK for all kinds of sexual messages to dominate public discourse, but any allusion to Jesus Christ is somehow verboten.


Blogger wile e coyote said...

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

10:46 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

I have no problem with public pronouncements of personal faith. But I am one of those liberals who believes that one faith should not be endorsed above all others, especially by our government.

In your banner, you advocate for religious liberty; I assume that you'd like to extend that liberty to American Jews and American followers of Islam, Baha'i, and Hinduism? Does religious liberty extend to me, an American agnostic?

I have no desire to turn you or anyone else to my agnosticism, but nor to I want to feel like less of a citizen in my own nation because I don't follow what is becoming a "national religion." If you think I'm overreacting, take a look at how many people point to the Christian Bible when advocating for legislation.

I just want this to be an inclusive nation for people of all faiths, and I'm a believer in the Bill of Rights (which says that there will be no state-sponsored religion). To my mind, that's a fairly conservative stance -- but I understand that not everyone feels that way ...

9:28 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

"...take a look at how many people point to the Christian Bible when advocating for legislation."

Who does this exactly? Ministers perhaps? Fine. No one votes for them. No minister who runs for office points to the Bible at all. At least none that garner any kind of serious attention. So perhaps you have a quote from some other politician. My point is that I hear this kind of thing but it is never supported with specific examples.

No one has any problem with anyone worshipping as they see fit. I'm certain Carol doesn't. It's more a matter of restricting soley on the basis of one's deeply held faith. In other words, if a speaker is known to be deeply religious, his words or position is discounted because of his background even if he never brings "God" into the debate. It is assumed that his position is based soley on his faith and not on logic or science or other non-religious sources. In my case, I find my positions on social issues are supported by science and logic and happen to align with my Christian faith as well. I go out of my way, however, to speak only in secular terms when arguing my point. It's not enough for some. They use my faith against me as a counter and ignore my logic based reasoning. This is the complaint of those of faith. It's a nice ploy as it relieves my opponent of having to respond with an equally logical or scientific retort.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

"I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of Allegiance couldn't be said in a school because it had the words 'under God'' in it. I think that's an example of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the decision-making process, as opposed to strict interpretation of the Constitution." -- George W. Bush

"President Bush supports God, and God supports President Bush, absolutely." -- Judith Manning, GOP alternate 2004 convention delegate

The Austin-based Republican Party of Texas alleged in their Sept. 2006 newsletter, that E. Ben Franks, Democratic nominee for a seat on the 6th Court of Appeals, "is reported to be a professed atheist" and apparently believes the Bible is a "collection of myths.'" Franks says he has never professed to be an atheist and is not a member of any atheist organization.

"We need common-sense judges who understand our rights were derived from God." -- George W. Bush

Senator Lieberman mentioned God 16 times in his 2000 announcement speech, even invoking evangelical Christian tradition when he asked the party faithful to "allow me to let the spirit move me as it does" before citing the injunction in Chronicles to "give thanks to God, and declare His name and make His acts known to the people, to be glad of spirit, to sing to God, and make music to God, and most of all, to give glory in gratitude to God from whom all blessings truly do flow."

"I believe that God wants everybody to be free. That's what I believe. And that's one part of my foreign policy. In Afghanistan I believe that the freedom there is a gift from the Almighty." -- George W. Bush

When asked by Bob Woodward if Bush asked his father, George H.W. Bush for advice leading up to the Iraq war, President Bush responded that his "earthly father" was ""the wrong father to appeal to for advice ... there is a higher father that I appeal to."

"My faith teaches me life is sacred." -- Gov. Tim Kaine, VA

"God loves you, and I love you. And you can count on both of us as a powerful message that people who wonder about their future can hear." -- George W. Bush

"I will vigorously protect the separation of church and state. Diversity, freedom of choice and freedom of religion are among the defining characteristics of our nation." -- Sen. John Kerry

"I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish." -- President John F. Kennedy

10:41 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

OK, the last two speak for your side. I'll assume you did that to make your point. But most of the Bush statements simply confirmed what the founders believed when they said that we are each endowed by our Creator with our rights. To them, of course, to use those words refers to the Creator of the Bible.

The very first quote spoke to the practice of judges inserting their agenda into their Constitutional interpretations, so it doesn't count. The second is the delegate's personal opinion. The Austin GOP campaign letter is lacking details upon which I can comment. On the surface, it sounds like typical campaign crap that, in my house, hits the circular file without a read. So it seems you got Lieberman, a liberal, using it in his campaign address. Hmmm. I was expecting more conservatives. Most of what you have, as I said, aligns with the founders' thoughts on the subject of where our rights come from. So in that aspect, you are right that God enters into legislation insofar as protection of rights is concerned. So while at least appearing to have won here, if not winning outright, you have at the same time shown Bush and others to be truer to the intent of the founders on the issue. However, I still maintain that in forming legislation, you'd be hardpressed to find similar quotes, and that's the main point based on your

"...take a look at how many people point to the Christian Bible when advocating for legislation."

10:55 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

What is wrong with professing a belief in God?

Do you understand how that differs in forming a Church of the United States (a la The Church of England)?

6:36 AM  

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