March 8, 2005
The desperate leftBy Thomas Lifson
The desperate left is reviving old clich�s and images, fighting a reactionary rear—guard effort to defend the vision of a secular state and society they have tried to build in the Twentieth Century. Faced with continuing losses at the polls, they are resorting to amplifying the volume of their disdain for those with whom they disagree.
Ugly, bigoted, nearly—incoherent elitist liberal hatred for conservative Protestants is on display this morning on the op—ed pages of the Los Angeles Times. William Thatcher Dowell raises alarms over the campaign to defend the public display of the Ten Commandments, which he curiously seems to think is exclusively a Protestant affair, ignoring the preference of roughly 80% of Americans to do so, a group which must necessarily include many Catholics and Jews.
Here are some lowlights of his screed (emphasis added):
In trying to promote the commandments, the Christian right seems to have forgotten what they are really about. It has also overlooked the fact that there are several versions: Exodus 20:2—17, Exodus 34:12—26, and Deuteronomy 5:6—21. Different language in Catholic Bibles and the Jewish Torah offer more variants.
Noting like raising the spectacle of religious slaughter. We'd better forget about it, I guess. Secularism never slaughters anyone, except for maybe Stalin, Mao, the French Revolution....
It is part of a reaction against social change, an American counter—reformation of sorts against the way our society has been evolving.
Whoa! If I recall my history correctly, the counter—reformation was not exactly a Protestant affair. I am confused.
Those pushing to blur the boundaries between church and state feel that they are losing out — much as, in the Middle East, Islamic fundamentalists fear they are losing out to "Western values."
Wait a minute! Protestants, Catholics, and now Muslims? Does this guy just hate religion? If militant Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists don't come into this article, they will surely feel slighted.
The reactions are remarkably similar. In the Arab Middle East and Iran, the response is an insistence on the establishment of Islamic law as the basis for political life; in the United States, school districts assert religious over scientific theory in biology class, tax dollars are going to the faith—based, and the Ten Commandments are a putative founding document.
George W. Bush may now find himself in the same kind of trap that ensnared Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdulaziz ibn Saud. To gain political support, Saud mobilized the fanatical, ultrareligious Wahhabi movement — the movement that is spiritually at the core of Al Qaeda. Once the bargain was done, the Saudi royal family repeatedly found itself held political hostage to an extremist, barely controllable movement populated by radical ideologues. The evangelical movement in the U.S. nudged the president back into the White House, and Bush must now try to pay off the political bill for its support.
Boy, it took him long enough to bash Bush by comparing him to Saudi's founder, a nomad who seized power and installed a dynasty, naming the country after his family. I am certain we will be hearing about bills renaming the country, "The United States of Bush." And, yes, those counter—reforming Protestant Muslims really are a scary lot.
A belief system that calls for stoning a woman for adultery or severing the hand of a vagrant accused of stealing depends on extreme interpretations of texts that are at best ambiguous.
The Christian right is equally prone to selective interpretations of Scripture. In its concern for a fetus, for example, the fate of the child who emerges from an unwanted pregnancy gets lost. Some fundamentalists are even ready to kill those who do not agree with them, or at least destroy their careers. They seem to delight in the death penalty, despite the fact that the Bible prohibits killing and Christ advised his followers to leave vengeance to God.
So much ignorance in so few words. If he cared to inform himself rather than spew liberal imagery, he would know about the level of adoption activity of pro—life groups. And the wonderful absolute dichotomy between "fetus" and "child" has never been on display more vividly. Not to mention the foolish assertion that the Bible prohibits "killing," not "murder."
Just as in the Middle East, the core of U.S. puritanism stems from a nostalgia for an imaginary past — in our case, a made—up United States peopled mostly by Northern Europeans alike in the God they worshiped and in their understanding of what he stood for.
Boy, it sure took him long enough to imply racism. Apparently, he has never been to a black church. And I guess this is the point where he sparates the counter—reforming Protestants from the Catholics.
as we have seen recently in the Islamic world (as in the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trials in the Christian world), a fanatical passion for one's own interpretation of justice under God often leads to horror.
Inquisition: check. Salem witch trials: check. Are we done yet?
The fact is that, as St. Paul so eloquently put it, "now we see through a glass darkly." Men and women interpret the deity, but they are only human and, by their nature, they are flawed. In that context, isn't it best to keep our minds open, the Ten Commandments out of our public buildings or off our governmental lawns and to lead by example rather than pressuring others to see life the way we do?
Nice touch, throwing in St. Paul — not the guy usually quuoted by secularists. After he checks out the Quran, he ought to read further in the Bible. Oh yes, also try to capitalize the "deity" in the same paragraph when he quotes St. Paul.
Thomas Lifson is the editor and pubisher of The American Thinker