Sunday, June 29, 2008

Christianism comes to town

A few days back, my uncle sent my mother this op-ed. It infuriated me so much I had to write a response.

Anyway, I've reproduced it in full for your entertainment. Let me know if you agree or disagree:

The biggest problem with this article is that pretends to know exactly what “liberals” – as a monolithic political group – believe, and why they believe it. If I argued that all “Christians” espouse Roman Catholic orthodoxy (with the same reverence for saints, the same notions of papal infallibility, and the same liturgy), wouldn’t that seem terribly ignorant? Wouldn’t it be an incredible misunderstanding of Christian thought and tradition? And wouldn’t you say that it’s unfair to lump all “Christians” into a single, homogeneous group?

But what if I went further and suggested that all of the zealots on the lunatic fringe – abortion clinic bombers, for example – represent mainstream Christian ideology?

That’s exactly what this article does. It distorts and diminishes liberal thought, denying its diversity and complexity – and rendering it almost unrecognizable.

But let’s pretend for the sake of argument that there is no diversity of thought on the Left, and there’s a single, unified liberal “perspective” on every major issue. The arguments in this article are still absurd.

1) At what point have liberals tried to “shut down” Fox News or other conservative media outlets? That's an outrageous claim.

2) Since when do all Arabs oppose women’s rights and intellectual freedom? I have Arab friends – some of them Christian – who are not only extremely tolerant, but also happen to support Israel’s right to exist.

3) How can gay marriages be compared to incestuous or polygamous marriages? They're simply not the same thing. But, again, even if they were, on what basis do the majority of conservatives seek to deny marital rights to consenting adults? Is it simply Biblical teaching? Should we also stone adulterers because the Bible suggests that this is an acceptable penalty? [Deuteronomy 22:22-24] The real question is: How can the Bible be the foundation of public policy in such a religiously and ethnically diverse nation?

4) On the issue of the First Amendment, the Supreme Court extended the Establishment Clause to encompass states and local communities only after the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (which, through the Due Process Clause, dramatically widened the scope of the Bill of Rights). This was a pretty thorny constitutional question that was decided by a fairly mixed group of justices. (Quoting from the Establishment Clause without mentioning the Fourteenth Amendment is like discussing the Eighteenth Amendment’s prohibition on alcohol without acknowledging that it was repealed.)

These are just a few examples of how this article is filled with oversimplifications and outright distortions. But, mostly, it’s filled with ignorant assumptions about the nature of liberalism.

Just some things to think about.


petpluto said...

You posted! Excellent!

I'm pretty sure I saw red reading that op-ed, the likes of which I normally only see when I read my own paper's editorials (this one, by the way, would fit right in there). I definitely agree with your take on the whole situation, and it frustrates me that there are people on BOTH sides of the political spectrum who are willing to paint the other side in the broadest terms. It apparently doesn't occur to many segments of the population that people are impassioned by different issues, and place different weight and focus on different issues.

Plus, his whole dichotomy about Iraq and Sudan was particularly ridiculous.

Stephanie said...

That Townhall piece was terribly written; it had nothing to do with Obama and was just a tirade about liberals, all generalizations and no facts. It also had a grammar error on the top of the second page, which just made it even better. And all the comments just echoed the author's--that actually made me more mad than the article itself.

And yay for posting again! Keep it up!

John said...

In all honesty, I laughed heartily at that townhall piece. It sounded far too much like that Ann Coulter doll I gave you for Christmas, and backed itself up with just as much hard evidence (none.)

It reminded me of the only other townhall blog entry I have ever read: "the sex-box race for president," an alarmist attack on the video game industry that claimed Mass Effect was the world's most advanced virtual sex simulator. The author admitted to knowing nothing about the game other than that it was somewhat controversial, and proceeded to fabricate patently untrue information to make his point. The truth about the game was eventually acknowledged, but somehow he maintained that his arguments were still sound.

You can't win an argument with a willfully ignorant person. They simply stick their fingers in their ears and yell at the top of their lungs.