Saturday, April 16, 2005

At Stroke of Midnight. (hint,Yeats)

Here is a bit of comment from Outside the Beltway. He is commenting on Senator Frist's plans to speak to his (oh my gosh, Evangelical!!) supporters on April 24th, and its broadcast over video feeds to (oh no Mr. Bill!!) other churches. (To the Barricades!! Jesus is coming!! )

"I support Frist's efforts to get judicial nominees an up-or-down vote and even support invoking the so-called 'nuclear option' to get it done. However, this particular move is not only unseemly but likely to backfire. Frist's appeal is that he appears above politics. This sort of slimy tactic will not serve him in the long term, especially as he seeks the White House in 2008."

Slimy tactic? Why is this a slimy tactic, because you say so? Why?Because the Democrats cannot go to some similar group of their supporters, say something like,"Those people are believers in God and Christ, so whatever they want is suspect?" Is this what makes the tactic "slimy"? Is it "slimy" because it is Senator Frist? Is it "slimy" because of whom he is speaking to? Is it "slimy" because he is going to appear with people like James Dobson and Chuck Colson? Are they "slimy", and it's going to rub off? Truly slimy creatures are slugs, jellyfish, worms. We don't much like to get in there and rub shoulders with them, slap them on the back. We comes away with gooey stuff on our palms. Is something like that going on here? Are the people Senator Frist will be speaking to "slimy"? Do they have slimy thoughts? Gather openly in buildings with slimy ornamentation and trappings? Raise their hands into the air, wave props gold-edged with slimy pages? Have slimy atavistic beliefs, propelling slimy opposition to the "what its opponents call partial-birth abortion" ritual? Slimy because Senator Frist is end running the oh-not-so-slimy-at-all Big-Dinosaur-Media, refusing to take any similar and recently tendered advice given the Catholic Church on what they must do to "modernize", ala Christine Amanpour et. al.? Surely they'd give him and his "extreme views" constituency a cool dry sans-slime display in their temples of truth, wouldn't they?

Outside the Beltway links to the Polipundit and gives us this quoted section:

"I must confess to being somewhat uncomfortable with the idea that this is a division of the religious v. the irreligious, as that isa false dichotomy. For one thing, the battle over the judiciaryis about far more than issues of faith (translation in this context:about the social conservative agenda) but is, at its core, about how the Constitution and the laws of the land are interpreted. Of course, I will grant that legal theory would make for a less sexy event than one predicated on a war against faith.
To over simplify, the degree to which faith is the issue, it is about the views of many of the faithful on abortion. Clearly, Senate Democrats have decided that if a nominee is Catholic or an evangelical, then that person is dangerous vis-à-vis abortion rights, and therefore the nominee must be stopped. On balance, this appears to be the common thread that ties most of these nominees together."

I suggest his discomfort is based on genuine substance; a perhaps just below conscious awareness but accurate perception of a clash indeed based on anti-religious sentiment. If the debate was akin to an Angels on the head of a pin quarrel, one would just chuckle. Or the sentiments of Boston vs. Manhattan chowders, raised to the pitchof the Whiskey Rebellion, we would also shake our heads in amusement. But discomfort, doesn't feel unease over the foolish or the ridiculous. If this fight were not fueled by their own "discomfort" with religious people and their religious based perspectives, how would the Democrats behave differently? The Democrats are caught in a cleft stick of their own cutting. Having cleaved to the" pro- " position these past 40 millions of "it's about who gets to choose" test cases, is it any wonder they find themselves opposed by people, the basis of whose opposition the Democrats dare not openly abuse? So they prevaricate, obstruct with non-sensical rhetoric, (as opposed to common sense speech), hurl ridiculous inflammatories, (ChuckSchumer on Judge William Pryor: "His beliefs are so well known, so deeply held that it’s very hard to believe very hard to believe that they’re not going to deeply influence the way he comes about saying, ‘I will follow the law.’) and so on.
I think the intensitiy of their invective reveals a deep unconscious understanding they are on the wrong side of an issue they must now cling to, having traded the Soul of the party for the whole world. (Would it be too sarcastic to suggest that of course the Democrats are against religion, because what are they for?)

I also think the relexive opposition to any position held by people with religious principles, faith, call it what you will, betrays a tacit belief on their part, that allegiance to the Constitutional principles of the country will take second string. Why would this possibly be so? The Constitution is every bit as sacred a document as Scripture, is it not? Render unto Ceasar, yes? I think it astonishing that, for example, the ACLU's mission to preserve Civil Rights, has devolved into a de facto war on Christianity. They are unable to comprehend intense religious sentiment does not automatically lead to "theocracy", "imposing their values on" and other such tripe. Furthermore, it astonishes me that in their zeal to defend one sacred document, they've deliberately set about abolishing all reference to any others. (With humorous exemptions, bound in twisted sophistry.) From the first of a three part Washington Times article, Religion Under a Secular Assault by writer Julia Duin, this knotted little piece of twine:

In 2003, the ACLU urged the National Park Service to remove plaques inscribed with Bible verses from three overlooks at the Grand Canyon but did not protest the names of park buttes -- Brahma Temple, Vishnu Temple, Shiva Temple, Osiris Temple and others -- commemorating Hindu and Egyptian deities. ACLU President Nadine Strossen says her group correctly ignored the rest. "Most people would not see those as religious, but as religious art," she says in an interview. "Would a reasonable observer see those as a government endorsement of religion? If it's such an exotic religion that most people wouldn't know what the symbol is?"

Oh, I get it. When more people know that Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are Hindu avatars, the ACLU will be there to protect our liberties. By abolishing any reference, image, symbol or display; making sure no one knows about them, because they won't be there to inflict harm. How much harm was done between the time the ACLU made a broader audience aware of the symbol in Duluth, MN, a Ten Commandments plaque installed to advertise the film some 30 years ago, and when they had it removed? What's the difference between not knowing what the symbol is, and those few people who do, versus those few people who knew the Ten Commandments were in Duluth, with most of the rest of the country, who did not? Either a religious symbol is an endorsement or it is not, unless no one knows? 'Splain this to me Lucy.

Erwin Chemerinsky digs deeper. Arguing for the removal of the Ten Commandments from grounds of the Texas Capitol in Austin he said:

"It's the most powerful and profound religious message that this court has ever considered on government property," Mr. Chemerinsky said. "Here you have a monument that proclaims not only there is a God, but God has dictated rules of behavior for those who follow him or her."

The justices appeared unimpressed. "I don't know whether that's any more profound or ultrareligious than the prayer the chaplain gives every day in the House," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said. Several justices noted the frieze overlooking the chamber depicting Moses with the two tablets upon which the Bible says God proclaimed His laws to the Israelites. But the frieze, Mr. Chemerinsky argued, includes 17 lawgivers besides Moses, and American society is too fragmented to agree on a single source of divine revelation. "Imagine the Muslim or the Buddhist who walks into the [Texas] State Supreme Court to have his or her case heard," he said. "That person will see this monument and realize it's not his or her government."

These arguements would be laughed out of court if lawyers had not built a wall of separation between the law and all common sense. I'd say the solution in Austin is to add a statue of the seated Gautama Buddha and some terrific Muslim tilework into the scene. That or an improvement in civics teaching in the public schools should do the job, although the former would be easier.

It will get uglier before the light breaks.

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