Drooling on the Pillow

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What About People of Law? 

Richard Cohen enters the hall of mirrors today in his column for the Washington Post.

And says hello to Sluggo. I blogged recently about my concern about the decision of Bill Frist to participate in a telecast attacking Democrats for opposing judicial nominees who are "people of faith". The way I see it, it's clear that there are right-wing Christians and left-wing Christians. Neither will be happy about the nomination of the other brand, but the issue of Democratic obstructionism of judicial nominations is a constitutional one without an inherent religious component.

In other words, in a (gak) Hillary Clinton administration, will the Christian right sit quietly for the nomination of a practicing Christian who favors abortion-on-demand? It doesn't do to simply declare the nominee not a "real" Christian. That game favors neither side from a legal point of view. My feeling is that Frist's job, regardless of his personal feelings, is to protect the president's right to get a vote on his nominees and leave the religious wars to their proper forum: Blogs. Kidding, a little.

What Cohen gets right is the fact that the phrase "people of faith" as used by the organizers of the telecast is as empty of substance as the phrase "people of color".

What he gets wrong is his assumption that the Christian right's definition of "people of faith" is narrow, exclusive and prejudiced.
I don't think a gay Presbyterian would be considered a
person of faith, no matter how devout, nor, for that
matter, a pro-choice Methodist -- say, someone such as
Hillary Clinton. The category would certainly not include
a Baptist such as Husband Bill or a Jew such as Chuck
Schumer or, I venture to say, an Episcopalian such as
John McCain, whose faith sustained him in a Vietnamese
prison. As for a Roman Catholic such as Ted Kennedy,
whose faith informs his liberalism, take it on faith that
he would not be considered a person of faith.
As opposed to the liberal view of the Christian right. He doesn't quite say that Ralph Reed would like to burn these people, but he's quite clear that conservative Christians are incapable of adhering to the First Amendment, establishment or free exercise.

I'm a person without faith myself, but I have been around these creatures all my life and I can tell you that born-agains, charismatics and fundamentalists, if you can characterize them at all, are commonly interested in and respectful of all faiths; Jews, Muslims and even non-monotheists such as Hindus.

By tarring a large swathe of Americans with the brush of a tiny minority of zealots Cohen simply lends credence to the charges of the telecast. So we have two camps accusing each other of bad faith and as near as I can see, they're both right.

Which is why Frist should stay far away.
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