1 September 2004

Excellent religion coverage

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times does excellent religion and
culture coverage for the paper, and his stories from the convention
have been well-done and possess an insight into the interaction of
evangelical Christianity and Republiucan politics.  According to yesterday’s edition of the interview show Fresh Air,
he used to be the publishing industry reporter for the Times, and
noticing the trend in “Christian” publishing, he became interested in
their larger culture.

A couple of gems from the story in today’s paper.  In discussing a film that lauds Bush’s faith in office, Kirkpatrick noted:

A recurring theme of the film is that Mr. Bush’s opponents dislike him
mainly because of his forthright faith. “The notion that our leaders
should have God in their life has suddenly become threatening,” a
narrator says.

I oppose Bush.  I don’t oppose him because of the forthrightness
of his faith, but because of what I perceive as his assumption that all
of us share that faith, that we should accept his faith as the sole
justification for public policy, of the hubris that masks as
faith.  I’m ready to discuss faith in the public sphere with
anyone, but I don’t appreciate my president telling me what my faith
demands of me, what it doesn’t demand of me, and how all one needs to
justify an opinion or policy is an appeal to faith.

Mr. Reed also addressed the crowd, recalling Mr. Bush’s response to a
question about his favorite philosopher during the 2000 Republican
primary. “The President said, ‘Jesus Christ,’ ” Mr. Reed recalled. And
amid rousing applause, he repeated Mr. Bush’s distinctively evangelical
follow-up: “The president said, as only he can say, ‘If I have to
explain it to you, then you don’t understand it.’ ”

But he has to explain it to those of us who are not of the same brand
of faith.  How can a Jew, a Catholic, or a Muslim understand
that?  I have to explain evangelical culture and faith to my
family (i.e., BF) and friends all the time, because they don’t
understand it, not having the lived experience of it.  And we need
to expect our public leaders, if they plan to make these appeals to
their faith, to be able to explain that faith adequately in public.

To their credit, evangelicals have focused on the violence against
Christians in Sudan, human slavery and trafficking, and the Middle East
Israel-Palestine conflict.  And there should be more focus on each
of these issues.  I only wish that these Christians would focus on
these issues when they don’t directly affect their interests.  How
about when Muslims are persecuted and killed for their beliefs, as in
India of late?  And is there an interest in Israel beyond the
hoped-for peace in the Holy Land that will purportedly bring about
Christ’s return?  If there is, it’s not clear, and it’s not clear
how their beliefs on these political issues spring from broad faith
rather than narrow group-interest.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.