Bill Keller, managing editor of the New York Times, took a stand for sanity in an article concerning the importance of asking the current crop of GOP presidential candidates about their professed faith.
I do want to know if a candidate places fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon (the text, not the Broadway musical) or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country. It matters to me whether a president respects serious science and verifiable history â€” in short, belongs to what an official in a previous administration once scornfully described as â€œthe reality-based community.â€ I do care if religious doctrine becomes an excuse to exclude my fellow citizens from the rights and protections our country promises.
In another article he lists specific questions for each of them, including this one For Mitt Romney…
In your 2007 speech on religion, you said that â€œfreedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.â€ Where does that leave unbelievers, in your view?
That particular Romneyism still has me spitting mad, so I’m pleased to know someone else remembers it.
Count me among the secularists who regard creationists as simple-minded, superstitious lunatics. There will always be a few of these throwbacks in the mix, but it’s sad that the United States has so many of them. People who profess belief in things like Noah’s Ark and a 6,000 year old Universe can still get into fairly high places of power here. That’s one of the key reasons the US is losing momentum as a leader of the modern world. Science isn’t being taken seriously as something to be upheld. The problem is less a failure of our educational system, than of our culture. Americans learned to practice religious comity in order to reap the benefits of vitalizing immigration and cultural heterogeneity. That’s good, but it’s a mixed bag. Exploitative holy-rollers and hyper-partisan Dominionists have stepped into the gap. I’d prefer to insist that people grow up, undertake the effort of disciplined rational thinking, and accept that certain persistent myths about the origins of life on earth have been utterly discredited.
Kudos to Bill Keller for his willingness to say so.
As could be expected, “The ‘No Spin’ Zone” started spinning like crazy. Yes, O”Reilly actually allowed Bernie Goldberg finish a sentence in which he equated Creationism with ignorance. And both of them seemed truly uncomfortable with Michele Bachmann’s comment about submitting to her husband. After all (and to her credit), Sarah Palin would never say that.
But an inordinate time was spent criticizing Keller for not investigating Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright during the 2008 campaign. You never would have known it by listening to O’Reilly, but Keller’s article did indeed raise that issue. Fox, of course, is light on self investigation. The regulars there are much more eager to do the tough work of calling the kettle black.
O’Reilly seemed especially peeved by Keller’s reflection on his own spiritual evolution,
Every faith has its baggage, and every faith holds beliefs that will seem bizarre to outsiders. I grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ.
O’Reilly’s umbrage gets to the heart of truthiness. Must every faith-based belief be left unquestioned, simply because it is a deeply held insider belief? I once took it for granted that the Jews, and I among them, were God’s chosen people, and that the land of Israel was promised to us. One of the authors of the Bible offered a valuable insight about those kinds of beliefs.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.