By Jon Winsor
Questions about Dominionism and national politics are now moving out of the muckraking exposés and the religion pages and into elite journalism. Yesterday, NPR’s Fresh Air devoted most of its air time to journalist Rachel Tabachnick on the topic of Dominionism. Now, NY Times Chief Editor Bill Keller is going there as well:
This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life — and to get over them. We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons, a faith that many conservative Christians have been taught is a “cult” and that many others think is just weird. (Huntsman says he is not “overly religious.”) Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum are all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity, which has raised concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction.
I honestly don’t care if Mitt Romney wears Mormon undergarments beneath his Gap skinny jeans, or if he believes that the stories of ancient American prophets were engraved on gold tablets and buried in upstate New York… 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…
In the last presidential campaign, Candidate Obama was pressed to distance himself from his pastor, who carried racial bitterness to extremes… I don’t see why Perry and Bachmann should be exempt from similar questioning…
To get things rolling, I sent the aforementioned candidates a little questionnaire.
By Jon Winsor
A theme we’ve been exploring at the Intersection is the Republican tendency to reject or disregard expertise, particularly scientific expertise, and also settled facts among experts on US history.
National Journal recently had an interesting and unsettling article on GOP freshmen in congress and their attitudes toward what experts have been telling them about the debt ceiling:
“This is probably the most whip-proof Congress we’ve seen in our lifetime,” said Mike Franc, a former aide to then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, who is vice president of government studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “They don’t defer to credentials and expertise very easily. You have to earn it big time with them. Whipping almost by its nature requires a certain amount of trust and deference that someone really knows what they’re doing and is part of a team, and in that way you’re dealing with a different kind of Republican Party.”
…[T]roubling to anyone fearing a U.S. default is the growing chorus of Republican lawmakers and leaders who openly and defiantly question whether the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling needs to be raised at all. Read More
by Jon Winsor
Earlier we wrote about Sarah Palin’s populist revision of Paul Revere’s ride, and about historians who were troubled by the tea party’s creative history writing. Here’s another one: Michelle Bachmann claims that “the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence worked tirelessly to end slavery.” How could this be when four of the first five presidents owned slaves?
John Quincy Adams is not too credible a founding father, considering he was only eight years old in 1776. But that didn’t stop a Bachmann supporter from backdating J. Q. Adams’ credentials as a founder on Wikipedia, or radio host Mark Levin from taking up her cause. (Somehow, for Levin, while Washington owned over 200 slaves, he “worked tirelessly to end slavery?”)