Friday, October 22, 2004

Losing My Religion

The Moose cautions those anti-Bushies who succumb to the allure of militant secularism.

The Moose has great respect for Ron Suskind. He is a brilliant journalist who has had more scoops than Ben and Jerry’s. Yet, the Moose is concerned about how Suskind’s piece in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine on Bush’s faith is being interpreted by some on the left.

In short, Suskind attributes President Bush’s ideological intransigence, arrogance, hubris, triumphalism and lack of self-reflection to the fact that he is a devoutly religious Christian with a born-again experience. The Moose suggests that it could also be due to the fact that the President is intransigent, arrogant, full of hubris, triumphant to the max and is not introspective. He is not a religious fundamentalist but rather a militant anti-empiricist.

Yes, some people who possess these qualities are religious. And some are secular. But neither the Moose nor does anyone else have a window into the President’s soul. Religion may actual temper these destructive qualities in the President. Or, the President may simply not be faithful to his faith.

The Moose fears, though, that by attributing the President’s arrogant intransigence to his religious faith may actually play into his hands. That is to say, many religious Americans identify with the President even more strongly when they sense that he is being attacked for his religious devotion. Many of these Americans even oppose his policies on the war and the economy while they deeply identify with him as a devout person.

The Moose was once a big shot with the Christian Coalition. He found that what most motivated the rank- in- file in the organization was the belief that they were the only group in America that it was fair game for the “elites” to stereotype and caricature. When lefties deride the President’s faith they alienate religious voters who increasingly populate the “exurbs” surrounding American cites.

Setting aside his personal indiscretions, President Clinton had it right in appreciating the power of faith – in his book he eloquently and movingly expressed his admiration for the Pentecostal community. The only two Democrats that have been elected President in the past 40 years were men of faith. And the civil rights, anti-war and farm worker movements were deeply linked to the church communities.

The Moose has the unique perspective of a Jew who has worked both for the United Farm Workers and the Christian Coalition. And he can attest that he attended more church services when he was in the employ of the UFW than when he toiled for the religious right!

Yes, we should oppose this President’s overweening arrogance and hubris. But, let’s keep religion out of it. As matter of fact, it wouldn’t hurt if we got some religion ourselves. If the President is re-elected, we may desperately need it!
-- Posted at 8:22 AM | Link to this post | Email this post