Monday, October 15, 2012

Obey your betters, not that God guy

 
In the smugly provincial universe of America's intelligentsia, the only thing we have to fear is acting on that which you believe.

And Adam Gopnik . . . he's a-skeered!  Blogging on The New Yorker website  last week about GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, the writer freaked out a little -- OK, a lot -- over Ryan saying that a person's faith influences every aspect of life, both private and public.

That, apparently, is unacceptable. That, apparently, makes the committed believer a crazy-ass mullah . . . or ayatollah . . . or something else Really Bad.

Not to mention un-American.

Emoted Gopnik on the magazine's News Desk blog    
But beyond the [Expletive deleted. -- R21] something genuinely disturbing and scary got said last night by Paul Ryan that is, I think, easily missed and still worth brooding over. It came in response to a solemn and, it seemed to some of us, inappropriately phrased question about the influence of the Catholic Church on both men’s positions on abortion. Inappropriately phrased because legislation is made for everyone, not specially for those of “faith.” (And one would have thought that, at this moment in its history, the Catholic Church would not have much standing when it comes to defining the relationship between sexual behavior and doctrinal morality. However few in number the sinners might be, the failure to deal with them openly casts doubt on the integrity of the institution.)

Paul Ryan did not say, as John Kennedy had said before him, that faith was faith and public service, public service, each to be honored and kept separate from the other. No, he said instead “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do.” That’s a shocking answer—a mullah’s answer, what those scary Iranian “Ayatollahs” he kept referring to when talking about Iran would say as well. Ryan was rejecting secularism itself, casually insisting, as the Roman Catholic Andrew Sullivan put it, that “the usual necessary distinction between politics and religion, between state and church, cannot and should not exist.” And he went on to make it quietly plain that his principles are uncompromising on this, even if his boss’s policy may not seem so:
All I’m saying is, if you believe that life begins at conception, that, therefore, doesn’t change the definition of life. That’s a principle. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
Our system, unlike the Iranians’, is not meant to be so total: it depends on making many distinctions between private life, where we follow our conscience into our chapel, and our public life, where we seek to merge many different kinds of conscience in a common space. Our faith should not inform us in everything we do, or there would be no end to the religious warfare that our tolerant founders feared.
THE FIRST thing that comes to mind is that Gopnik ignores history -- that the United States thus far has avoided ayatollahocracy, despite the presence of millions of Americans for whom religion informs every aspect of life. Mental-health professionals would call this a raging case of projection -- and I'd submit that what Gopnik indeed is doing here is projecting his class' absolute intolerance for devout religious belief.

Oh, sure, religion is kind of quaint and perhaps can be grudgingly tolerated so long as it remains some sort of vague therapeutic creed that soothes the savage breast of the booboisie but isn't taken so seriously that it might affect someone's politics or endanger the societal acquiescence to the secular Holy Trinity of the Baby Boom -- sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. In political terms, this works out to something closer to free sex, free birth control and abortion on demand.


In the world of Adam Gopnik and the rest of our "betters," the only religion that's fit to hold is one that's no damned good at all -- a feckless creed in service of a powerless deity.


To quote a more politically correct scripture:

Verily, a decree went out from on high above midtown Manhattan, proclaiming that thou shalt have no god before us, for we are a jealous and culturally refined god, and thou shalt not taketh our holy orgasm in vain. If I say a fetus is a non-human bean, medammit, it is what I say, you mullah, you.
Yea, thou art white trash, and resistance doth prove futile. Tempt not thy god to go all Sodom and Gomorrah on thy ass. Not that anything going on in those fine cities was wrong in any respect and deserving of the nuclear option, of course.
THE NON-PATRIARCHAL Inclusive Equivalent of the Lord hath spoken.

Behold! All are equal. Some are more equal than others.

0 snappy rejoinders: