Archive for the 'Religion in Politics' category

Does anyone else see a contradiction here?

Apr 17 2009 Published by under Religion in Politics, Science and Politics

According to Matt Nisbet, the third ethical imperative when framing science is accuracy. Accuracy is important, he argues, because those who fail to accurately convey what's known about a subject risk losing the trust of their audience.

Also according to Matt Nisbet, a new Pew survey shows that Evangelicals are "little different from [the] rest of [the] public" when it comes to acceptance of manmade climate change. Evangelicals are 13% less likely to accept that humans are causing global warming as the population as a whole, no other group is less likely to accept manmade warming than they are, and the next lowest group is 5% more likely to accept what's happening than Evangelicals are. Evangelicals are also 10% more likely to believe that there's no warming taking place than the rest of the public, 9% more likely to believe that there's no warming than the next highest group, and there's no group where a larger percentage reject warming. Apparently, the phrase "little different" has a much broader meaning than I thought it did when it's used "accurately".

7 responses so far

Unable to Lead, but Unwilling to Follow, James Dobson Promises to Get Out of the Way.

It looks like there's definitely going to be a little bit of good political news for everyone tonight - a statement released by leading theocon James Dobson:

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7 responses so far

Richard Dawkins, Bill O'Reilly, and Christmas in the Public Square.

Dec 16 2007 Published by under Church/State, Religion, Religion in Politics

When Richard Dawkins and Bill O'Reilly are on the same side of an issue, it's a surprise. When it's an issue that involves religion in the public sphere, it's quite possibly a sign that the apocalypse is drawing nigh. Nevertheless, that seems to be the case at the moment.

Bill O'Reilly's views on the Christmas season are well known. He thinks that the phrase "happy holidays" was cooked up by "secular progressives" in an attempt to wage some kind of "war on Christmas", and that all good Americans should fight back by saying "Merry Christmas" as loudly as possible. Most recently, he's declared victory in the "war on Christmas" because the ACLU is apparently not suing anyone over the issue this year. The whole "war on Christmas" thing is completely asinine, but it's been part of Bills schtick for a few years now, so it's no longer a surprise when he says things like this:

Well, former Philadelphia Daily News editorial board member Carol Towarnicky saw that and went wild, writing, "To that, this secularist pleads guilty. No religion should be in the public square, not even when the overwhelming majority of citizens practice it."

Is that unbelievable? Joseph Stalin, Mao, and Fidel salute you, Carol. Yes, that's the ticket. Let's ban all religion expression from the public square. Let's drive it indoors so it won't pollute the atmosphere.

There's no place in American public life for any expression of spirituality. No, because that's offensive to the secular-progressive movement, a beacon of tolerance.

What is surprising is that Richard Dawkins seems to have a similar view on the whole "happy holidays" thing:

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13 responses so far

Religion and Freedom. Or: Why Freedom Requires Secularism.

Dec 07 2007 Published by under Religion, Religion in Politics

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated eleven years, four months, and one day before I was born, but I miss him. There are issues today where his voice is needed even more than it was needed in 1960. But Kennedy is dead and buried, but the issues of religion he had to confront are not. And his voice needs to be heard, because Kennedy was firm in his stand, he was eloquent in the way he expressed it, and he was right.

Yesterday, Mitt Romney gave a speech on religion that many have compared to Kennedy's. And it's not an entirely unreasonable comparison. Like Kennedy, Romney gave his address in response to difficulties that he faces because he is a member of a minority religion. Like Kennedy, Romney expressed is stand firmly. Like Kennedy, Romney was eloquent and well spoken. But he was wrong:

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16 responses so far

The Discovery Institute and the Gonzalez Tenure Issue: Why Should Intelligent Design be Privileged?

The Discovery Institute is currently making hay (again) over Iowa State's decision to deny tenure to Discovery Institute Fellow Guillermo Gonzalez. They've held a press conference and issued a press release claiming to have proof that Intelligent Design was "the" issue that resulted in Gonzalez not receiving tenure. I've read the release, and I'm unconvinced.

For starters, their release relies heavily on fragmentary quotes taken from emails that they obtained through an open records inquiry. Given the notorious track record of the entire anti-evolution movement when it comes to quoting scientists, I'm somewhat reluctant to accept the quotes provided at face value, particularly since the DI has not made the full text of the sources available for examination. Even if all of the quotes the DI uses do accurately capture the spirit of the full emails they are taken from (and does anyone want to offer me odds on that), I still don't think they've made their point. At most, they've demonstrated that Intelligent Design was a factor in the decision. Since people who were involved in making the decision have already said as much publicly, that's not exactly a shocking revelation.

But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Intelligent Design was the overriding factor in the tenure decision. Heck, let's assume that it was the only factor that came into play in the tenure process. Let's pretend, in short, that the Discovery Institute has actually provided overwhelming evidence to support their argument. Let's set aside the facts and evidence that the Discovery Institute's using to support their claims, and look instead at the truly strange nature of the claims themselves.

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60 responses so far

McCain: Just when you thought he couldn't go any further around the bend

Sep 30 2007 Published by under Church/State, Religion, Religion in Politics

It's hard to believe, but there was once a time when I had some respect - even admiration - for John McCain. Now, all I have is pity. The guy sold his soul to the Christian Right, but they haven't paid up. So what does he do? He tries to get them to take the last pitiful shreds of his intellectual integrity, too. He just did an interview with Beliefnet, and tried his best to make sure that he said all of the things that they wanted to hear. I just hope - more for his sake than anyone else's - that he doesn't actually believe them himself.

Beliefnet questions are in bold; McCain's drivel is not:

Has the candidates' personal faith become too big an issue in the presidential race?

...But I think the number one issue people should make [in the] selection of the President of the United States is, 'Will this person carry on in the Judeo Christian principled tradition that has made this nation the greatest experiment in the history of mankind?'"

OK. McCain is obviously trying to see how many trite phrases he can pack into a single answer, and given that he's talking to Beliefnet we probably shouldn't expect him to say that religion is too big an issue. But that was the fluff question. Let's see how he does with what passes for real questions:

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8 responses so far