When Christians are Ignorant . . .

28 09 2006

Filed under: Worldview, Liberalism, Humanism, Christian

. . . This happens: Randall Balmer, author of Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America, An Evangelical’s Lament, and professor at Barnard College, lashes out at Christians at conservative Christians. In an interview with World Magazine, we discover that some of his “darts” are on target, but most are as liberal as they come and the result of a severe case of the disease that has infected many called Humanism.

WORLD: You write that “on judicial matters, the religious right demands appointees who would diminish individual rights to privacy with regard to abortion.” Is there a right to abortion in the Constitution? If so, where is it found?

BALMER: The judicial precedent cited in the Roe decision was the 1965 Griswold ruling, which ensured a right to privacy. I’ll let the judicial scholars (which I am not) sort out whether or not privacy is warranted by the Constitution.

I have little regard for the so-called “originalist” scheme of constitutional interpretation propagated by Antonin Scalia and others. Originalism is a mechanistic approach that limits the protections of the Constitution to the supposed “original intent” of its framers.

The silliness of originalism becomes apparent, however, when you apply it to the second clause of the First Amendment: freedom of the press. Hewing to the absurd logic of the originalists, magazine editors, radio commentators, documentary filmmakers and television journalists are excluded from constitutional protections because the only “press” the founders knew was the newspaper.

I view the Constitution as a living, breathing, organic document, not one to be approached mechanistically. The originalists are disingenuous and, frankly, intellectually lazy.

This is nothing more than a pathetic, trivial arguement that means nothing. It is an attack on the intellect of a great justice, many great Americans, and our Founding Fathers with only a mere opinion, which he is certainly entightled to, but I would expect a bit more brains and less crap-spewing from a Christian college professor.

You must be looking for ways to inject humanism and liberalism into society if you can’t see the difference in the transcendance of the word, “press” as compared to “right of privacy.” The word press does appear in the Constitution. The word abortion does not. Therefore, judicial activism is the only way to extend privacy to abortion, thereby “creating law.” With the word “press”, it can extend to new forms of media as technology improves without creating “new law” that is not in the Constitution.

Our Constitution is not and cannot be a living document. No, Mr. Balmer, you have bought a truck load full of liberalese. If the “originalists are disingenuous and, frankly, intellectually lazy”, the “breathingists” are humanists trying to emulate a Nazi-socialist state into a free enterprise, republic. Impossible.

WORLD: You complain that “the torture of human beings, God’s creatures—some guilty of crimes, others not—has been justified by the Bush administration. . . . The use of torture under any circumstances is a moral issue.”

BALMER: In the course of writing Thy Kingdom Come, I contacted eight religious right organizations with a simple, straightforward request to send me a copy of their group’s position on the use of torture. Only two organizations replied, and both of them defended the Bush administration’s policies on torture. None of the others, to my knowledge, has even yet condemned torture.

That’s morally bankrupt. These are people who claim to be pro-life, who profess to hear a “fetal scream,” yet they turn a deaf ear to the very real screams of human beings who are being tortured in our name.

Wow. Compare stabbing a hole in the base of the skull of a newborn and sucking out its brains to playing loud music in a cold room and profess that these are equally immoral sins? I’d say you qualify as a humanist because these two are not on the same playing field, much less in the same league.

Mr. Balmer probably is sueing Jack Bauer for what he did to the Chinese embassy in last season’s 24.

WORLD: You attack the Bush administration’s “expansion of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.” But if it could be shown that wealthy Americans now pay a higher percentage of income tax revenues than they did before the tax cuts, and that those tax cuts have been good for the American economy and thus good for the poor, would you still oppose those tax cuts, and why?

BALMER: You’re imposing a pretty high standard of proof—namely, that tax cuts for the affluent have, or someday will, jump-start the economy. Much of the evidence suggests otherwise.

No impartial observer would dispute that Republicans favor economic policies disproportionately advantageous to the wealthiest Americans.

Mr. Balmer, what country are you living in? What evidence do you have? Your follow up sentence about policies favoring the wealthy is, again, spewing liberal crap that you have no proof of. The wealthy receiving more money back than the poor is not proof, as you imply.

It’s common knowledge that the top 10% of income earners pay approximately 80% of taxes. So yeah, when there are tax cuts, the wealthy get a bigger check. But that is because they . . . say it slowly now . . . P-A-I-D M-O-R-E I-N. Now you are getting it. Very good class.

WORLD: Regarding the battle against poverty, you write that “we could have a lively discussion and even vigorous disagreement over whether it is incumbent upon the government to provide services to the poor, but those who argue against such measures should be prepared with some alternative program or apparatus.” What do you think of the alternative programs that have been proposed under the aegis of compassionate conservatism?

BALMER: If religious organizations want to use the benefit of their tax-exempt status to take over the functions of government in assisting the poor, I have no objection. In so doing, they would be reclaiming the role they played in American society until the 1930s, when the social ills of the Great Depression became so overwhelming that the government had to step in. The churches simply could no longer handle a challenge of that magnitude.

If churches propose some kind of apparatus to reclaim that role from the government, I’m all for it.

Finally, we come to a point of agreement. I think that the church has dropped the ball on helping the poor. While we should use discretion on who truly needs help and who is lazy, there is much room for improvement on the church’s role in aiding the poor who, as Jesus said, “will always be among us.”

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