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"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

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Can’t Be Quiet, Even On Easter

Posted by: John Schroeder at 09:49 am, April 7th 2012     —    1 Comment »

I was hoping for a peaceful  and quiet Easter weekend – even the rather stubborn Rick Santorum decided to take the holiday.  But not the press.

Here’s part of the blurb for tomorrow’s Face the Nation:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, the second largest diocese in the country, joins us to talk about the state of religion in America and the role of Religion in Politics in Campaign 2012. As the leader of the opposition to the White House’s contraception coverage plan in religious schools, Catholic hospitals and organizations, the Cardinal weighs in on where the Church stands on the issue today, and what he thinks of the Government’s intervention in the practices of the Catholic Church and other religious institutions. I also talk a little politics with the Cardinal, does he think Catholics could support a Mormon for President?

Then, we’ll have a religion roundtable with Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Rabbi David Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, recently named the top Rabbi in America by Newsweek and The Daily Beast, Rev. Luis Cortes of Esperanza USA, the nation’s largest evangelical Hispanic network plus the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn and Andrew Sullivan of Newsweek and The Dish. Andrew Sullivan just wrote a fascinating cover story for Newsweek on “Christianity in Crisis,” I’ll ask him about it. We’ll talk more about the contraception controversy, Rick Santorum’s take on JFK’s famous speech on the separation of church and state, plus a whole lot more.

I don’t know, I suppose that is a Sunday Show version of recognizing it is Easter – but let me ask you a question.  If the topic is separation of church and state then don’t you think the question that should least be asked is, “does he think Catholics could support a Mormon for President?“  I mean please.

But frankly, that’s not what upsets me, what upsets me is the inclusion of Andrew Sullivan as a spokesman for religion.  We have been purposefully ignoring the Newsweek piece referenced because Sullivan has nothing useful to say on the topic.  Here are the opening two paragraphs of Sullivan’s piece:

If you go to the second floor of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., you’ll find a small room containing an 18th-century Bible whose pages are full of holes. They are carefully razor-cut empty spaces, so this was not an act of vandalism. It was, rather, a project begun by Thomas Jefferson when he was 77 years old. Painstakingly removing those passages he thought reflected the actual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, Jefferson literally cut and pasted them into a slimmer, different New Testament, and left behind the remnants (all on display until July 15). What did he edit out? He told us: “We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus.” He removed what he felt were the “misconceptions” of Jesus’ followers, “expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves.” And it wasn’t hard for him. He described the difference between the real Jesus and the evangelists’ embellishments as “diamonds” in a “dunghill,” glittering as “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.” Yes, he was calling vast parts of the Bible religious manure.

When we think of Jefferson as the great architect of the separation of church and state, this, perhaps, was what he meant by “church”: the purest, simplest, apolitical Christianity, purged of the agendas of those who had sought to use Jesus to advance their own power decades and centuries after Jesus’ death. If Jefferson’s greatest political legacy was the Declaration of Independence, this pure, precious moral teaching was his religious legacy. “I am a real Christian,” Jefferson insisted against the fundamentalists and clerics of his time. “That is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”

Whoa – so we want to purge religion of agenda do we?  Longtime readers of this blog will know that we named Sullivan one of the “bad guys of last cycle.  We said:

Apparently shaping his entire life around that fact that he is gay, Sullivan simply despises religious people in general (unless they unquestioningly accept homosexual practices), but saves a special animus, even before Prop 8, for Mormons, and for Mitt Romney in particular.

In his effort to “separate church and state” Sullivan has been driven by a single and obvious agenda.  How dare he decry institutional religion for pursuing its own agenda?!  This is past irony – it is hypocritical.

My conclusion?  Well, the Sunday Shows started as public affairs broadcasting – they were put on at the time when the fewest people watched television because the FCC demanded a certain amount of public affairs content and since the show would not make money, they ran them at a time they could not make money anyway.  Well, they do not HAVE to run the shows anymore – So if they want to recognize that it is Easter, how about they go dark?


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