By J. DeVoy
In a recent interview, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels talked candidly about his Christian beliefs and values. Referring to Matthew 6: 1-6, Daniels describes his prayer and almsgiving as “private,” something done for himself and not for posturing before others. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his tolerance of other religions, or people who subscribe to no particular religion.
The true irony of Daniels’ interview comes when its interpreted in light of this statement:
To me, the core of the Christian faith is humility
This is hilarious, because the interview demonstrates anything but. Unfortunately, Daniels lacks the humility to shut the fuck up despite his ignorance.
First, Daniels has a simplistic view of American history for a governor:
Our country was founded -this is just an historic fact; some people today may resist this notion but it is absolutely true- it was founded by people of faith. It was founded on principles of faith. The whole idea of equality of men and women [and] of the races all springs from the notion that we’re all children of a just God. It is very important to at least my notion of what America’s about and should be about and I hope it’s reflected most of the time in the choices that we make personally.
The founding fathers did in fact believe in god in some form; they were deists. They did not, however, believe in recognizing a right to religion, but rather a right to be free of it, rising from the controversies caused by the Anglican church. Where, exactly, is Daniels getting this non-sequitur about the equality of men and women? At the time of America’s founding, women were property to be held by men at marriage, and voting was the province of the landed gentry. (Whether expanding the franchise was a good idea is a separate discussion.) And this notion of equality doesn’t spring forth from god, either. Though the New Testament makes strides toward men honoring women as spouses and equals within marriage, there is no clear, uncontroverted imperative for gender equality. To be fair to Christians, the Old Testament, containing the laws about who should be stoned for committing acts that seem trivial today, will be omitted from this discussion; it’s disingenuous for people to cite it and hold it against Christians who have abandoned the Old Testament in favor of the New, but keep it in their scriptures for historical context and foundation.
Why is this important to Daniels’ notion of what America’s about? In case he didn’t notice, America is basically Britain light, but with the common sense to actually write our constitution. The rights that Daniels believes were inspired by God existed for centuries and were first roughly defined in the magna carta. Inspired by people’s religious beliefs? Perhaps. Dictated by god? Not a chance in hell.
The ignorance accelerates, though.
And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists -Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth- because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.
“All” the horrific crimes? Are you sure about that, governor?
Surely nobody with a professed religious belief has committed any wrong over the last century.
What bothers me is the implications -which not all such folks have thought through- because really, if we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power.
It’s as if this man has seen the Matrix, the very superstructure of the universe itself, and ignored it! Life is all about power; Realpolitik is real and has been in full effect for as long as tribes, states and any groups of people have existed. What if there is no eternity? Was disadvantaging yourself during life really worth it, then? Unlikely.
Daniels’ concern over the recent proselytism of atheism i’s misguided. Athiests simply want to confront others with facts, new perspectives and foreign ideas. They aren’t forcing people happy with their beliefs to accept anything new – just challenging them to broaden their horizons and consider the previously imponderable. I am not surprised that someone who thinks abstinence-only sex education is a good thing finds this repugnant.
Everyone’s certainly entitled in our country to equal treatment regardless of their opinion.
Thanks, asshole. I didn’t even have to read the Constitution for that nugget. The problem is that the ignorant masses, unaware of what else exists, let alone what may be good or better for them (thus their ignorance), shout down naysayers and then smugly hide behind the declaration that “it’s a free country. Sure, everyone is “entitled to their opinion!” The problem is that most people are too stupid to appreciate that the opposition may have a point. Normally one can point and laugh at these people and their ignorance, but for such beliefs to be held by a governor – even if it’s just Indiana – is dangerous.