Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hitchens on Harriet

If there's one thing we here at the G-Brand Dude Ranch and Dance Emporium appreciate, it's good snark. Therefore we were very happy that our old friend Scott passed along this link to a piece by the porcine, besotted and otherwise useless Christopher Hitchens. Yes, yes, we realize Hitchens is still, against all reason, defending the bloody American abusement park BushCo has set up in Iraq, but when it comes to his bashing the pious, the sanctimonious, the... well, actually, pretty much anyone that expresses any sort of religious conviction whatsoever, he is perhaps in a league of his own. And when that happens, all we ask is for a ringside seat and a couple of tall ones.

Hitchens' ire in this case is raised by the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet "Plame Protection" Miers, and the role her religion (and, by extension, every nominee's religion) plays in the nominating process. Here's an excerpt:

Of the nomination of Harriet Miers... it can be said that only her religion has been considered by her conservative fans to be worth mentioning. What else is there to say, in any case, about a middling bureaucrat and yes-woman than that she attends some mediocre place of worship? One could happily make a case that more random civilians, and fewer fucking lawyers, should be on the court. But the only other thing to say about Miers is that she is a fucking lawyer. Her own opinion of herself is somewhat higher: She does not attribute her presence among us to the laws of biology but chooses to regard herself as having a personal and unmediated relationship with the alleged Jesus of Nazareth, who is further alleged to be the son of God. Such modesty! On this basis, the president and his people have felt able to issue assurances of her OK-ness. So, as far as I can determine, she was set, and has passed, a religious test: that of being an "Evangelical" Christian.

The cowardice of the Democrats in this respect is absolutely breathtaking. Having determined that they, too, must move to faith-based high ground (and having chosen a Mormon as their Senate leader), they have refused to make the smallest squeak about this overt theocratic blackmail. Having swallowed [John] Roberts by agreeing that religion should have nothing to do with it, they will swallow Miers even though it now seems that religion has everything to do with it. The worst they will say is that she might be unsound on Roe v. Wade and that she might be insufficiently qualified. Even the incensed right wing has been more principled than that (though the line of the week award must go to Terry Eastland in the Weekly Standard, who solemnly says that "Several friends of Miers told me, on background, that she is pro-life and defines marriage in traditional terms." On background …)

In the very near future, the court is certain to hear arguments about whether the state or the states should determine who decides who carries a baby to full term and about whether the state or the states should take a position on evolution versus the argument from design. (I am sorry, but I flatly refuse to play the silly current game of prefixing the word "design" with the word "intelligent.") There is simply no point in asking an active member of the Valley View Christian Church of North Dallas what she "thinks" about abortion or creationism, because, although the Bible often recommends actual infanticide—and is thus open to "interpretation"—this congregation's view of Roe v. Wade is well-known and also because the Valley View Christian Church of North Dallas has allowed itself the discovery that the Bible is "the only infallible, inspired, authoritative Word of God." (You have to love that broad-minded "only." As if there were some rival claimant for that distinction that had been weighed in the balance in North Dallas and found wanting.)

Either Miers takes her faith seriously, in which case it must be her life's mission to redeem those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior, or she does not, in which case she is a vapid and posturing hypocrite. And either she is nominated in order to gratify a political constituency, whose leaders such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family seem to have had advance notice, or she is not, in which case the president could see no further than his own kitchen Cabinet in searching for merit. So, the whole exercise is a disgusting insult.

Don't soft-pedal it, Chris, how do you really feel?
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