The "I hate religion" side of America
In an article that starts with a bang, and then just keeps getting better, Suzanne Fields takes on the increasing hostility to religion expressed in certain areas of America, and ends (correctly) by identifying school vouchers as an important civil rights issue. I urge you to read the whole thing, but I'll whet your appetite with some quotes:
The debate over freedom of religion has turned into a debate over freedom from religion. Religious men and women founded America, and for centuries, religious faith was considered by nearly everyone to be a key to good citizenship. The Founding Fathers would not allow religion to govern the state, but they appreciated the way religion governed the private lives of good citizens. *** In the 1960s, American identity was conspicuously tied up with religious faith, but as an impulse to do good rather than propagate dogma. The civil rights movement, midwifed by the black church, was borne on the wings of the religious rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist preacher. Rabbis and priests united behind his message. The idea prevailed that politics was separated from religion, but religion and politics nevertheless shaped American social values together, challenging licentiousness dangerous to the state and appealing to a higher ideal to make the country a better place for everyone. That's why it's particularly alarming that slurs and innuendo are used against religious people today. No matter how Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tries to wiggle out of the implications of his remark that the Republican Party is made up of "white Christians," he expected his remarks to inspire Democrats to contribute money to a party willing to shun white Christians, though it's odd that any politician would knock whites and Christians, who comprise the majority of voters. Ken Mehlman, the Republican national chairman, hit him where he hurt with his remark that if the Republicans are all white Christians, "a lot of folks who attended my bar mitzvah would be surprised."As I said, it's good, and worth reading in its entirety.