Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wrong Question!

This is not likely to happen again, but this one time I happen to agree with Scott Walker. Apparently Dan Balz and Robert Costa thought it was appropriate to ask him whether or not he thinks President Obama is a Christian. I suspect Walker was lying when he said he didn't know because he'd never read anything about that. But he went on to challenge the reporters for asking the question in the first place.
Walker said such questions from reporters are reflective of a broader problem in the nation’s political-media culture, which he described as fixated on issues that are not relevant to most Americans.

“To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”
He's right. But I'd take it a step or two farther than Walker did. Its a "gotcha" question designed to stir up hysteria on both sides. And it worked.

As I've written about before, President Obama has been very open in talking about his Christian faith. That's his choice. But Christian fundamentalists have injected into our political discourse this notion that its appropriate to judge people based on their definition of what it means to be a Christian. That goes against what Jesus taught about judging others - which would lead us to leave it up to the individual to define whether or not they call themselves "Christian."

Balz and Costa bought into the notion that its appropriate to judge someone else by asking Walker to comment on the President's faith. WRONG!!!!

This kind of questioning also subtly reinforces the idea that only Christians are allowed to be President of the United States. Supporters of President Obama suddenly feel the need to defend the fact that he is a Christian because the implication is that something would be wrong if he were not. It feels a lot like the need to defend people who are accused of being gay. To state the truth in those situations (i.e., "I am a Christian" or "I am heterosexual") comes off sounding defensive - as if there was something wrong with being non-Christian or gay.

And so this morning John Favreau nailed it on twitter by reminding us of what Colin Powell said about all this nonsense back in 2008.

4 comments:

  1. I think you are being to kind to Walker. His comment was more of a shield to protect himself from being accused of Giulianiaism while he uses it to introduce many of the same ideas that Giuliani did.

    It's like saying, "It would be wrong to accuse my opponent of being a pig fucker. It would be wrong for you to ask me questions about my opponent being a pig fucker. Why are you so irresponsible that you keep asking questions about whether my opponent is or is not a pig fucker?"

    The take away: people should be asking if his opponent is a pig fucker but don't you dare accuse him of making such an outlandish accusation.

    This just proves that Walker is more clever (and thus more dangerous) than Giuliani.

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    1. My point is that the question should never have been asked in the first place. This is exactly how the media stirs up hysteria. WaPo is getting MASSIVE clicks to that article today. Talk about link bait!!!!

      But yeah, when they are craven enough to keep doing this, see Colin Powell's response.

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    2. I totally agree that the question shouldn't be asked in the first place and second your praise of Powell's response. I just think you were being to generous in suggesting that Walker's response was motivated by the same desire to elevate the dialog.

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  2. Thank you, Nancy - this needs to be outed. Back in the 50s, surely one of the ugliest periods of our history, the RW anti-communist faux Christian forces legitimated the forbidden religious test. We've been largely unable to shake it off since, even through the supposed cultural changes of the 60s and 70s. Reagan hitched his wagon right back on that group, and it's gained more power to demand religious conformity ever since. What it also has done is split the secular progressives from faith progressives because the Left has permitted the definition of faith to be set by the Right. So off we go into another round of fighting religious supremacy, this time with a divided opposition. It's absurd that where we once had very little interest in a president's religion, now even reporters drive the requirement that we ignore the Constitution and demand conformity. It's disgusting and needs to end.

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