The role of religion in public life. This was something that Clinton seemed to appreciate and understand. He did not hesitate to draw upon the rich tradition of religious imagery and allusion in American political life (see Jefferson's "Nature's God" in the Declaration, Lincoln's Second Inaugural, FDR's D-Day prayer), and so to implicitly endorse the rightful role of individual faith-based conscience in public dialogue and decisionmaking. It is an acceptance that I don't see the Democrats at large as sharing. From the overwrought horror and ridiculous predictions of theocracy every time George W. Bush mentions God, to the denial of the public legitimacy of religious conviction when it comes to abortion politics (though not, tellingly, when it comes to death penalty politics), it's pretty clear that if your politics are informed by your faith, you're going to have a hard time as a Democrat. (The counterexamples that spring to mind -- the mushy "mainline" Protestants, Jewish lefties, Baptists in Dixie -- don't strike me as anything more than local forces in the national party.) This isn't a choice Americans who wish to engage in public life should be forced to make.He said better what I said here.
Monday, May 19, 2003
Go, Tacitus! I especially like this:
Posted by Thomas H. Crown at 2:41 PM