Sunday, October 17

Fisking the Dowd

Maureen Dowd published the following column The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Vote and Be Damned: "
Published: October 17, 2004":

First Dick Cheney said that supporting John Kerry could lead to another terrorist attack.

This is not exactly what he said. He was pointing out that Kerry's mistaken opinions on the GWOT will make us more vulnerable. Among Kerry's erroneous opinions are the belief that (a) al-Qaeda is the only enemy and (b) We will never win in Iraq. Leaders who hold these opinions will make us more vulnerable. Of course we will want to return to the world-view wherein 9/11 was "just a nuisance".

Then Dennis Hastert said Al Qaeda would be more successful under a Kerry presidency than under President Bush.

Yeah. What is your point? It's probably true. So, you think we should vote for Bush then?

Now the Catholic bishops have upped the ante, indicating that voting for a candidate with Mr. Kerry's policies could lead to eternal damnation.

I'd lay good money on the bet that isn't what they said.

Conservative bishops and conservative Republicans are working hard to spread the gospel that anyone who supports the Catholic candidate and onetime Boston altar boy who carries a rosary and a Bible with him on the trail is aligned with the forces of evil.

Altar boy is not a theological qualification that holds very much water. "Was an altar boy" is not a real exclusive club. He "carries a bible". Is that why he misquotes it during debates?

In an interview with The Times's David Kirkpatrick, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said a knowing vote for a candidate like Mr. Kerry who supports abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research would be a sin that would have to be confessed before receiving communion. "If you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?" the archbishop asked. "Now, if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes."

Well put.

As Mr. Kirkpatrick and Laurie Goodstein wrote, Catholics make up about a quarter of the electorate, many concentrated in swing states. These bishops and like-minded Catholic groups are organizing voter registration and blanketing churches with voter guides that often ignore traditional Catholic concerns about the death penalty and war - the pope opposed the invasion of Iraq - while calling abortion, gay marriage and the stem cell debate "nonnegotiable."

Uhm, there are actually Catholic doctrines on "just war". The pope is now in support of the reconstruction. Death penalty is opposed by the Catholic church currently, but there have been both long periods where this is not the case and are cases in which the Catholic Church admits that the death penalty is warranted. However, they firmly state that abortion is not at the same level of concern for them.

"Never before have so many bishops so explicitly warned Catholics so close to an election that to vote a certain way was to commit a sin," the Times article said.

Uhm, Bravo!

Once upon a time, with Al Smith and John Kennedy, the church was proud to see Catholics run for president. The church was as unobtrusive in 1960, trying to help J.F.K., as it is obtrusive now, trying to hurt J.F.K. II.

So your point is that a Catholic in name only like Kerry doesn't make the church proud. Duh.

The conservative bishops, salivating to overturn Roe v. Wade, prefer an evangelical antiabortion president to one of their own who said in Wednesday's debate: "What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith. I believe that choice ... is between a woman, God and her doctor."

Ok, you seem surprised that Catholics would prefer a person who shares their beliefs to one who doesn't, but likes to use their name as camouflage.

Like Mr. Bush, these patriarchal bishops want to turn back the clock to the 50's. They don't want separation of church and state - except in Iraq.

You need to read the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Get a clue, or read this. The separation of Church and State prohibits the establishment of a state religion. You are following the athiest party line that feels church vs state is a reciprocal transaction. There is no restriction on the Church's activities in the Constitution!

Some of the bishops - the shepherds of a church whose hierarchy bungled the molestation and rape of so many young boys by tolerating it, covering it up, enabling it, excusing it and paying hush money - are still debating whether John Kerry should be allowed to receive communion.

Hmm. Since some leaders of the Catholic church are sinners, they should get out of the morality business altogether? That's like saying because some democrats are corrupt, the democrats should all get out of politics. While that might be good for the nation, I don't think you would espouse it.

These bishops are embryo-centric; they are not as concerned with the 1,080 kids killed in a war that the Bush administration launched with lies, or about the lives that could be lost thanks to the president's letting the assault weapons ban lapse, or about all the lives that could be saved and improved with stem cell research.

First of all, they aren't "kids", we call them soldiers or warriors. Second, 1080 is a damn small number for 300,000 troops in the field for 18 months. Considering all they've accomplished, I should think, our military has made us damn proud. To bad you're rooting for the other side. Furthermore, I guess the 1,000,000 slain embryos don't matter a rat's ass to you. As for stem cells, clue in. There is not restriction on stem cell research, and hasn't been. There is a restriction on federal funding for stem cell research. This is not the same thing.

Mr. Bush derives his immutability from his faith. "I believe that God wants everybody to be free," he said in the last debate, adding that this was "part of my foreign policy."

Bush gets his immutablity from his faith. And what, Kerry derives his flip-floppiness from his un-belief? "I believe that God wants everybody to be free". And what, Maureen Dowd thinks some people should be slaves and others rich like her? Why the hell do you take issue with that statement?

In today's Times Magazine, Ron Suskind writes that Mr. Bush has created a "faith-based presidency" that has riven the Republican Party.

Doesn't make it true.

Bruce Bartlett, a domestic policy adviser to Ronald Reagan and a Treasury official for the first President Bush, told Mr. Suskind that some people now look at Mr. Bush and see "this instinct he's always talking about is this sort of weird, Messianic idea of what he thinks God has told him to do." He continued: "This is why George W. Bush is so clear-eyed about Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy. He believes you have to kill them all. They can't be persuaded, that they're extremists, driven by a dark vision. He understands them, because he's just like them."

"weird, Messianic idea of that he thinks God has told him to do" and "He believes you have to kill them all". That is why he says (and you quote above!), "God wants everyone to be free". On what planet to you come from where "wanting to be free" and "seeking the light of freedom" is a dark Messianic idea. You're must be one of those wackos who's brain turns off whenever someone says the word "God". If you want to see some initial reactions to Bartlett's piece, go here.

The president's certitude - the idea that he can see into people's souls and that God tells him what is right, then W. tells us if he feels like it - is disturbing. It equates disagreeing with him to disagreeing with Him.

You're just making this up, right?

The conservative bishops' certitude - the idea that you can't be a good Catholic if you diverge from certain church-decreed mandates or if you want to keep your religion and politics separate - is also disturbing.

That's the funny thing about churches. If you don't believe a core set of beliefs, then "you're not one them" isn't "disturbing", it's exactly what a church is. Clue in. Kerry's desire to keep his religion and politics separate is what is disturbing. See my take on that here and here.

America is awash in selective piety, situational moralists and cherry-picking absolutists.

Err, no. America is awash in goofballs like you who can't figure that if a Christian doesn't believe exactly the way you do he must be inconsistent? Like your brand secular humanism is not awash in it's own particular brand of problems. Hah! Surely you jest.