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September 22, 2003

Against Dean of the bobos?

This NRO article is a good illustration of my point that means of organization and identification originating in the Left have now bled to the Right. I think it can be said that Howard Dean is not a big fan of Christian fundamentalists-but is he a bigot? The author even hints that Dean is anti-black through syllogistic means[1]. Just like "racist" or "racism" the term "bigot" has lost all meaning (as did "fascist" decades ago). The author does make a good point, that much of the journalistic elite is out of touch with conservative Christians, but then again, many conservative Christians I have known personally tend to have less than flattering views of people that live in the porn belt or individuals who espouse a sensibility generally considered affinal to the reductio ad absurdum of free speech that is hard-core pornography. True, if the secular Left would make less of a fuss when politicians expressed evangelical religious devotion, then they would be less open to charges of hypocrisy. On the other hand, Dean, as a Congregationalist married to a Jew, is making his own religious statement by taking a stand against the evangelical Protestant subculture which has nurtured G.W. Bush (he of Episcopalian birth, Methodist confession and occasional Jews are going to Hell [this includes Howard Dean's wife & children] musings) and asserting the validity of the religious liberalism that characterizes his home state. What we have is an angry clash of American cultures-not American bigotries-whatever the latter may mean.

fn1. A) Dean dislikes fundamentalists B) Blacks are fundamentalists...ergo....

Posted by razib at 04:39 PM




I must say razib i don't agree. I think the authors point was that Dean is a "bigot" not a racist in the same way as say the Klux Klan in the 1920's was bigoted against Catholics or the Free Presbyterians are today. In other words he doesn't just disagree with Funademantilists religious views or the politics they tend to support but is actually prejudiced against them "fundamentialist preachers" not "right-wing Republican fundamentalist preachers"(compare "Zuionist Orthodox Rabbis" and "Orthodox Rabbis". Moreover he is actually making speeches when an attack on the adherents (or at least the preachers) of such a religious view is made without any attack on their political views-it's purely criticism of someone because Dean doesn't like their religion.

Now Razib I agree with you that prejudice on the basis of religon is not the same as racial prejudice because it's a choice ultimately. However if you are against prejdice agianst nicals pruely because of their personal religous beliefs, Dean is over the line. Moroever i THINK it is probablly bad if a would be presidenbt openly attacks the sincere adherents of a religous persuaion which include about 1/3 the coutnry. iN the same way a man running for Presidents should not attack Catholciis mand Catholics the way Dean has funadmtialsit-and Cathollcsm has worst record of religous freedom than Protestant Fundamentialis.

Ththe article is right insofar as it's no diferent from anti-Catholic prejudice. I don't think it really claims any more. If you say people shoudh't have critix Kenneday pruely because of his religon by itslef (not any poltical views associated) that Dean is in the wrong

Posted by: tom at September 23, 2003 07:29 AM


tom-

there is a double standard when it comes to catholicism. on the other hand, NR claims that many democratics are anti-catholic. i think john aschcroft had a point when he noted to tim leahy that the latter's religion (catholicism) does not allow female clergy, but his own does.

that being said:
"In other words he doesn't just disagree with Funademantilists religious views or the politics they tend to support but is actually prejudiced against them "fundamentialist preachers" not "right-wing Republican fundamentalist preachers"

yes, all those liberal fundamentalist preacheres! yes, there are liberal fundamentalists (which is a stricter term than evangelical)-but they are not common. conservatives commonly attack the mainline christian churches for caving in on social issues-but there are conservative mainline churches-that doesn't negate that there is a general rule.

However if you are against prejdice agianst nicals pruely because of their personal religous beliefs, Dean is over the line.

this is a complicated assertion-since when is religion just personal? just like black churches, many conservative protestant churches have become political vehicles and many ministers have become politicized (my brother went to a baptist church with a friend in 1992 where the sermon talked about the "sinfullness" of bill clinton).

frankly, i think it's OK to attack any religion if you want to-some of them are weird, some of them are innocuous, some of they are irrelevant. that being said-it's stupid for dean to provide sound-bites for the general election as bush will use them in commercials in the south next fall.

Posted by: razib at September 23, 2003 12:26 PM


"G.W. Bush (he of Episcopalian birth, Methodist confession and occasional "Jews are going to Hell"...."

You know, that's a great example of misuse of quotation marks as far as I can tell. When I go to your link looking for the Bush quote Razib its in the first paragraph -unattributed. Read a bit farther down and here's the actual quote from the article in its entirety:

"Bush told a Houston Post reporter that--as the reporter paraphrased it--"heaven is open only to those who accept Jesus Christ." So at worst, Bush never condemned Jews specifically to hell specifically, but rather condemned most of humanity (anyone who doesn't accept Christ) to what may be, depending on your point of view, a wider geographical area (anywhere outside heaven)."

That's simple Christian dogma and I don't see the mention of "Jews" there. That particular belief by Christians would apply to anyone that isn't Christian, not "Jews". Of course, the Houston Post went bankrupt some years ago so there's no way I know of to see if even that quote is accurate.

But there it is on the GNXP front page as a Bush "quote".

As to Dean, I have no idea what he really thinks or if he's a bigot. I don't see those quotes as indicating bigotry, but that's just me. As we all know Dean is trying to win the Dem nomination and the feelings he is expressing are I suspect the fellings of the Dem base. /shrug

Posted by: Katy at September 23, 2003 01:15 PM


removed quotes. was a paraphrase of the general gist.

Posted by: razib at September 23, 2003 02:03 PM


I think it's just game-playing. There's a small industry devoted to proving that "The Democrats are just as bad -- or worse" on any trademark Dem issue. So the Dems are the real racists, the real bigots, the Dems don't care about the environment, the Dems hate Jews (even though most Jews are Dems), etc., etc.

It's a fact that political fundamentalists are almost all right-wing Republicans. And oddly, Dems don't like them! You need more than that to prove bigotry.

Stuff coming from those preachers is really hardball, by the way. Falwell was one of the big promoters of the phony "Clinton Death List" which accused Bill of murdering everyone who ever died that had ever had any connection at all with him.

Posted by: Zizka at September 23, 2003 08:55 PM


This is aresponse to Razib's response to my post

I agree with you that most fundamentialist churches in the US are right of center but that does not invalidate my point. My point was that Dean was attacking "fundamenailist preachers" not "right-wing fundameinalist preachers" . IN the same way Quakers and non-Orthodox Jews (AND i suspect Unitarains) are at least as Democrat in alignment as "fundamenilist" are Republican and yet everyone who agress that a Republican who attakced such groups without a qualifer "these non-Orthosodox rabbis" would be makign a religious attack.

Incidentally I think you exaggerate the political Conservatisim of fudnaminlsists remember many of them are black or Hispanic. Even self desxiribed religous rightinwers genrally vote less than 4-1 Republican , among Fudnamilist as a whole it'll be a lot less.

Your point about black Churuches helps make my point rather than miliring agianst it.The "Black" Churhces ( a religious rather than a racial disninciton-some whites go to them and rather more blkacs go to other churches)
are at least as partisian forliberal democrats as fundalist chues are for Conservative Republicans. and yet any major poltiican who said "I'm fed up wiotth these black Church preachers telling us what to do"(Jackson? Sharpton?) would be destroyed. In fact blakc ches are altelast if not more politicsed than fundamilsit ones.

The fact that some (most?) fundamilit churces miught be politized does not justify sweeping sectarain comments like Dean made, any more than poeple cricial of Isreal would be jusied in slagging off "Rabbis".

I understand and pariaqlly agree with your point about being allowed to Slag of religons if you disagree with them. However I'm not so sure it's good for the uS for poltiicna todo ;. Ameirca has had a lot of politically singicant religous diversity wihtout with rare exceptionsi t erpping tino open sectarism. Religous fault lines are very important in modern US politicsn see "Red" and "blue" america. Comment like Dean if made normal threaten Continal eurpe 19th and early 20th century style burutal religious tinged politics-not a good thing for the US.

You are so right about Dean's comment being dumb for a few cheers he may have lost Arkansas and West Virgina(if he wins the nomination as I blieve is quite possible)

Posted by: tom at September 29, 2003 08:35 AM