Sunday, May 08, 2005

First Church of St. Dowd

MoDo's Sunday New York Times column perfectly illustrates the secular religion discussed in the previous post. Far from benign, MoDo's secular faith overflows with racism, prejudice and unsupported demonizing, as demonstrated in the footnotes below:
President Bush's experiments in Afghanistan and Iraq created his own chimeras, by injecting feudal and tribal societies with the cells of democracy,1 and blending warring factions and sects.2 Some of the forces unleashed are promising; others are frightening. . .

The Republican Party is now a chimera, too, a mutant3 of old guard Republicans, who want government kept out of our lives,4 and evangelical Christians,5 who want government to legislate religion into our lives.6 . . .

But exploiting God for political ends7 has set off powerful, scary forces in America: a retreat on teaching evolution, most recently in Kansas; fights over sex education, even in the blue states and blue suburbs of Maryland;8 a demonizing of gays; and a fear of stem cell research,9 which could lead to more of a "culture of life" than keeping one vegetative woman hooked up to a feeding tube.10
Dowd's dour view shows secular liberals have regressed from optimistic open-mindedness to a nihilistic state of nature: "nasty, brutish, and short." Still, there's silver lining for dingo and boomr. Their ideology now has a name: Dowdist.


Captain Ed thinks "Dowd may actually be getting worse with time."

Still More:

MaxedOutMama and SC&A demolish for all time the claim the secularism isn't a religion.


1 In other words, Arabs are too primitive and un-evolved for democracy. Texans too. How is such condescending racism liberal or internationalist?

Catherine Seipp: "You could stuff all Dowd’s anti-whack-Iraq columns into a hat and pull one out at random; odds are “Little Miss Dowd Says ‘Ick’ ” would be the theme in a nutshell."

3 Imagine the furor were a conservative to employ "mutant" in describing, say, blacks, women or gays. Or don't imagine:

4 Dowd of course favors limited government when pontificating about abortion, sodomy, etc., but champions unrestricted federal cash for
the NEA, PBS, etc. Does this suggest MoDo might back Bush's proposed budget cuts?

Maureen Dowd has "long ranted in print against conservatives, Christians and President Bush. . . Last December, she even admitted she cannot stand the warmth and giving spirit of Christmas. [And] Dowd's Feb. 3 column . . . blasted Christians who believe in literal creation by God."

6 Who, where and when? Except for constant reminders that former Attorney General Ashcroft is a Christian, without explaining how, precisely, he was imposing a theocracy--and
don't say "breast-gate."

7 Faith is exploitation? Who, exactly, do the faithful exploit? And if it's true, how is it different from secular liberal exploitation of minorities and the poor?

8 Good thing the
Maryland judge intervened to delay a public school lesson plan that instructed, among other things:
Religion has often been misused to justify hatred and oppression. Less than a half a century ago, Baptist churches (among others) in this country defended racial segregation on the basis that it was condoned by the Bible. Early Christians were not hostile to homosexuals. Intolerance became the dominant attitude only after the Twelfth Century. Today, many people no longer tolerate generalizations about homosexuality as pathology or sin. Few would condemn heterosexuality as immoral — despite the high incidence of rape, incest, child abuse, adultery, family violence, promiscuity, and venereal disease among heterosexuals. Fortunately, many within organized religions are beginning to address the homophobia of the church [and] support full civil rights for gay men and lesbians, as they do for everyone else.
9 The President's stem cell policy actually eased restrictions on Federally funded stem cell research--and increased stem cell funding. And the policy doesn't apply to stem cell research funded by the private sector. Bush imposed no "ban" on stem cell research--none of which explain MoDo's "fear."

10 Today's secular liberals bear no resemblance to their 20th century forbearers, as can be seen by comparison to
Hubert Humphrey's understanding of the "culture of life": "The moral test of a government is how it treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped."


JoshSN said...


On the left there is little appreciation of Dowd. Think of her as our less acerbic Ann Coulter.

As for point 1, it can't be considered racist, as every people on earth existed tribally in some time or other. Did Germany and Japan (certainly not tribal societies, with high literacy rates and newspaper readership rates) simply become democratic? No. In Iraq especially, it has basically been illegal, a death penalty offense, to read a non-State published newspaper since 1978. You may think the presence of terrorist confessions on the US-broadcast al-Iraqiya is cute, but it doesn't do much to bolster democracy. How many Iraqis even know what it really means, even generally? Many Ukrainians don't, even though we credit them with elected a "democratic" leader.

As for point 10, I think you are calling Thomas Aquinas a scumbag. He didn't believe babies became human until "ensoulment." Look it up. That happened a month or later (depending on gender) _after_ birth. Aquinas was certainly more religious than you or Hubert Humphrey.

MaxedOutMama said...

Josh, you are betraying your ignorance about Aquinas and Aristotle. I am not a Catholic or a theologian so my rebuttal here will not be theologically complete.

First, Aquinas did discuss Aristotle's metaphysics of when the embroyo's body became capable of housing the soul. Aquinas did not dispute Aristotle's view either. Aristotle held that the human embroyo became capable of containing a soul 80? days after fertilization for a female and 40 days for a male. Thus before birth each infant's body housed a soul.

Your implication is that Aquinas would not object to abortion. But Aquinas did, as the very early church always had, object to abortion. You do not understand either early Christian doctrine or Catholic doctrine. It is a basic Christian tenet that the soul of the child is preexistent before the body which contains that soul (from Jeremiah, "I knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb"). Thus the detail of when the soul fully occupies the body was not material to Aquinas or early Christians with regard to abortion.

Regardless of when an abortion occurred, the result was to end a life created and planned by God. From the earliest times, the Christian church required its adherents to renounce murder and abortion, because both ended the existence of human life intended by God. Do not presume to teach what you do not know.

As to your first objection, I can't make it out. Japan and Germany both suffered under oppressive immoral systems. When liberated, they adapted quite well to representational democracy. That Saddam Hussein, a mass-murdering dictator (he, like Hitler in Germany, controlled the Baathist regime before becoming the titular president), banned freedom of the press is hardly a surprise, but what does that have to do with the ability and desire of the iraqi people for freedom and human rights? It's worth noting that independent newspapers exploded once Saddam Hussein was deposed from power.

Carl is not the only person to be appalled at this expression of disprespect for the Iraqis and their human potential. Condemnations of this column and the many others like it are flying around. Let me put it this way - the argument Dowd seemed to be making was precisely that used as an argument to disenfranchise American blacks under the Jim Crow regime. Americans should have reason to distrust such sentiments. It is all to easy to excuse our indifference to the suffering of others by the contention that they require oppression.

Get a grip, read some history! If you do not agree with what Dowd writes then state your disagreement. Don't hide your true opinions with a general statement backing away from Dowd and disingenuous statements that suggest support.

loboinok said...

I've got some good news in this area...would you help spread it?

SC&A said...

Good series of posts!

You may like what I just posted, re the AUT boycott.

@nooil4pacifists said...

SC&A: good, horifying post.

Josh: I agree with M_O_M.