American Thinker on atheism

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Steven Warshawsky writes at The American Thinker about "Atheism, Conservatives, and Christianity," but is interesting primarily for his mention of Christopher Orlet's piece on "Skeptical Conservatives" in New English Review. Warshawsky calls Orlet's piece "a bit of an emotional rant, rather than a careful analysis of the issue," but Warshawsky is the one making unsupported (and unsupportable) emotional overstatements. For example, his comment about "the atheistic ideology[y] that motivated Hitler" is demonstrably false. Hitler's barbaric anti-Semitism was deeply rooted in his Catholicism. In another section, Warshawsky writes that:

Orlet, like so many other critics of the Religious Right, fundamentally fails to account for the central role of Christianity in Western and American history. Most, if not all, of the values and principles that we hold dear -- the dignity of the individual, freedom of conscience, political and economic liberty, representative government, and so on -- are inextricably intertwined with the Christian culture that produced, developed, and/or sustained them.

Christian culture--meaning everyone who comprises a society dominated by Christians--is largely responsible for those principles, but the religion of Christianity is not. Many of those principles, although refined and expanded by Christians, predate Christ by several centuries; just ask any scholar of Athenian democracy. Orlet had already answered this line of attack with his remark about the "fundie pundits" who:

...regard America primarily as a Christian nation and credit everything in Western Civilization from truth to beauty to the Christian tradition. Everything good, anyway. Some, like Wall Street Journal's Dan Henninger claims a religious provenance for the "American" virtues of "fortitude, prudence, temperance, justice, charity, hope, integrity, loyalty, honor, filial respect, mercy, diligence, generosity and forbearance," as if none of these existed before the Sermon on the Mount.

There is also Warshawsky's statement that "One of the hallmarks of American conservatism" is its rejection of "elitist, top-down interference in the daily lives of our citizens. Unlike liberals -- who claim to know how the rest of us should live -- conservatives respect the rights of individuals and communities to govern themselves. "

I suppose he is unaware of the wide range of "morals" legislation primarily--or exclusively--promoted by the Right: whether in the media (censorship by the FCC, abridgments of the First Amendment for "obscenity," "don't ask, don't tell," caterwauling about what's available on library shelves or on the Internet), the bedroom (anti-sodomy laws, campaigns against birth control and abortion, the global gag rule), the home (the anti-marriage "Defense" of Marriage Act, restrictions on same-sex adoption), schools (drives for mandated prayer, restrictions on education about sex and science), or society at large (tax-funded faith-based programs, enforced ceremonial deism, criminalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide, use of medical marijuana, and recreational drug use), the Right wants to interfere in our lives in myriad ways. The may claim it's all "for our own good," but this gives them neither the right nor the ability to make decisions on our behalf.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 12, 2007 2:08 PM.

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