Monday, March 05, 2007


In this edition, Joe Klein seems to not understand the difference between personal religious beliefs and how those beliefs translate into governance.

Like Yglesias, I don't really have a problem with personal religious beliefs whatever they are. But implicit (and often explicit) in the religious beliefs of many - especially those who adhere to religions which put some emphasis on proselytizing - is that they have the correct belief system, one which puts some emphasis on who and how to worship and how to behave, and that those who have other belief systems are wrong. Perhaps wrong enough to spend eternity feeling the sweet sweet touch of fire. It's bizarre that a pundit at a major magazine would fail to understand this.

Sure I have a problem when a general in the US military sees himself in a religious crusade, and performs his job according to those beliefs. But that's about his job, not his beliefs. I don't care if Jerry Boykin believes his God is bigger than their God. The problem is when it affects his job, and as a general even loudly espousing those beliefs (especially when in uniform) is problematic in ways which wouldn't be if he was a lower ranking officer not doing so in uniform.

...and, adding, while "my religion rocks yours sucks" might be emphasized a bit more in conservative religious circles, I don't think that it even comes close to being limited to them. Even among the more "tolerant" (left or right), I often perceive a tremendous amount of contempt for "fringe" religious or mystical beliefs (wicca, astrology, rastafarianism, Scientology, Mormons, Shakers, other "fringey" Christian sects, etc...). The reasons for these distinctions may be clear to some, but not to me.