Taking from Andrew Sullivan I noted the conclusion of Brownback's stump speech at the Iowa straw poll. Well Ross Douthat has taken issue with our alarm over it and again takes the line of apologists for those who seek to blurr the line between church and state.
Yes, indeed: Today, 15 percent of the vote at the Iowa Straw Poll; tomorrow, majoritarian theocratic tyranny. (Hitler came to power by democratic means, you know ...)
Yes so lets just ignore the growing sectarian nature of our politics and not wonder if this is at all worrisome. The Hitler reference is a pathetic and transparent attempt to paint people who actually might believe that in a pluralistic society arguments should be made in secular terms and that leaders should avoid florid, sectarian proclamations in a spirit of making the rest of us feel confident we won't end up living under a government guided by religious principles we neither share nor believe nor understand, as hysterics. I believe Godwin's Law states, "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." Well Douthat seems to have just preempted what will be the conclusion of the irrational argument spawned by this.
I would go on, but it would just be the usual tedious argument about how Andrew misunderstands American history, American religion, and the intersection thereof, and how he's trying apply a continental model of faith and politics to a context where that model has never applied, and so and so forth. Instead, I'll punt to Larison:
Yes we all know the historical argument that because religion has never been legally interwoven with politics it has been allowed to grow and thrive without becoming a humiliatingly (for it) arm of the state, and that as such expressions of faith by American politicians do not reference an age of theocracy everyone is happy to have behind them. But apparently Douthat doesn't think there is any danger in our political discourse taking on an increasingly sectarian tone, and as he noted those who do are hysterics. He really seems open to discussion.
He ends by approving of Brownback's statement as a legitimate expression of faith, if a bit vulgar. His closing line is more revealing of the knee jerk piety afflicting Douthat when he says of Sullivan, "with its snobbish overtones and arm's-length distaste for Mother Teresa (!), is the most unfortunate - and revealing - part of the whole post." Is he oblivious as to the reassessment of Mother Teresa that in the years since her death? It is another post entirely but i will conclude by linking to some sources that should give a fair minded person enough doubt of her holiness to at least not punctuate a reference to some one's distaste for her with a childish exclamation point.
Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict