BY ART REMILLARD
Below are some news items that I thought readers of this blog may enjoy…
First, Edward J. Larson’s “Declarations of Faith,” in Time Magazine shows how religion has been a tool in presidential politics since the era of Jefferson and Adams. This could be a great class conversation starter.
“In their [Jefferson’s supporters] party publications, they characterized Jefferson as ‘an adorer of our God’ and ‘a real Christian.’ They wooed disaffected Protestants, Catholics and Jews by contrasting their candidate’s defense of religious pluralism with Adams’ purported support for an evangelical establishment.”
Here’s something truly miraculous: Lisa Miller of Newsweek offered something thoughtful about the decidedly thoughtless “completed Jews” comment of the attention-craving-pundit Ann Coulter.
“The difference between Jews and Christians is 2,000 years old and rests on this fundamental: Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Jews believe the Messiah is yet to come. Each group believes at some basic level that theirs is the right, best path, or they would choose a different one. In a nation that protects the religious freedom of all with all its might, at a time in history when Jews in America may proclaim their own religious truth without fearing for their lives, why not imagine a polite way to talk about our differences instead of pasting them over or throwing rhetorical bombs?”
In this week’s Newsweek, Miller addresses the increased presence of God talk in politics, focusing on John Kerry’s “conversion” on the matter.
“Kerry, a divorced, pro-choice Democrat with a foreign-seeming wife, ran for president in 2004 against an incumbent whose personal Christian-conversion story was intricately woven into his public persona. Yet, out of principle or stubbornness, Kerry chose not to expound upon his own faith until late in the race—too late, he says in retrospect.”
In a year when social conservatives are grasping for a presidential savior, I’ve been wondering when they would notice Mike Huckabee. A Baptist minister and southern conservative, his ability to deploy folksy charm is matched only by his superior skills on the bass guitar. My favorite Huck line: “I'm a conservative, but I'm not mean about it.” Interestingly, I’ve seen acclaim coming from the right and left. Could he be a “consensus candidate”?
David Brooks, “From the Back of the Pack”— “Huckabee is something that the party needs. He is a solid conservative who is both temperamentally and substantively different from the conservatives who have led the country over the past few years.”
Jonathan Alter, “The GOP’s Best Bet”— “…the least cowboyish and bombastic Republican will have the best chance a year from now to win the White House. That’s Mike Huckabee.”
Finally, check out PBS’s recent documentary, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.” It promises to give a close look at the “Intelligent Design” trial in Dover, PA. Paula Apsell, the senior executive producer of NOVA, commented…
“This is not just any case; it’s an historic case as well as a critical science lesson. Through six weeks of expert testimony, the case provided a crash course in modern evolutionary science, and it really hit home just how firmly established evolutionary theory is. The case also explored the very nature of science—how science is defined. Perhaps most importantly, the trial had great potential for altering science education and the public understanding of science.”