Cheap Shots and Christ on Sale

The NYT’sCharles Blow tried to make a funny about Romney’s magic underwear, failed, and got smacked around for it, but what I want to talk about is this statement:

‏ @thepubliceditor:I applaud@CharlesMBlow for apologizing for his tweet on Romney. Criticism based on religion is inappropriate, on Twitter or anywhere else.

Blow really should have been reprimanded for not being able to come up with anything better than the magic underwear thing. You work at theTimes, man, put your shoulder into it! Have one of your interns look up something about Mormonism that all of Twitter hasn’t adequately addressed before now.

Unfunny schoolyard cracks that Conan O’Brien’s writers would have passed on are indeed inappropriate. However, criticism based on religion is most assuredly appropriate, at least, as appropriate as criticism based on anything else.

We can’t sit here and rule things out of bounds to talk about on the basis of somebody said the word “god” and now that means we all have to stop questioning. Faith is used too often as some kind of prophylacticagainst criticism in public life, an instant protection against having to explain one’s positions and justify one’s actions. “I believe” has come to mean “now you can’t object, because I invoked the Jesus Pokémon, regardless of what insane shit comes out of my mouth next.”

Which is a pity, because in the best traditions of faith doctrine can be the result of long periods of learned argument and study, and talking about one’s faith doesn’t have to be a threat to that faith. Sensible criticism about a politician’s faith would, one can hope, prompt a deeper explanation of how that faith informs a candidate’s actions.

In Romney’s case, that would mean exploring a candidate’s explicit view of his campaign as some kind of affirmation that AMERICA IS TEH AWESOMEST SEZ GOD and go fuck a French mime if you think differently. So I can see why his campaign wouldn’t exactly welcome that discussion.


x-posted at Firedoglake

5 thoughts on “Cheap Shots and Christ on Sale

  1. It would also be nice if religious folks wouldn’t freak the fuck out when someone made a crack about theirs. Why not try letting it roll off your back? Hell, why not try acomeback? Blow’s lame effort was a hung curve right over the fat part of the plate. Keep your eye on the goddamn ball, keep your bat level and swing through with your hips. Put him face first on the mound.
    This gives me an opportunity to link to thebest comeback ever.

  2. “The Public Editor” may feel that way about religion but I’d bet he’d be first in line to smack around a candidate that professed to being an atheist or agnostic. The god-botherers like to wear their persecution complex on their sleeves, but their perceived persecution is nothing compared to what an openly areligious candidate would really get.
    And BTW – “AMERICA IS TEH AWESOMEST SEZ GOD and go fuck a French mime if you think differently” – I am SO stealing that line!

  3. Criticism based on religion is inappropriate, on Twitter or anywhere else…
    Really? Can President Obama get that deal? He’s criticized for being a Muslim even though he’s not and he’s criticized for being a member of a black church that hates white people. You can’t win with these people. And I’m not just talking about the nutballs in the GOP base, check out this headline in my local Gannett fishwrap yesterday.

  4. Magic underwear, like polygamy, is too easy and trite.
    When there’s so much more about Mormon culture that is objectionable.
    Short list — more patriarchal than the Catholic Church; officially racist until 1978, semi-racist since; essentially theocratic in Utah; baptizing dead people without their families’ consent; covering up/enabling child abuse by true-believing Mormons, in church groups and Boy Scout troops; cheating/stealing from Gentiles (non-Mormons), and getting away with it in Mormon states; etc.
    The First Amendment allows religious cults, and also freedom of speech, which includes our right to criticize religious cults.

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