Wednesday, November 30, 2005

MoJo on the Religious Right:

I can't say I agree with everything they write in this issue (for instance, I don't think it's proper to associate Marvin Olasky with Christian Reconstructionism), but it's certainly interesting to see Mother Jones's critical take on the religious right, to which they devote their entire December issue.

The best part of their issue is the lead article by Susan Jacoby on the secular origins of the US Constitution. She basically summarizes passages in her book Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, about the secularism of founding era America and its impact on our Constitution. Although her thesis, that the Constitution was revolutionary for the time in leaving God out of it, and in having entirely secular aims, is quite correct, it was originally put forth a few years earlier by two Cornell scholars in their book entitled The Godless Constitution.


Jim Babka said...

I've read the whole issue, and I am not impressed.

Their constellation of religious groups in orbit was speculative and had a very low threshold of entry. Some of those groups have a very tenuous relationship with each other (at best), while others raise very little money and have very little power. Elevating those groups had value only to MoJo. By horrifying their readers, they can now return to those names in fundraising appeals.

MoJo also raised the specter of Conspiracy by invoking the name of the Council on National Policy (CNP) -- a lunch and supper club that includes a very wide swath of people. In fact, in one of the articles about Reconstructionism, they point out the conflict between Reconstructionists like Gary DeMar and Tim LaHaye, but then point out that these leading lights helped form CNP. Say what you will about these guys, but I wonder why do secularists accept left-wing conspiracy theories that are factually incorrect and biased, but not right-wing conspriacy theories on the grounds that it's all a fantasy? I know the answer. Just wanted to make the point.

And, since I know Herb Titus, I know that they were factually incorrect in labeling him as a Reconstructionist. As covered in the past on this blog, Titus is not a Reconstructist. So that article was wrong about both Olasky and Titus. How many more errors were there in these MoJo pieces?

But the worst article was by a professor named Galbreath the one claiming that Evolution had disproven god and "evolutionary" economics is need to disprove the god of economics -- Adam Smith's Invisible Hand. It comes as news, to me at least, that this was a deity.

Jacoby's article was just about the only well-written, factually articulate article. But even it is still tainted because what she was really defending was the, "larger assault on all secular public institutions." "Public" is code for "government," and that's not worth defending.

"Public things" like government schools should simply be shut down so that the Invisible Hand could devise a much better educational system!

Jonathan said...

Thanks. Always appreciate your opinion Jim.

And I fully agree that the compromise is to separate not just Church & State, but as much of everything else and state as well.