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06/07/2010

Video: Faith in the system vs. faith that biases the same

by Jeremy Hooper

We've mentioned conservative atheist S.E. Cupp before, with specific focus on how she seems to want to have it both ways on gays and their deserved rights. Well recently Cupp went on another homo-hostile outlet, "The 700 Club", where she continued to speak out about the double standard she sees in terms of religion. Watch a minute or two of this and then we'll get back to you:

Okay, so the point on which we want to focus: The supposed double standard in terms of the way certain political figure's faiths are handled, with Cupp saying, in the most overgeneralized of fashions, that "the media uses [religion] to humanize the left and to demonize the right." She cites Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, President Bush, and Mitt Romney as the ones who are supposedly "demonized," with President Obama being the one supposedly "humanized" example. And of course Cupp does this, without apparent awareness or irony, amid her own slighting of President Obama's faith (e.g. "I'm still a little confused on what exactly [Barack Obama's Christianity] is").

But here's the major GOP elephant that Cupp conveniently/disingenuously overlooks: That the only real reason someone like Huckabee or Bush or Palin's religion has come under question/scrutiny/pushback is because THEY USE(d) THEIR PERSONAL FAITH TO SHAPE CIVIL POLICY! Focusing on our primary issue, LGBT rights (since it's an area with one of the biggest mixings of religion and politics in modern history): All of the people that Cupp mentions have come out, with varying ferocity, against LGBT people's role and rights within the citizenry, at best, and essential worth as human beings, at worst. So yes, when they do so on the basis of their personal faith, we send back a big "HOLD THE PHONE!" And guess what? We do the same. exact. thing. when President Obama uses his personal faith to oppose full civil marriage equality (something we frequently mentioned when Candidate Obama was courting us)! Because that's the issue here: The interference, bordering on theocracy!

The thing is: It's absurd for any resident of this highly Christian-identified nation to even suggest that "left Christianity" is concretely one thing and "right Christianity" is another. Hell, most major candidates aren't even close to viable unless they publicly attest to following one of the Judeo-Christian branches. Religion is EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME, in ALL FORMS in D.C.! Just like some of the gay community's biggest political opponents have been Christian I.Ded, so have some of our biggest champions! The late Ted Kennedy was the biggest well of senatorial support the LGBT population has ever known. He was also a proud and practicing Catholic. But he was neither demonized nor lionized for his papal views. And why? Because he did not use those views to deny parity to citizens of this church-separated nation! He didn't wear his faith on the kind of omnipresent sleeve that shielded his eyes from accurate reads of the U.S. Constitution. The only ones who did "demonize" the late (D-MA)'s brand of faith were, primarily, those on the conservative right! Many did so even after his death. And when they did, it was the interference, condemnation, and desire to define values for everyone else that once again came to the fore!

Or what about Sen. Joe Lieberman? He's been up and down the aisle, politically. He's remained an observant Orthodox Jew throughout. But he hasn't been humanized for being deeply religious, because he's never led with his faith or asked to be honored in the political realm because of it. He hasn't been demonized for being deeply religious because he hasn't tried to pass a Federal Shabbat Amendment. His religion is his religion. His office is his office.

S.E. claims that "the liberal media doesn't really handle nuance well." But the truth is that it's Cupp herself who is taking a hatchet to cogency! She's setting up this incredibly false dichotomy that ignores the difference between praying on the right and preying on people's rights. She's also ignoring the fact -- THE FACT! -- that scrutiny in terms of mixing religion with politics is a nonpartisan affair, with anyone -- D, or R, or I, or ANYTHING -- who tried to overextend the reach of their personal prayer hands would earn certain degrees of "Huh?!" and "Oh, hell no!". In short: She ignores the "whys" and "what's really going on" so that she can further divide this nation on both partisan and pious lines. Discourse, meet damage.

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