I hate being right, but I knew the Mighty Conservative Wurlitzer was going to slime Amanda and Shakes. Before I get to a detailed discussion of the NY Times article about the whole blogger kerfuffle, I have a very simple question.
What if Amanda and Shakes, rather than being campaign bloggers, had taken important administrative, behind-the-scenes jobs with the Edwards campaign?
Seriously, both parties have had all sorts of people as campaign workers. So why are bloggers a big deal? If they were doing a bad job, then they should be fired because of their shoddy work. But many campaign workers have held ideological positions different from the official campaign position. It’s safe to say that many campaign workers are more ‘extremist’ than their candidates. And it’s not as if there aren’t Republican bloggers who don’t have credibility problems of their own. McCain’s blogger Patrick Hynes has commented on Jewish Congressman Henry Waxman’s “big nose” among other things:
Hynes’ public writing is devoted to pure religious divisiveness — he focuses almost exclusively on the claim that Christianity is superior and that those who attend church live better lives, and specifically to the belief that the Republican Party is the true party of those who believe in God and that Democrats are “anti-Christian.”
The Catholic League, a conservative religious group, is demanding that Mr. Edwards dismiss the two, Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog site and Melissa McEwan, who writes on her blog, Shakespeare’s Sister, for expressing anti-Catholic opinions….
Ms. Marcotte wrote in December that the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of contraception forced women “to bear more tithing Catholics.” In another posting last year, she used vulgar language to describe the church doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
She has also written sarcastically about the news media coverage of the three Duke lacrosse players accused of sexual assault, saying: “Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.”…
Ms. McEwan referred in her blog to President Bush’s “wingnut Christofascist base” and repeatedly used profanity in demanding that religious conservatives stop meddling with women’s reproductive and sexual rights. Multiple postings use explicit and inflammatory language on a variety of issues.
Personally, Shakes, I prefer the term Christopath. Anyway, Glenn Greenwald says exactly what I wanted to say (but far more eloquently; italics mine):
Catholicism is a set of beliefs that finds expression in both religious practices and political disputes. Catholic doctrine and Catholic religious figures are not confined to the purely religious/private realm, but instead are frequently used by their proponents as the basis for all sorts of political claims, arguments, condemnations, etc. Some Catholics even urged Catholics in the 2004 election to vote against John Kerry on the ground that his views violated Catholic doctrine. It is some Catholics themselves — like evangelical Christians and religious Jews and others — who have transformed their set of religious beliefs into political beliefs, even political weapons.
There is nothing per se wrong with doing that, but under those circumstances, there is also no justification for the notion that those beliefs should then be immune from the same type of criticisms, and even mockery, which is deemed acceptable when applied to any other set of political beliefs. I suppose that in an ideal world it would be nice if we all engaged in political discussions using only the most polite and respectful tone. But every set of political beliefs is subjected to the most intense insult and mockery, and those who insinuate their religious beliefs into the political arena have no right thereafter to demand that those beliefs be accorded some sort of special status.
If the theological right doesn’t like their private beliefs being treated like every other -ism, whether it be liberalism, conservatism, or anything else, then don’t use your religion as a specific political program. Otherwise, it’s fair game, especially when the consequences of that political program are disastrous. If the Catholic Church wants to encourage women not to have abortions, fine. It’s really none of my business. But when Catholic conservatives want to use the government’s monopoly on violence to follow their sectarian dogma, then that sectarian dogma should no longer have the privileged status of private theological belief.
There’s one other thing: when millions of theological conservatives believe that anti-gay bigotry is acceptable, why is that opinion soberly reported in major newspapers, while the views of the millions of Americans in the Coalition of the Sane who think said bigoted theological conservatives are missing circuits in their heads are viewed as ‘controversial?’