Say you're sorry, Chuck

I think NY Senator Chuck Schumer is a jerk, so don't take this defense of him the wrong way. I still think he's a jerk. But this attack on him by the wingnut wrongosphere is just too stupid to pass commenting on:

The executive committee of the National Clergy Council, representing church leaders from Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant traditions, today calls on New York senator Charles Schumer to immediately apologize for his bigoted comments made yesterday on the floor of the US Senate.

Mr. Schumer referred to traditional Christians who object to the willful destruction of human embryos as "theocrats" who "want their faith to dictate what the government does." He then said this is why the Founders "put down their plows and took up muskets to fight." (newsbyus)

The only thing wrong with what Schumer said is he doesn't take progressive positions like this often enough and on enough subjects. But the rightist attack on him is really something:

"Senator Charles Schumer's remarks were not just insulting to tens of millions of Americans of traditional Christian faith, but his words were down right menacing. For a US Senator to vilify a whole segment of the American population based on their religious convictions and then suggest fighting them with guns is frightening.

We appeal to Mr. Schumer to apologize immediately, set the record straight and urge Americans to engage in civil and non-violent debate on these matters."

Wow. If you say people who want to embody their religious views in the laws of our country are theocrats, you're labeled as a bigot? If you suggest the religious separation of church and state was one of the things worth fighting for in the War of Independence, that's the same as threatening evangelicals with guns?

This whacko piece goes on to say Schumer was the only Senator who refused an Easter/Passover gift package from the National Clergy Council's affiliate group, Faith and Action, that was hand delivered to all congressional offices earlier in the year. The "gift" was two books and a personal letter from Reverend Schenk, of the Evangelical Church Alliance. Fascinating reads, I'm sure. What's disappointing about this, if true (and I don't put lying past the good Dr. Schenk), is that Schumer was the only one to do so.

Congratulations, Chuck. Now about your support of Joe Lieberman . . .

More like this

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made the following statement on the floor of the Senate last Tuesday. He was speaking in support of federal funding for stem cell research: Substantively, there is no doubt this is the right thing to do. But I put it in a broader context. There is a group of people…
If the polls are accurate, Senator Rick Santorum is about to lose his re-election bid. That's a good thing. Santorum is a bad cliche of the culture wars, a powerful politician who actually believes that the earth is 6,000 years old, that abortion is tantamount to murder and the Catholic church…
I just received this email from some communications group trying to publicize the virtues of the Democratic Party. It had the opposite effect on me — I am appalled. It's the usual Democratic strategic inanity of pushing to ape the Republicans instead of even trying to be a party of progressive…
I've noted before that the background to the 'culture wars' is that white, male, Christian (often Protestant) is no longer the cultural default setting. Regarding religion: The greatest con theopolitical conservatives ever pulled was getting their religious views defined as the cultural 'default…

I like Chuck generally, and think he is brave and right on on this one. However the craven way almost all the Democrats supported Israel's right to blow apart Lebanese Civilians, UN Observers, Red Cross ambulances, Christian Neighborhoods where no Hizbulla would like be etc. is disgusting. I have removed my support from ALL politicians except the 6 Representives who showed some bravery.

Scienceblogs needs to take a look at their hard-left stance on politics, and decide whether they really want to potentially alienate half the US population ... and indeed, whether stumping for the Democrat party is an appropriate use of the Scienceblogs brand.

EM: "~ potentially alienate half the US population~"

Yo, Ed, half the population is already alienated and that segment is now growing fast enough to eventually extract us from this pit. The K-Street Project will have no problem switching allegiance and neither should you, unless you're one of those bleating paleocons.

By tympanachus (not verified) on 29 Jul 2006 #permalink

Ed: For the record, Scienceblogs.com has no control over what its bloggers say, by agreement in advance of our signing up with them. I don't know if they agree with me or not nor do I care.

If you think calling Chuck Schumer (D-NY) a jerk is stumping for the Democratic Party, you've got a strange sense of what stumping for a Party means. Nor are we "hard-left" except from the perspective of someone who is hard-right. Feel free to skip any posts whose politics you don't like. It's (still) a free country, although if the current incumbent of the White House has its way it won't be for long. He's a jerk, too. Now I'm being bipartisan. Does that make you feel better?

I've been cross with Schumer for the performance he gave on Meet the Press at which he would not commit to support the Democratic nominee in Connecticut if that nominee did not turn out to be his pal Lieberman. I hope he comes to a better understanding of his duty as a Democrat.

But I do laud his characterization as theocrats of those who oppose the scientific use of stem cells on the basis of their religious beliefs.

I mean, how grotesque can it get, calling the use of stem cells "murder," while at the same time carrying out capital punishment, sending people to war in Iraq and not seeming to mind the killing of hundreds and thousands of Iraqi civilians, aiding and abetting the slaughter of children in Lebanon.....

But we must be careful not to "murder" any blastocysts by using them to save lives.

Blastocysts vs religion? What is happpening in America?
It could do so much better than this.The brain power is there..what is going so wrong?

Pilgrim, if someone opposes capital punishment because of his religious beliefs, does that make him a theocrat? If someone opposes war because of her religious beliefs, does that make her a theocrat? If someone is pro-environmental protection because of his religious beliefs, does that make him a theocrat? Or does it only apply to views you dislike?

There's a big difference between being motivated by one's religion and being a theocrat. One can oppose abortion for entirely non-religious but philosophical beliefs. Just as people can oppose, say, eugenics for non-religious or religious reasons. Or as some people opposed slavery for religious reasons, and others for other philosophical reasons.

Any sort of moral axiom is not necessarily going to be shared by others. All sorts of governmental actions or inactions, including many you no doubt favor, are based on moral assumptions not necessarily shared by others, whether it's saving an endangered species, providing welfare and redistribution through taxes, or respecting property rights. Attempting to absolutely divorce this from politics is impossible and counterproductive.

Attack the position, not the motivation.

By John Thacker (not verified) on 01 Aug 2006 #permalink