Sunday, March 27, 2005

I didn't have the time or energy last night to get into the religious aspect of the contradictions currently roiling American politics. Frank Rich, however, clearly did; I'd recommend reading his latest column, on "The God Racket, From DeMille to DeLay."

The one thing I would add to what Rich has to say is that from Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield on, there is a very clear pattern in American history of religious and moral awakenings flaming out as soon as they extend themselves into the public sphere. Where religious fervor is concerned, political authority is a kind of forbidden fruit: a tempting instrument for realizing its moral vision, but ultimately one which, if ever grasped and used, ends up exposing itself as morally impotent and even deleterious.

The far-right evangelicals in America are currently discovering this. If what they've done already weren't so disturbing, I would say it should be interesting to watch their reaction.


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