Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Tuesday, June 15, 2004  

Bush spoke this morning via satellite to the Southern Baptist Convention, apparently trying to shore up support at the base. It was the usual stump speech, but he souped it up for the religious audience. There are a couple of interesting turns of phrase in it. Have a look:

My administration is defending the sanctity of marriage against activist courts and local officials who want to redefine marriage forever. The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. And government, by strengthening and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. So I am calling for funding for healthy marriage programs, and I support a constitutional amendment to protect marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

Even while pandering directly to the religious right, he's trying to make it sound like a cultural argument, an almost a priori recognition of goodness. (He's wrong, of course. Marriage is far from the most enduring human institution and there are religions--I happen to belong to one--that hold no views about marriage one way or another.) Then there's this:

I will continue our efforts to defend the liberty of religious organizations. Faith-based charities have a right to provide publicly-funded social services, just like any other group. You see, our government should welcome faith. So I have signed an executive order allowing religious charities who seek government support to compete for funding on a level playing field. I call on Congress to codify my faith-based initiative into law, so that people of faith can know government will never discriminate against them again.

This is a fascinating development--arguing that churches' liberty has been violated by not receiving federal dollars. According to this analysis, not receiving federal dollars is an act of discrimination. Apparently I have a legal argument against the government--I'm not getting any funding, either. Hell, I give it money. How unfair is that?

posted by Jeff | 4:33 PM |
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