Politics, Sex, Religion, and all those impolite Human Conversations...

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Is Matthew Yglesias a Wanker?

I hear yes, hell ya.

Just read this this by post by qubit:
You know, for a philosopher by training, that is some really sloppy fucking thinking. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that there's a world of difference between "in official facilities" and "at official events," especially with the later clarification that, yes, he really does mean officially led and directed prayer.

OK, so Matt churned out some bone-stupid wankery in between his usually sharp wonkery; what else is new? Gotta keep up those contrarian and moderate credentials after all. I could just leave this at some snark, but for the benefit of those of you who grew up completely isolated from society (or were born yesterday), I'll point out just why his assertion that there is "no harm" in this is so hopelessly, stupidly, mind-numbingly wrong.

Let's start with the most clear-cut case of direct harm: schools. School is an official event children are required to attend*, so there is no opt-out cop-out here. Now, to avoid being accused of a straw man (who am I kidding, nobody reads this), let's say instead of an unconstitutional-since-the-50s forced mass prayer in class, it's at the pep rally (which, let me assure you from experience, is often just as mandatory as class). So you shamble on down there, sit down, and the principal leads the whole school in a non-denominational Judeo-Christian Christian Protestant prayer (credit where credit is due: Matt did at least recognize "non-denominational" prayer for what it is). Say you're an atheist, or that you're Muslim or Jewish or Wiccan. What is the clear, unambiguous message the government is now officially sending you? That you don't belong, that you're not a full member of society, that there's something wrong with your beliefs. Wait, you know what? Someone said the meaning of this far better than I ever could:

No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

And this takes us directly to how it is injurious when officially sanctioned in any capacity: it sends the clear message, exactly the message desired by those promoting this, to all Americans that part of being American is being Christian (specifically, Protestant). Therefore, if you aren't Christian, you aren't really a "true" American. It's officially sanctioned bigotry and marginalization of religious minorities, nothing less.
(there is so much more)