Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Pope Al excommunicates religious conservatives

In the course of a conversation with Larry King (hat tip: my favorite liberal Baptist), Al Gore says this in the context of a discussion of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism:

GORE: ...I don’t think it’s a fair issue. I really don’t. I would like to think we are past that. People say, well, this is a special case. I don’t think it’s a special case. I think that he’s entitled to his own beliefs. And incidentally, Larry, in "The Assault on Reason" there is a very long hard-hitting section on this that goes back to our founding fathers, goes back to the debates that we had more than 200 years ago about why religion should be kept out of the way in which our decisions are made.


Except to the extent that individuals, of course, who are motivated by their religious faith, as I am, as so many people are, are going to make that a part of their decisions. But here’s the critical distinction. When America was founded, they -- our founders said, OK look, we are not going to pretend that whoever is elected to office has been ordained by the almighty to be the decision maker. The person who is elected is elected by us, the people of this country. And the divine right of kings was rejected by the founders of the United States.


And what replaced that, the divine right of individuals in this sense, we believe that we are all created equal. And that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. So the relationship that our founders believed was appropriate for -- between America and God was their belief that every individual has certain rights and has dignity because that person is a child of God.


Now, for those who don’t believe in God, I’m not proselytizing. I’m just telling you what I believe and what our founders believed. But what -- but this has been twisted around in recent times by some people who want to convey the impression that God belongs, if not to a particular political party, that God has a particular political ideology and that those who disagree with a right-wing approach to this or that are against God.


That is an anti-American view. That is completely contrary to the spirit of America. It is an American heresy and people in both parties ought to reject that and fight against it.

As I was reading the penultimate paragraph, I was thinking--why, he’s going to condemn the religious Left! But of course not, in Gore’s book, only folks on the religious right can be guilty of drawing a straight line from religious precepts to policy prescriptions. And then note the orthodoxy he establishes: those folks on the religious right are "anti-American," engaging in "an American heresy." What would he say if conservatives said that liberals were "anti-American" and engaging in "an American heresy"? Would he be willing to say that any Muslim who called for the application of sharia law in the U.S. was "anti-American" and engaging in "an American heresy"?

Discussions - 4 Comments

A better interviewer would have asked Gore where Jim Wallis fits into this discussion. I'm still waiting for the media to pick up on the hypocrisy that is Jim Wallis.

Gore subscribes to the old leftist maxim "No enemies on the left."

Gore is an authoritarian; that no one calls him on it is a disgrace.

When Gore uses the term anti-American here, could he be referring to that troublesome language about the separation of church and state in our founding documents? Just throwin' that out there.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." I don’t think you can get from there to Gore without a leap of faithlessness.

Let me put it another way: if the argument is that Congress shall prescribe no orthodoxy, Gore comes at least as close to prescribing an orthodoxy as do any of those he criticizes, and his is an allegedly orthodox Americanism.

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