Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Religious liberty at the Wadi Kishon

My vacation ends tomorrow, but here's a little something to tide you over. It's from Fred Clark at Slacktivist:
[Robert] Knight’s latest column seems like it should’ve been easy. It’s a standard babykillerbabykillerbabykiller attack directed at Hillary Clinton. Knight has been writing variations of this same attack since the early 1990s, so you’d think he’d have it down by now. Alas, though, Knight gets his Canaanite religions confused and manages somehow to get all of his biblical allusions backwards.

The former secretary of state, Knight writes, has “the religious sensibilities of the priests of Baal or the rulers of Sodom and Gomorrah.”

... Hillary Clinton, he’s asserting, is a murderous proponent of mass-death. Like every opponent of those who are “pro-life,” she must therefore be pro-death.

To reinforce this accusation, Knight references two stories from the Bible: the story of the priests of Baal, and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Both of those stories contain the element Knight wants to introduce here: mass slaughter and a feast for proud death.

But, oddly, the people Knight tries to associate with Clinton are the victims of that mass-slaughter. ...

And here’s what happened to those priests of Baal — 450 of them, according to 1 Kings 18:
Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” Then they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon, and killed them there.

These are two stories it’s probably best to avoid if you’re trying to argue that being “pro-life” is the paramount ethical principle.
But it gets better. More on point:
if you’re trying to present yourself as a champion of “religious liberty,” then comparing yourself to Elijah at the Wadi Kishon doesn’t really strengthen your case.

That suggests that your idea of “religious liberty” only applies to whatever sect you think of as the true religion. The followers of false gods, you’re saying, don’t deserve this freedom. They don’t have the same rights as the followers of the One True Religion. The only rights they have are the rights to be rounded up, dragged to the river, and killed.

That’s hard to reconcile with the slogan of “religious liberty.” It’s not easy to square with the slogan of “pro-life” either.
Of course, it's been pretty obvious for a long time that, in fact, “religious liberty” does apply only the One True Way. Just ask Justice Alito.

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