Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Slacktivist takes apart phrase "people of faith"

Slacktivist (an Evangelical Christian) takes on that hideous phrase of nebulous sanctimony, "people of faith":

Such statements are obviously exclusive toward people of no faith. By explicitly excluding only those of that minority persuasion ("First they came for ...") such statements might seem otherwise inclusive, which is how they are intended to sound. But this appeal to a squishy, contentless "faith" -- this "kind of very comprehensive supreme being, Seeger-type thing"* -- also excludes those of us who believe that the substance of faith matters more than the depth of personal sentiment.

A bigger problem for Romney is that he takes the phrase "person of faith" at face value instead of recognizing that this is a dog-whistle term -- a code-word for "Christians like us and the few Jews who agree to play by our rules." This is another example of nominally religious language that also carries a great deal of unspoken cultural/political meaning.

Why Mitt Romney is talking about religious faith is somewhat mysterious to me, because every single other Democratic and Republican candidate (that I know of) has a more "mainstream" faith than he does.

Slacktivist also takes the trouble to point out this section of Article VI of the American Constitution:
no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
Hearing politicians talk is often painful enough. But when Mitt Romney says things like "we need to have a person of faith lead the country" I just want to bludgeon him on his oft-praised coiffure with a rolled-up copy of our Constitution. Of course, watching him desperately suck up to the James Dobson crowd (along with McCain & Giuliani) is kind of fun. It doesn't seem to be working.

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