Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get your Indulgences here--20 % down and Tax Free too!

Ezra, riffing off of Sharpton's comments, makes an incredibly good point:

Religion, like much else in America, is a market good. This isn't a controversial statement: It's conventional wisdom to say that American religion is more vibrant than its European counterpart because Europe has ossified state churches and America has a humming spiritual marketplace.

But people are less comfortable digging through the implications of a market-driven religion. They're not hidden, however. Preachers obsess over homosexuality for the same reason that newscasters talk about polls rather than policies: It gets ratings. It arouses passions. It ensures relevance. It's not about religion, or justice. You can't read the Bible and honestly decide its primary political imperative is to block gay marriage. But that was, of course, the first time Warren ever entered domestic politics. This stuff is not about the judgment of the divine but the demands of the market. And that's okay, I guess, it's just a bit weird we make it tax exempt to sell a market good so long as you make God part of your sales pitch.

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