Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Pew Monitors Are on the Job

The first problem with Jennifer Epstein's piece about the President's faith is that it exists at all. This is a story...why? Yes, I understand that in practical terms Article VI, Paragraph 3 might as well not exist (at least where the Presidency is concerned). But really, is the public dying to read yet another Politico piece about the President's church attendance?

The second problem is the way it's framed. Here's the lede:
President Barack Obama rarely goes to church and has spent just one Christmas morning of his presidency in the pews.

But that’s not for lack of faith, members of his small circle of religious confidants say.
Because it wouldn't be "balanced" if you didn't start it out by casting doubt on the President's faith ("Critics say [the President's faith] wouldn’t be readily apparent from watching his public comings and goings"). Now, one could say that since a person's faith is a purely subjective matter, nobody else in the world can possibly have an informed opinion about it. But that wouldn't be the Politico way. The Politico way, where Democrats are concerned, is to bring imaginary controversy into the most banal and innocuous subjects.

The third problem is the complete lack of context. She doesn't mention Bush's sporadic church attendance, or the fact that Reagan didn't go at all. Nor, as it happens, did the previous Politico articles mention it. And of course they were called out for the omission, and of course they keep repeating it.

Because this is Politico, and at Politico the narrative matters more than the facts. And the narrative is that Republicans are presumptively godly, while Democrats are presumptively godless. None of which, according the guys who wrote the Constitution, is supposed to matter in the first place.


Roger said...

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of teh streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, suck it, PoliticHo.

Yastreblyansky said...

She actually does say Bush attended services "close to 30% of Sundays", which is actually an extrapolation of the figure you see around of "15 times a year" or "120 times during his eight years" for which no sources are ever offered, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly a reference to his weekends at Camp David (a phenomenal 487 vacation days in addition to the 490 days spent at the ranch in Crawford pretending to be a cowboy). How often Bush actually showed up for worship at the Evergreen chapel in Camp David is not recorded publicly, I think the pastor is not allowed to talk about it, but:

if the experience of past Camp David chaplains is any guide, Cash won't necessarily have the opportunity to form a pastoral relationship with Obama. "We used to tell people our job was to run like a five-star resort," said Patrick McLaughlin, who was chaplain at Camp David from 2002 to 2005, in an interview with Religion News Service. "One of the things you value when you go on vacation is peace and quiet." His contact with Bush outside worship services, McLaughlin said, was "very little."

Ken_L said...
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Ken_L said...
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Ten Bears said...

No relgious test. Those proudly proclaiming piety are if not Barely literate bare-footed rubes shysters and snake-oil salespersonages. The best way to deal with them is with one hand on your wallet... and the other a gun.

A pox on the planet, and a clear and present danger to my grandkids' survival.

Daro said...

I would say Obama is an agnostic (which is fine but it makes him a liar) at best and probably attends church when it's with some political peer who IS religious so he can be more buddy-buddy.

The New York Crank said...

I love Politico's focus. Really, really, ruh-eally love it.

The war continues in Afghanistan. The economy is heating up, but too many people are still working for substandard wages. Black kids are getting shot for no particular reason. The seas are rising due to climate changes. People are graduating from college owing the equivalent of a mortgage on a good sized house in many cities. And on and on.

And this schmuck at Politico tallies up the number of Sundays the president went to church?

Yours with extreme crankiness,
The New York Crank

Distortion not Noise said...

This is politico,why does it matter?

Victor said...

Yeah, Politico.
What a waste of a good concept!

Ten Bears said...

Hide Witch hide, the good folk come to burn thee;
They hide their keen enjoyment behind...
A perfect mask of duty.
There are no “gods”, only fairy tales. Fantasies to explain away the dark, justify sex with young children, and profit. You really don’t think the witch doctor really believes that tossing a virgin in a volcano will make it rain, do you? Nooo… tossing a virgin in a volcano keeps him in his cushy witch doctor gig, with the additional perk of spending a few quality end of life hours with the virgin – what…!? you thought the virgin, stoned to the bone on AmbienProzac, and Viagra and smiling all the way to the bottom, was still a virgin when the witch doctor tossed ‘em in? I’ve got some property to sell. Ocean-front. Cheap. Cash only, in small bills. You’ll love Idaho!

Recalling that in all legend lay a kernel of fact, reading the fabrications koranbible, and torah in larger, historical context with other fabrications lain down in stone it is in fact quite easy to afford “Intelligent Design” a measure of credibility. When chariots with wheels of fire flitting about, vast arks propelling the seeds of life across vast empty spaces, and fathers asking of their wives “be this my son, or that of a “giant?” are lain aside the physical record it isn’t all that far fetched to supposit that at some point in the past half-million years extra-terrestrial travelers – for whatever reason: pure science, sheer boredom, desperate survival, or profit – genetically interfered with the development of the proto-humans they found roaming the savannahs of Northern and Western Africa. Not only are we but fleas agitating the hide of a far greater organism, but some bastard’s abandoned science project, if not cattle, as well. Wrap the twelve percent of your brain you use around that.

This notion that the bastard is going to come back and rescue us… that as the blood of our adolescent squabbles over whose imaginary dog has the bigger dick rises to the horses’ bridle will come floating down out of the sky on a white horse with a thousand angels to carry away the chosen few, the faithful… Who are these “Chosen People”, these “faithful”? The genetically purest cattle (or pigs, as it is)? More accurately: just who do they think they are? Get this straight, these “Chosen People”, these “faithful”, can destroy the world – burn the forests, chop down the mountains, turn the air we breath into toxic gas and waters we drink into vast garbage reservoirs… can drop their fucking bombs and burn the screaming babies
and at the last moment, the moment the world is utterly destroyed, after the bloodbath, some spectral being with whom they’ve entered into some kind of “special” contractual obligation is going to float down out of the sky and carry them away.

Uh-huh. To what?

Far the more likely thousands upon thousands of cavernous spacecraft, vast slaughter-houses piloted by ravenous vaguely reptilian creatures, replete with horns and folked tail, intent not as benevolent overseers of the demise of this world and our current iteration in human evolution and our children’s evolution onto the next iteration of humanity but as ravenous reptilian creatures… you know, hungry lizards. We did, afterall, invite them to “Come Eat!”

Glennis said...

I would say Obama is an agnostic

I'm fascinated to hear how you come by your certainty about the spiritual life of a man you've never met.

Anonymous said...

@Aunt Snow - not to mention his certainty of Obama's motivations for "lying" about his spiritual beliefs. Sheesh.

Tom Hilton said...

Aunt Snow & marindenver: I'll just add that anyone who is certain the President can't possibly be a believer is slandering Christianity every bit as much as they are slandering the President.