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Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Godless Columnist

More Bright nonsense, this time from Ben McIntyre in the Times o' London. This article, however, is actually a Bush-basher, disguised as an article on Brights.

The term Bright was coined, consciously imitating the gay rights movement, in reaction to the steady spread of religious politics under George W. Bush.

It may well have been, but without much cause, unless you're a Chicken Little "the-sky-is-falling ewww icky god talk!" dim type of Bright.

In Bush's Washington, "godless" is the supreme insult, for religion suffuses every aspect of this presidency...In large parts of the US, thanks to the atmosphere fostered by the Bush Administration, candidates for office, whether as police chief, judge or senator, are happy to declare their beliefs, while millions of Americans who don't believe, like gays of an earlier era, are obliged to remain silent. There is nothing so overt as "Brightbashing", yet there is an underlying assumption of shared belief, a one-nation-under-Godism that reveals itself in subtle ways. When I covered the last presidential election, I lost count of the number of times I heard a candidate thank God for the weather.

Man, this kind of crap pisses me off. Look, this has been the case in the US for decades, if not centuries. Hard cheese, I know, but there it is. It has nothing to do with Bush. It was much, much worse under Reagan, when the Religious Right were much more of a force. In fact, almost everything I've heard of Bush's religion comes from newspaper columnists sneering at it; I've heard very little about religion from Bush himself (disregarding the weeks immediately after 9/11).

What really disgusts me about this is not the sniping at Bush, or religion, but the fact that someone who obviously knows so very little about the US is paid to write authoritatively on the subject for the Times. And that wouldn't even bug me if this were not seen over and over and over again, in all sorts of foreign venues. Really, it has been an eye-opener. If only Australia were a world power! I could make my living concocting nonsense about it ("In summer, Sydney families enjoy a barbecue of kangaroo caught in the city's vast Centennial Park, roasted over Wollemi Pine coals.")

(And I've not heard "godless" used as an insult since Les Nessman denounced the "godless tornadoes". Seems rather inappropriate for our current foes. But then I'm not a Bush insider, either.)

Not content with the easy target, McIntyre takes on Blair.

British Brights have a far easier time, of course, yet there are hints that Mr Blair, if not actually a Brightophobe, is not exactly an advocate of Bright rights either. His prewar rhetoric was awash with rectitude, giving the impression that the angels were not just on his side, but driving the tanks.

These two sentences alone should be enough to damn [look! I used a religious concept!] McIntyre into irrelevance. Where does this absurd statement come from? Can anyone really say with a straight face that Blair holds a Manichaean viewpoint? Really, at this point he's just throwing any old words down on paper. Do they look good? Must be true, then!

Via Doctor Frank.