When will the New York Times put an end to this kind of stupidity:
My occasion for spending a little time once again with the old Communist was Barack Obama’s now-famous comment at an April 6 San Francisco fund-raiser. Obama was explaining his trouble winning over small-town, working-class voters: “It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” This sent me to Marx’s famous statement about religion in the introduction to his “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”: “Religious suffering is at the same time an expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opium of the people.” Or, more succinctly, and in the original German in which Marx somehow always sounds better: “Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes.” … And it’s a particularly odd claim for Barack Obama to make. After all, in his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention, he emphasized with pride that blue-state Americans, too, “worship an awesome God.” What’s more, he’s written eloquently in his memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” of his own religious awakening upon hearing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “Audacity of Hope” sermon, and of the complexity of his religious commitment. You’d think he’d do other believers the courtesy of assuming they’ve also thought about their religious beliefs. But Obama in San Francisco does no courtesy to his fellow Americans. Look at the other claims he makes about those small-town voters.
I have to give another hat tip to Andrew Sullivan:
Bill Kristol, trained in the same politics as Hillary Clinton, now argues that Obama’s remarks in a fundraiser q and a are the “real Obama” – and that his voluminous writing and speaking about the sincerity of his own religious faith, and of others, are presumably “masks.” … Is this indistinguishable from saying, along with Marx, that all religion is an obviously false consciousness caused by the alienation of the world-historical class struggle? No, it obviously isn’t. It’s saying that economic distress does often in human history express itself in more rigid forms of religion, more reactionary cultural identification, less tolerance of “the other.” Since large swathes of human history have shown this to be true – and perfectly arguable without any materialist understanding of religion – Kristol is deliberately distorting to paint Obama as a cynical manipulator of religious faith for political ends, rather than as a genuine Christian. He’s calling him a lying, Godless communist. You could argue, as Kristol and others hilariously will, that Lou Dobbs has no base, that fundamentalist Christianism has no problem with “the other” in a globalized world, that dozens of state constitutional amendments banning civil marriages that had never and would never have taken place were just spirited forms of civic engagement, rather than scapegoating or politicking on resentment. You could also argue, as others legitimately will, that spasms of economic distress and social discontent are unconnected. Hey: Weimar had nothing to do with Hitler. But Kristol is doing something much more pernicious: he is saying that Obama is faking faith, that his very profession of faith is a “mask” that is slipping, and that Kristol is the person to determine whose faith is genuine and who is a fraud. A non-Christian manipulator of Christianity is calling a Christian a liar about his own faith. That’s where they’ve gone to already. And it’s only the middle of April. What are they so scared of?
Thank you Andrew! With that – the only thing left to say is that it is time that the New York Times end their experiment with Kristol. The man is almost as partisan as he is worthless.