Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Comments on the Sacred and the Profane


(Studio) 5 Democrat president candidates campaign in New Hampshire. Ex-Georgia Governor Lester Maddox denounces ex-Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Carter shrugs off attack. His press secretary says being called liar by Maddox is like being called ugly by a frog.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite

That first link shows my age because I remember when it happened. Thanks to Google I found the same quip has a good many more hits regarding a later use by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle during his investigation of Tom DeLay.
"This is so typical. This is criminalizing, or an attempt to criminalize politics. We have a runaway district attorney in Texas," Mr. DeLay said.

Mr. Earle said of the leader's comments: "Being called partisan and vindictive by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog."

Christopher Hitchens' remarks regarding the wrath of the great unwashed among Muslims being fanned and stoked by the great unwashed of their Christian counterparts, make a wonderful lark of a read.

This illustrates how religion earns a bad name for itself. It is fitting that one of the world's most articulate ingrates says so well a pox on both your houses.
...the man who modestly considers himself the vicar of Christ on Earth maintained a steady attack on the idea that reason and the individual conscience can be preferred to faith. He pretends that the word Logos can mean either "the word" or "reason," which it can in Greek but never does in the Bible, where it is presented as heavenly truth. He mentions Kant and Descartes in passing, leaves out Spinoza and Hume entirely, and dishonestly tries to make it seem as if religion and the Enlightenment and science are ultimately compatible, when the whole effort of free inquiry always had to be asserted, at great risk, against the fantastic illusion of "revealed" truth and its all-too-earthly human potentates. It is often said—and was said by Ratzinger when he was an underling of the last Roman prelate—that Islam is not capable of a Reformation. We would not even have this word in our language if the Roman Catholic Church had been able to have its own way. Now its new reactionary leader has really "offended" the Muslim world, while simultaneously asking us to distrust the only reliable weapon—reason—that we possess in these dark times. A fine day's work, and one that we could well have done without.

Seems to me when a man becomes Pope he is better off leaving erudition at the door. Or at least limit the audience to those who can grasp the point. A little understanding is a dangerous thing, indeed.

Come to think of it, the same point applies to Hitchens as well. He may be hell on wheels in a debate, but sinks like a lead weight when it comes to anything approaching charity. Hitchens' accusing the Pope of harming a discussion is like, as the saying goes, a frog's calling someone ugly.

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