Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times, demonstrated last week that he is ignorant of religion, bigoted against evangelical Christians, and paranoid to boot. Those qualities–the first two of which unfortunately characterize all too much of the mainstream media, and the third of which is growing–have gotten Keller some well-deserved raspberries from folks who know better. The best yet is from writer and editor Anthony Sacramone at his blog Strange Herring. He gives three answers to each of Keller’s questions–here are the first two to wet your appetite:
1. Is it fair to question presidential candidates about details of their faith?
a. Yes, assuming it is a fair-minded attempt to accumulate either biographical information—better insight into what has informed a candidate’s worldview—or to determine whether answers to questions that faith provides are also answers to questions most people assume science or history or common sense provides.
b. No, because that is private, and you’re only trying to ridicule me and thereby discourage other Christians from running for public office, which is their right.
c. Don’t worry, Bill: I’m an atheist just like Than Shwe.
2. Is it fair to question candidates about controversial remarks made by their pastors, mentors, close associates or thinkers whose books they recommend?
a. Yes, assuming it is, again, to get a better idea of what has influenced candidates’ thinking and whether they can think for themselves. If the questioner believes every Christian takes as Holy Writ every word that drops from a minister’s or priest’s lips, or for that matter, that drops out of text written by Martin Luther, John Calvin—or, God help us, John Hagee—then he is an idiot and should probably not be asking these questions of anyone.
b. No, because what goes on within the walls of a church is fit only for members/believers, and can only be misconstrued by outsiders.
c. Don’t worry, Bill: I’m an atheist just Benito Mussolini.
Check out the rest, and don’t miss his turn-about-is-fair-play questionnaire for nontheists–again, a couple to get you to read them all:
1. Do you think that anyone who believes in the supernatural is delusional? If so, do you believe they should be treated medically? Do you believe they should be allowed to adopt children?
2. Do you think anyone who believes in six-day special creation should ipso facto be barred from holding public office?
There are fifteen, and they are priceless.