Friday, April 13, 2007

Religious Conspiracy?

In a piece in today's New York Times (unfortunately inaccessible to non-members), Paul Krugman makes a fairly persuasive claim that the theocratic wing of the Christian right is trying to sneak its way into political power.

He points out that, for example, 150 grads of Regency University (founded by Pat "Blame Them Fags" Robertson) now work in the Bush administration and that many of them and their fellow believers seem to be there because of what they believe, not because of what they know or can do competently.

Now, fundamentalists, Catholics, evangelicals, ecumenicals, premillenial dispensationalists, Unitarians, whatever, all have a right to serve their country. I'm not bothered by Christians in government any more than I'm bothered by atheists or agnostics or Zoroastrians. But I am bothered by people of whatever faith or anti-faith who take a government job not in order to serve the people as defined by their job description but rather so that they can advance some cause hostile to their job description. I mean, Robertson and Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell both said after Katrina that the people of the Gulf Coast took a beating because God was passing judgment on America's tolerance of abortionists, feminists, and gays. Do we really want people who "think" like that involved in storm disaster relief? It would be like putting Josef Mengele in charge of the Tel Aviv Children's Hospital. (I have no idea if any Robertson-Falwell true believers were involved with Katrina relief efforts, but it would explain a lot about FEMA's response, yes?)

On the other hand, and it's not like this is any consolation, Krugman may be putting too much emphasis on both the religious dimension and on the degree of coordination of all this. Bush and Bushies seem to have a particular fondness for appointing people they like whether or not they're likely to be any good at the job--Alberto Gonzales, Don Rumsfeld, Michael Brown, Harriet Miers, et al. And you can only like someone if you know them, so it could be that all the graduates of Bob Jones, Liberty, Regent, etc. working in the Bush administration aren't there as part of a sneaky religious movement but simply because they're part of the general embrace of cronyism and contempt for government that underlies so many of this administration's hiring decisions.

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