The more I think about the Bush quote from yesterday, the more it disturbs me. What does it say about this country that our President thinks that “common sense judges” are ones who “understand” that our rights are derived from God? Doesn’t it make more sense to appoint judges who understand that our rights are derived from the Constitution?
The thing that really disturbs me is that Bush’s moronic statement is an utter and complete affront to the establishment clause in the Constitution. The people who support “under God” in the pledge and other such ceremonial use of religious proclamations do so under the charade that such uses refer to small-G god, or in other words the supreme being of one’s own choosing. That still ignores the fact that there are some number of people who believe in no god or gods, or who believe in many gods, or believe in worshipping nature, or whatever. But what Bush said is even worse, because it’s obvious that he is in favor of appointing judges who are not only theists, but who believe in the same God that he happens to believe in, the God that prioritizes the rights that the Constitution happens to enumerate.
Of course, one wonders why, if the Protestant Christian God is a guarantor of various human and civil rights, he would let so many Christian societies in the past live with completely different sets of rights, or with no real rights whatsoever. Regardless of one’s religious belief, even a short tryst with the study of history tells us that the only rights we have are the ones we agree to guarantee to one another as human beings.
I don’t want to repeatedly slam religion, but I have no problem utterly savaging religious people when they strive to impose their beliefs on people who don’t share them. As someone who was raised Presbyterian, I imagine that Christian attempts to impose their agenda on the body politic of the United States are infinitely less offensive to me than they are to any number of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, or athiests who live in this country.
What’s the most deeply disturbing to me is that President Bush could issue an utternance like the one from yesterday knowing that it will cost him nothing politically. Indeed, the people who voted for Bush in the first place are probably utterly heartened at Bush’s definition of common sense. Is the Pledge issue itself a big deal? No, not really, but I’m certainly glad it came about because we’ve seen a lot of gutless or stupid politicians show their hands, and I haven’t liked what I’ve seen.