From the people who brought you the soft pretzel.
Ms. Quinn writes on religion, apparently. I have only gleaned the occasional graf from her work, enough to know that she is in unfamiliar territory and can’t help but condescend even as she pretends to understand. But this piece on the hate mail she receives from atheists is, if not enlightening exactly, at least interesting. (Which is to say, if you can’t inform, at least entertain.)
I believe, sadly, that religion plays a huge roll in political campaigns. Republicans use the dog whistle of God every chance they get. Romney uses it, though he must be careful as a Mormon, because so many evangelicals do not believe Mormons are Christians. But depressing and un-American as it may be, one’s faith continues to make a big difference in how people view candidates.
Obama is a declared Christian and — as I pointed out — he makes it clear as often as he can. He is also a politician who is facing a tight race in which religion could determine who wins.
It would be to his political advantage to mention his faith. He doesn’t have to pander. But he could let those voters, some 85 percent as I have mentioned, know that he shares in their beliefs.
I hope that this will not be as important four years from now. But it is important today .
Reaction to my post was interesting, indeed.
The response I received from atheists, agnostics and humanists rivaled some of the most hateful, vicious and ad hominem mail I receive when Christians are inflamed by my comments. They don’t just say they disagree with me. They say they hope I burn in hell. One of the more imaginative ones said he hoped my car turned over, the gas tank exploded and I would burn up and go to hell.
But atheists! Agnostics! Humanists! Where did all this rage come from? They’ve taken a page from the Christians.
Really? They needed Christians to teach them to hate? Give the poor atheists a little credit. I am perfectly willing to accept that atheists are bright enough to learn at least that without the aid of Christian pedagogy. After all, as J. Budziszewski has shown us, there are things we simply can’t not know.
And didn’t it intrigue her just a little that atheists would be consigning her to hell? Perhaps they were just being ironic and she missed it.
(Oh, and I think more than just evangelicals question whether Latter-day Saints are Christians in the traditional and creedal sense, but that’s another quibble.)
Quinn goes on to say that she doesn’t receive the kinds of hateful responses from Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists that she receives from atheists and Christians.I was shocked to hear this. I would have thought that those blistering What’s the matter with those flipping Buddhist? columns of hers would have inspired a self-immolation or two. Obviously I’m mistaken.
Now I don’t doubt that Christians write nasty stuff to her. Christians have been in the nasty-stuff-writing business for 2,000 years, ever since St. Graffito of Milan wrote “Diocletian Sucks” on a vomitorium wall. I almost shot her an e-mail once, but I couldn’t think of a word that rhymed with ordinary.
Which is not to say that Quinn has nothing to contribute to the world of opinion journalism. If you look up “Sally Quinn Quotes” you will find:
Most of the people who live in Washington come from other places and you can learn something from them.
Every poll shows that most journalists are Democrats.
and my favorite:
I had cottage cheese for lunch and a glass of wine when I got home tonight.
(To be fair, such banal commentary could be culled from even even Samuel Johnson’s work if someone wanted to make him look silly. The question is, why would someone want to make Sally Quinn look silly?)
Now I know I’m in over my head here. After all, I’m not talented enough to write for the Washington Post, and Quinn is, and so I can only come across as another Net gnat to be swatted away. But I do wonder why some people enter cage matches armed only with an upturned nose and then complain that those around them smell.