Favorite

Speaking in code 

Some years back, a wise friend of ours objected to the use of "Christian" as an adjective in phrases like "Christian schools." "Christian is a noun," she said. "Start talking about Christian schools, and before long you're talking about Christian plumbing." Promiscuous use of "Christian" is only one way the Religious Right bends the language to its purposes. When trying to appear unbiased, the Religious Righters employ "faith," as in "[Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller] told more than 200 people attending a regional faith-based substance-abuse conference at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock that President Bush's support for faith-based groups is exciting." They fear that if they said what they really mean -religion-based groups, or, to be more precise, Christ-based groups - their intention of subverting the constitutional prohibition against establishment of religion would be too apparent, inviting litigation. One bold speaker at the North Little Rock conference did choose to confront the First Amendment directly, though. This was Clifton Mitchell, who bears the imposing title of "faith and community partnership coordinator for the U.S. Center for Substance Abuse." (If they'd managed to work "homeland security" in, that would be a masterpiece of governmental gobbledygook. It's close as is.) Mitchell said that some people get "hung up" on the separation of church and state. "Is there anybody out there who doesn't pay taxes?" he asked. The founders of this republic were "hung up" on separation of church and state, and so they guaranteed religious freedom in the Constitution, and all Americans benefit. That the Religious Right sees freedom as a hang-up speaks volumes. As for his rhetorical question, co-ordinator Mitchell misses the point majestically. That we all pay taxes - Muslim and Buddhist, atheist and agnostic, Jew and Christian - is exactly why we don't let the government use our tax money to promote beliefs we don't share. There's a saying about all hat and no cattle. Mitchell is all title. Up in Northwest Arkansas over the weekend, right-wing political activists gathered at a Wal-Mart of a church to talk about "values." The discussion was led by James Dobson, head of a group known officially as "Focus on the Family" and more familiarly as "Focus on the Republican Party." Dobson urged the crowd to "Vote Values." "Values" is code for a host of unsavory activities and beliefs - gay-bashing, racial prejudice, oppression of women, forced prayer in the schools, and so much more. For William Bennett, who styled himself a values czar, dropping large sums in casinos was a value. For George W. Bush, Dobson's choice in the presidential race, "values" seems to cover war, unemployment, and government handouts to the rich. Strange values, indeed. The country cannot stand much more of them.
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • A mayor stands up against freeway widening. No. Not in Little Rock.

    Another booming city, Indianapolis, fights ever wider urban freeways. Meanwhile, back in Little Rock .....
  • In the margins

    A rediscovered violin concerto brings an oft-forgotten composer into the limelight.
  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.
  • Arkansans join House vote to gut Americans with Disabilities Act

    Despite fierce protests from disabled people, the U.S. House voted today, mostly on party lines, to make it harder to sue businesses for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course Arkansas congressmen were on the wrong side.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28  

Most Viewed

  • Donald Trump is historically unpopular — and not necessarily where you think

    My colleagues John Ray and Jesse Bacon and I estimate, in the first analysis of its kind for the 2018 election season, that the president's waning popularity isn't limited to coastal cities and states. The erosion of his electoral coalition has spread to The Natural State, extending far beyond the college towns and urban centers that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. From El Dorado to Sherwood, Fayetteville to Hot Springs, the president's approval rating is waning.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Out of control

    • And Olphart - hey, That is a witty reply - good for you!

    • on February 17, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • Oh for god's sake - read the play - just read the play before going…

    • on February 16, 2018
  • Re: Out of control

    • Aloysius, Not even a large man with a bodyguard detail acting in a way intended…

    • on February 16, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation