Friday, January 21, 2005

Lessons in political naivete 

Doug Wilson is at it again. In this post about the president's inauguration, he complains once again, about the President's "religious syncretism". He then complains about evangelicals taking pastors, academics and the like out to the woodshed for this kind of "syncretism" instead of the president, demonstrating a lack of theological backbone. A number of reactions:

1. I wish that evangelicals could take some of their own out to the woodshed more often and with greater effect. I think the boundaries of orthodoxy could be better defended if we did so (i.e. the "openness of God" debates among many others).

2. Wilson has never seriously addressed what he would like to see done with the many different religions and adherents to those religions in our midst. Maybe I'm being a dense former sorter operator and missing something he has written but I have yet to see it. The last time I checked, the president was the leader of all Americans, not just a certain sect within our borders.

3. I'm not sure either what his vision of proper inauguration ceremonies and speeches would look like, but then again, one doesn't have to think too hard about these sort of these things if one is a distant backbencher who has shown no inclination in deepening his political thought process.

4. On one very important note though, he is right. The day after the inauguration, the president and other government officials didn't need to have an interfaith prayer meeting at the National Cathedral with representatives from different religions participating in a prayer service in a Christian house of worship. It would have been refreshing (TAKE NOTES MR WILSON. This is how a person finishes what they start.) to have seen a broadly Christian worship service or even a more evangelical or even Methodist service done. Seeing as how the president is an evangelical and a Methodist, it would have been appropriate or at least OK to start excluding other religions from participating in a public civic religious service. If past presidents could choose to have a chaplain start the inauguration ceremonies with a prayer, then I think the president should be able to have some say in how the day after the inauguration would be celebrated as well. The president is a Christian and as I stated earlier, I would see no problem with his wanting a Christian prayer service the day after the inaugural festivities.

Mr. Wilson's comments, though they may be right in a vacuum, nevertheless are breathtakingly naive in the real world. He expects better of the president. I expect better from him in return.

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