Sunday, June 24, 2007

Faith Hijackers

[posted by Callimachus]

Can you hijack something that is unmoved? Some think so.

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois said Saturday that the religious right had “hijacked” faith and divided the country by exploiting issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and school prayer.—“But somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together,” Mr. Obama said. “Faith started being used to drive us apart. Faith got hijacked.”

I'm not aware of "togetherness" or "civic cohesion" being part of the definition of "faith," or inherent in its roots, in the religious sense of the word. The trust or compact there is between a person and his god or gods. That may or may not be a political virtue. No hijacking is required to make a Fred Phelps, say, or an Osama bin Laden. You may deplore these things, but it is ridiculous to pretend that faith must have any beneficial civic "use."