Seven Quick Takes (6/4/10)

Seven Quick Takes (6/4/10) June 4, 2010




I have an opinion piece up at The Huffington Post criticizing the Dalai Lama’s recent op-ed in The New York Times. One quick quote from the piece: 

To praise individual parts of [religious sects’] morality in isolation, as the Dalai Lama wishes to do, is to do their beliefs a disservice.



While on HuffPo’s Religion tab, I ran across this dreadful article on spirituality. Not only does the author water down the definition of ‘spiritual’ until it’s a synonym for ‘nice,’ but, if you read the comments, she claims to be proud of ‘refusing to use labels’ when someone tries to call her on it.


That article was a response to this much better one. The author is absolutely right to argue that ‘spiritualism’ takes all the certainty of religious belief and mixes it with a self-centered and self-indulgent worldview. The worst of both worlds! 


Very upset by Elizabeth Scalia’s First Things piece on the Sister McBride excommunication. I am disturbed by the harsh, Manichean line she draws between ‘nearly certain death’ and ‘certain death,’ allowing treatment only at the last possible moment, which ‘nearly’ guarantees its futility.
How horrible to imply that the ‘selfishness’ of the woman seeking the abortion may have robbed countless individuals of the lessons they might have learned from her death. 

I’m not sure I agree with The Faith Heuristic’s argument that atheism is spread by postmodernism (based on this study). The statistics in that paper look extremely loosey-goosey. No randomization of treatment (since majors can’t be assigned to subjects) so to infer that any correlation is causal is quite farfetched.



Obviously, in the age of televised confirmation hearings, no question is too tangential when it comes to Supreme Court nominees. But all the same, I am getting very tired of articles analyzing what Kagan’s Judaism will bring to the Court. I know it’s going to be a Court of six Catholics and three Jews, and I don’t care. Let me know when they get back to judicial philosophies.
Luckily, aside from the above, it’s been a good few weeks for rhetoric about the judiciary. First there was Souter’s magnificent graduation address at Harvard, and now, in an effort to hurt Elena Kagan, RNC Chairman Michael Steele has inadvertently brought a wonderful quotation by Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall back into the public eye.

“The government [the Founding Fathers] devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite “The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.”

[Seven Quick Things is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]

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