Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday's Argus Leader Voices: Dakota Wesleyan Dean gets it; Pitts' piece is the pits

Today's Sioux Falls Argus Leader featured a stellar opinion piece by Robert G. Duffett, Dean of Dakota Wesleyan University.

Faith, politics challenged Founders, too is a fine overview of the thinking behind our Constitution: "For them the role of theology was conscience - not controller - of state or federal law."

When it comes to today's divisive issues like abortion, Duffett shows the intellectual emptiness of those who claim that religious voices have no place in public debate. But he understands that public policy must find common ground and not enshrine a particular religion:

"Surprising to some, [the Founders] would not reject insights from religion. Democracy, they thought, needed a vital church to produce moral citizens... They knew and frequently cited the Bible in their writings... Yet best science, medical practice, philosophy, sound reasoning and precedence from British law would influence more heavily their perspective than arguments from religion. Any law must stand primarily on moral reasons from these sources."

Oh, and before you write off Duffett as some right-wing religion guy, Dakota Wesleyan is home to the [George] McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service.

Meanwhile, Pulitzer Prize winning editorialist Leonard Pitts is becoming a sad charicature of loopy liberalism. Pitts is capable of some great stuff, and some of his columns that have touched on religious issues have shown understanding and depth. But of late all he can do is call names, as in today's rant against Republicans, Be very afraid: Events during the past decade show Americans - and the GOP - live in fear .

These days all Pitts can do is sputter the usual stuff about racism, fear, and other assumptions of malign motives. It's the basic cant of "Liberals think, and Conservatives just emote," which has to be the most majestic example of projection in the universe.

It seems that Republicans have created an America based on "fearing Muslim terrorists, Muslim-Americans, Latino immigrants, gay people, black people, even 'salespeople' if they say 'Happy holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas.' Some of us see socialists around every street corner... has the drumbeat of fear ever been as intense and unrelenting as it's been since that awful morning in September?"

Got that? The reaction to a long-planned terrorist attack that killed thousands on our own soil, disrupted world air travel and caused ecomonic havoc was just silly emotion - and that's the only reason that "some of us" object to gay marriage, critique socialism or dare to prefer one holiday greeting over another.

Too bad Duffett only gets some local play, while Pitts is syndicated.

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