Thursday, October 13, 2005


George Monbiot argues that religion (often confused with a belief in God) does not necessarily correlate with moral values. Any Bush-watcher would regard this thesis as a no-brainer. Could there be anyone less moral than this rabid, God-driven fundamentalist who—with a lot of help from his friends­—hijacked our government and is busy destroying the world?

But Monbiot, at least in my opinion, oversimplifies. He talks about “God” as if this were a universally agreed-upon concept. It isn’t. Certainly Bush’s god of violence and damnation and the god of his two Catholic missionaries are polar opposites. They could only be aspects of one entity if that entity were massively schizophrenic. “Religion,” too, means different things to different people. I doubt if any two of us would agree even in broad outline on what it means or how it applies to our lives.

It’s important to recognize these differences. When the far right claims ownership of God, and talks about “religious” values, what are the referring to? Certainly nothing that ordinary decent folk would want to have much to do with. And maybe—just maybe—if we can make the difference clear, we can win back all those good, sincere people who’ve been duped into believing that, when Bush talks about God, or religion, he’s talking about something they hold in common. He isn’t.

A wave to Peter for this!

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