Stat Counter

View My Stats

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Best and The Brightest?

Texas senator Ted Cruz graduated with the highest honors from Princeton and Harvard Law. Doctor and presidential candidate Ben Carson was a leading neurological surgeon at Johns Hopkins after receiving his medical degree from U. of Michigan. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal graduated from Brown and was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford.

These three brilliant men are completely ignorant about almost every important social issue: gay marriage and other LGBTQ rights; health care; evolution; a woman’s right to choose. None of them acknowledge the scientific evidence of man-made climate change. They cling steadfastly to the wrong side of almost every significant issue of our time.  

While these facts may show the defects of our educational system, they certainly can be explained by something else these men have in common. They all claim to be guided in their beliefs by their strong Christian faith. (You can add other presidential candidates to this category: former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former Texas governor Rick Perry, although their college careers didn’t match the other group for documented brilliance.)

In our country, religion has had a spotty history vis a vis Progress. Our founding fathers were “deists,” that is they shared the Enlightenment Era’s attitude toward religious belief. They were skeptical of the power of churches, but asserted a general belief in God. Before accepting the new Constitution they insisted on an amendment to protect the right to pray freely, but also included the assurance that no particular faith could be established as the preferred religion of the government.

Ever since then, many people have looked to their faith for guidance as to the most critical and long lasting divisive issue we have ever faced: race. During the slavery debate, the Bible was cited by both sides for support and provided emotional succor to the most adamant positions for and against slavery. Abolitionists preached from northern pulpits, and many churches provided sanctuary on the underground railroad. But in the south and elsewhere, preachers in other pulpits were equally passionate about the righteousness of their cause and equally certain that God and His Bible approved of slavery. Lincoln observed both sides could not be right. He urged that a God that disfavored freedom was not worthy of belief. 

The Catholic Church has historically been vocal as the most conservative on all of these issues. This church calls itself “catholic” but that is contrary to the word with a “small c” which is defined as including a wide variety of things; all-embracing.” Synonyms include: universal, diverse, broad-based, eclectic, liberal, comprehensive, all-embracing, all-inclusive. This is the opposite of the policies of the Roman Catholic Church.

The same is true of most “organized churches” not just Christian ones. Any religion can be used to justify intolerance and the antonyms of “catholic” values.  

The Constitution also created three branches, and although the branches were “co-equal” they intended a division of power: The Legislature passes the laws, the Judicial insures that the laws conform to the Constitution, and the Executive enforces the laws that pass muster.

None of those brilliant students who are now running for president seem to understand the fundamental rules that are at the foundation of our freedom. This is odd considering that their they claim to be adherents to “fundamentalist” religions. The First Amendment referred to above also requires toleration of non-religious beliefs, i.e., atheists. This resulted in the Supreme Court’s ruling prohibiting organized prayer in public schools, another issue these brilliant candidates complain of in their ignorance. 

Harvard Law Prof. Alan Dershowitz called Ted Cruz one of his most brilliant students. Wow! Cruz objects to a majority of SCOTUS justices interpreting the ACA Act, and the finding of "Equal Protection" for same-sex marriage. And he wants to revoke lifetime appointments. Amazing, the scholar Cruz didn't seem to find fault when the Court ruled in Citizens United or the Second Amendment cases.  

These geniuses also mislabel themselves as “conservative.” The dictionary definition of this word is “a person who is averse to change and holds to traditional values and attitudes.” This apparently doesn’t apply to our founders’ wary attitude toward religion or their enlightened reliance on science over faith. 

Although those other brilliant men were also flawed in their inability to live up to their asserted value that “all men are created equal,” much less to conceive that the concept of equality must apply to women and people of other races, still they were far more enlightened than the best and the brightest that the Republican Party can produce in 2015. 

No comments:

Post a Comment