NYT: Hobby Lobby part of “this summer of a violent God”

posted at 12:01 pm on July 22, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Just when we thought we’d heard the limit of hysteria over the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, the Paper of Record reminds us that hysteria has no bounds … at least, no editorial bounds. The New York Times knew enough to carry Timothy Egan’s screed against religion on a Saturday, where fewer readers would notice it, but the sheer hilarity of Egan’s conclusion qualifies it for an award of some kind.

Most of the column consists of a dull recitation of arguments that all religious believers have heard throughout their lifetimes, which is that religion is the ultimate reason for all warfare — the 20th century experience to the contrary. Even some of the conflicts which Egan points out in his column are less about actual religious differences and more about tribalism, the current Gaza war in particular, and especially the “troubles” in Ireland which had much more to do with nationalism than with religion. Egan even reaches for the Boko Haram example, which implies some sort of equivalence between terrorism and religious faith in general that insults a vast number of believers all over the world. In essence, it’s just a more literate version of this argument.

Egan spends most of his time insisting that the world’s miseries can be reduced to simple blame on religious differences, including … the lack of an enforceable mandate for bosses to supply supposedly free birth control to their employees. Chalk it all up, Egan wrote, to “this summer of a violent God”:

The problem is that people of faith often become fanatics of faith. Reason and force are useless against aspiring martyrs.

In the United States, God is on the currency. By brilliant design, though, he is not mentioned in the Constitution. The founders were explicit: This country would never formally align God with one political party, or allow someone to use religion to ignore civil laws. At least that was the intent. In this summer of the violent God, five justices on the Supreme Court seem to feel otherwise.

It’s difficult to know where to begin with this nonsense. The founders never envisioned political parties at all, and the Constitution explicitly forbids the establishment of a state religion, a practice that had caused two centuries of dissension and conflict in England since Henry VIII’s break with the Catholic Church. That’s the only “explicit” treatment of religion, except for the mention of the Creator in the Declaration of Independence, in the two foundational documents of the United States. Moreover, the First Amendment doesn’t force religious believers to obey any law Congress passes; it forbids Congress from passing laws that intrude on free religious expression, and not just “worship.” If anything, the founders envisioned a nation which would be as free of mandates and regulations as possible in order to make sure that intrusion would be unthinkable rather than part of a debate about legitimate state interests.

But ignorance of American civics is really the least of Egan’s intellectual sins. Equating the limited Hobby Lobby decision with Boko Haram and ISIS is so vapid, so knee-jerk, and so downright ignorant and insulting that it’s a wonder anyone published it, let alone the New York Times. Ramesh Ponnuru skewers the “relentlessly stupid” argument itself:

Egan packs a lot of misunderstandings into a few words. The founders were not “explicit” about either of the propositions Egan claims they were; neither proposition follows from the fact that the Constitution does not mention God; even if either did, it would be implicit rather than explicit; and the justices did not “formally align God with one political party.”

My colleague at The Week, Damon Linker, drives to the heart of Egan’s intellectual failure with biting sarcasm. After exploring the possibilities of columns in this open letter to NYT’s editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal about how all neocons are Nazis and all liberals are Stalinists, Damon offers to write the ultimate New York Times column in the Egan ouevre:

All of history’s wars have been started and prosecuted by human beings. These wars have produced incalculable human suffering and well over 100 million human deaths (not to mention the pain experienced by other species and damage to the ecosystem as a whole). Perhaps we’d all be better off if we put ourselves out of our misery.

That’s right: maybe mass suicide is the way to a better world.

Some will say that this is a cure far worse than the disease. But is that really true? We’re all fated to die anyway. So what’s the difference in bringing on the inevitable a few years early? Just think of all the human and non-human suffering it could help us to avoid. And really, isn’t any less radical proposal to improve the world likely to be merely cosmetic?

Only mass suicide gets to the heart of the matter. Humanity is the problem, so humanity must be the solution.

I understand if you want to pass on this. I admit it maybe goes just a little too far. Though I must say, after reading Egan on religion, I’m hard-pressed to say precisely where my proposal crosses a line.

It’s a modest proposal, one might say in the sarcasm business. Be sure to read it all.


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Ungodly day for the NY Slimes

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Jimmy Carter’s judge just knocked obama’care’.

It’s a glorious day.

obama says “who, cares, I have a pen and I’m a bear on the loose?”.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Buy your own fuc*ing pills, males and females alike.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Bishop

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:05 PM

The New York Times knew enough to carry Timothy Egan’s screed against religion on a Saturday,
===============================

Now I’m P*ssed,….Polar Vortex Wrath #3, decends upon the NYT!!
(sarc)

canopfor on July 22, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Hey Barry, quit praying to yourself. It isn’t working.

ConstantineXI on July 22, 2014 at 12:05 PM

God is on the loose.

faraway on July 22, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Buy your own fuc*ing pills, males and females alike.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:04 PM

But how will Sandra Fluke win her California state senate seat if she has to pay for birth control out of her own pocket for the trains she’s pulling?

ConstantineXI on July 22, 2014 at 12:06 PM

It’s a bad week, domestic and int’l. Kerry, aka the Talking Horse, is getting nowhere. The ‘patrician’ hates it.

Now this

First Family believed to be in escrow…

— Drudge

Does that mean that Soros is selling them?

I wonder who would pay money for such shoddy goods?

They shouldn’t be in escrow. They should be in prison, or in Hell.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

WarOnMen – why dont Progressives want men to have access to Trojans?

faraway on July 22, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

He’s contemplating about the loss of freedom of/from religion, duhhh. You’re the reporter.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Keep your paints on. There is a little question about those two Irish tykes from ‘Central America’, that John Roberts adopted.

celtic warrior on July 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Where is obama’s speech about what IS (formerly known as ISIS) does to Christianity and Christians?

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Somebody needs a sense of humor transplant….stat!

ElectricPhase on July 22, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Lighten up Francis..

Tim Zank on July 22, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Q.Why do you Liberals hate Christianity?
A.You hater!

spiritof61 on July 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM

I recall there were quite a few summers of a violent God last century when KKK douchebags would burn crosses and kill blacks, actually it was spring, fall and winter too.

Say….which party had a former KKK member in the senate for over 50 years, Egan, was it the Greens or the Libertarians?

Bishop on July 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM

celtic warrior on July 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM

“Paints, pants, what difference does it make?” — cozmo

On Roberts, to Hades…no matter what else he decides on. He will be too cold in the hottest layer for his treason to the once free land.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:13 PM

He’s contemplating about the loss of freedom of/from religion, duhhh. You’re the reporter.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Duh… the cut line for the photo reads “Raising the bar for facepalms everywhere.” That’s right, I am the reporter, and I can read too.

Try learning how sometimes, it helps.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I’m agnostic so I chuckled openly.

I don’t expect I’ll suddenly get hit with a lightning bo

Bishop on July 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

NYT: Hobby Lobby part of “this summer of a violent God”

If there is a summer of a violent God, Egan’s beef shouldn’t be with Hobby Lobby it should be with the rabid stupid women upset that a Hobby Lobby employee has to limit herself to 16 kinds of contraception under the employer’s health plan.

Happy Nomad on July 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I always pictured God as more of a chartreuse.

Oh, you said violent.

Bat Chain Puller on July 22, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Duh… the cut line for the photo reads “Raising the bar for facepalms everywhere.” That’s right, I am the reporter, and I can read too.

The caption is for the thread, mostly.

Try learning how sometimes, it helps.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

This, from a friend, c/b harsh, but my nom doesn’t care. I have lots of flaws. Knowing how to read is not one of them.

Cheers!

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:16 PM

I don’t expect I’ll suddenly get hit with a lightning bo

Bishop on July 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Rube, learn how to read.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:17 PM

This, from a friend, c/b harsh, but my nom doesn’t care. I have lots of flaws. Knowing how to read is not one of them.

Cheers!

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:16 PM

It was nice to see you admit to being wrong. I respect that

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Lighten up Francis.

Your one rigid comment is precisely the image of the Catholic faith that the church wants to dispel.

Happy Nomad on July 22, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

He’s contemplating about the loss of freedom of/from religion, duhhh. You’re the reporter.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:10 PM

I think he’s actually swatting a mosquito.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on July 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Your one rigid comment is precisely the image of the Catholic faith that the church wants to dispel.

Happy Nomad on July 22, 2014 at 12:18 PM

You’ll go to hell for that suggestion.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

It was nice to see you admit to being wrong. I respect that

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Now you sound as unawake (nicely put) as liblikeaslave.

When wrong, I’m the first to admit it, and to apologize. In this case there was nothing of the sort to address.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Uh, face palm or not, that ain’t the Pope.

corona79 on July 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I think he’s actually swatting a mosquito.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on July 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

He might just try to stay awake, and he’d be forgiven.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Now you sound as unawake (nicely put) as liblikeaslave.

When wrong, I’m the first to admit it, and to apologize. In this case there was nothing of the sort to address.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Ok. Then I was wrong. how do you like them apples?

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Uh, face palm or not, that ain’t the Pope.

corona79 on July 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM

More coffee

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:21 PM

When you have nothing, throw bullshit. At least 33% of the electorate will buy it. And 51+% brought it twice. 2008 and 2012.

GarandFan on July 22, 2014 at 12:21 PM

That’s the only “explicit” treatment of religion, except for the mention of the Creator in the Declaration of Independence, in the two foundational documents of the United States.

“Attest William Jackson Secretary done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names…”

Also implicitly, “(Sundays excepted).”

Akzed on July 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Ok. Then I was wrong. how do you like them apples?

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Dude, all’s well. We’s not fightin’.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Uh, face palm or not, that ain’t the Pope.

corona79 on July 22, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Well. It looks like a little, fat man with a really big throne. Can anyone see a little boy under the chair?

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Dude, all’s well. We’s not fightin’.

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Ok… then forgitaboutit.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:23 PM

You’ll go to hell for that suggestion.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Well seeing that I’m a Protestant, you people pretty much think that’s where I’m headed anyway. Islam isn’t the only faith that claims to be the one and true religion.

Happy Nomad on July 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Lighten up … The Pope isn’t God. Not even a close second.

iceman1960 on July 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Dude has to wear all that gear just to get a simply eye test done?

Bishop on July 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

The problem is that people of faith often become fanatics of faith. Reason and force are useless against aspiring martyrs.

Thomas Paine was a fanatic of reason.

rbj on July 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Lighten up … The Pope isn’t God. Not even a close second.

iceman1960 on July 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

And he’s not even all that much of a Pope given that history shows us that God favors Italians over all other nationalities to lead a global faith.

Happy Nomad on July 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Violent God?

They don’t know the half of it (of course, they fail to consider the Religion of Peace).

You don’t mess with the One True Church or God’s Chosen People.

formwiz on July 22, 2014 at 12:29 PM

And he’s not even all that much of a Pope given that history shows us that God favors Italians over all other nationalities to lead a global faith.

Happy Nomad on July 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Jesus said . And on this Paisano I will build my church.”

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Dude has to wear all that gear just to get a simply eye test done?

Bishop on July 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Now that was funny!

iceman1960 on July 22, 2014 at 12:32 PM

‘Cuz, like, um, ya know, man has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Resist We Much on July 22, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Only mass suicide gets to the heart of the matter. Humanity is the problem, so humanity must be the solution.

I have long held that this seems to be the perfect solution for warmists-if mankind is such a disease on the face of the earth, eliminate it, starting with yourself.

But the original column is so hilarious, it really couldn’t appear anywhere other than the NYT-All the Lies that Fit Our Agenda.

talkingpoints on July 22, 2014 at 12:35 PM

By brilliant design, though, he is not mentioned in the Constitution. The founders were explicit: This country would never formally align God with one political party, or allow someone to use religion to ignore civil laws.

Does Egan know that, until 1833, the State of Massachusetts had its own – perfectly constitutional, at that time – state church and people could be fined (with a few exceptions) if they failed to attend?

Resist We Much on July 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Attest William Jackson Secretary done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names…”

Also implicitly, “(Sundays excepted).”

Akzed on July 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

And no one from that time would have felt the need to explicitly name Christianity in order to satisfy the doubting Thomases of a later age.

Doc Holliday on July 22, 2014 at 12:40 PM

“Yeah yeah yeah, dominos nabiscos dexatrim, I’ve heard this incantation a thousand times. I’m old and I just want go watch my show, can we get a move on please?”

Bishop on July 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM

“Yeah yeah yeah, dominos nabiscos dexatrim, I’ve heard this incantation a thousand times. I’m old and I just want go watch my show, can we get a move on please?”

Bishop on July 22, 2014 at 12:43 PM

You are straining my religious sensibilities and if it doesn’t stop I’m going to have to go to Daily Kos or the Huffington Post.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:47 PM

If I refuse to kill on your behalf, that makes me violent. Got it. Thanks.

Immolate on July 22, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Ed. I’m appalled that you would use The Holy Father for the front picture of this thread. He is not “facepalming,” it is a gesture of contemplation and prayer.

Absolutely disgusting.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I can’t tell you how funny that is to Christians.

Immolate on July 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

The founders never envisioned political parties at all, and the Constitution explicitly forbids the establishment of a state religion…

Let’s be accurate here, especially today, with a court ruling on the use of “state”.

The Constitution explicitly forbids the establishment of a FEDERAL religion. Many states at that time had explicit denominations as a “state” noted religion (not that it really meant anything) and those were ok, but not at the FEDERAL level.

Words have meanings, let’s please try and use them correctly. Thanks!

dominigan on July 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

War results in many fewer deaths than Obamacare death panels.

War can also significantly improve ability to live free, as opposed to the liberal utopia of having everyone be dependent on the few elites with all of the answers (so they think).

kirkill on July 22, 2014 at 1:02 PM

That’s the only “explicit” treatment of religion, except for the mention of the Creator in the Declaration of Independence, in the two foundational documents of the United States.

Of course you have to ignore HUNDREDS of documents written at that time discussing the writing of the Declaration of Independence AND the Constitution…

Thank you for the vivid example of building an argument on sand! You do understand the reference, right? Just because specific Bible verses aren’t quoted does not mean that the foundation isn’t resting on the Word. But you first have to understand the Word to see the references.

dominigan on July 22, 2014 at 1:04 PM

You are straining my religious sensibilities and if it doesn’t stop I’m going to have to go BACK to Daily Kos or the Huffington Post.

Walter L. Newton on July 22, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Fixed for accuracy.

dominigan on July 22, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Does Egan know that, until 1833, the State of Massachusetts had its own – perfectly constitutional, at that time – state church and people could be fined (with a few exceptions) if they failed to attend?

Resist We Much on July 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Not only that, church services (both Protestant and Catholic) were held in the House of Representatives until the Civil War.

Fenris on July 22, 2014 at 1:56 PM

The problem is that people of faith often become fanatics of faith. Reason and force are useless against aspiring martyrs.

Well, if he’s capable of drawing a moral equivalence between Hobby Lobby and “religious” violence, apparently reason has proven to be of no effect on this gentleman either. Evidently, one can be fanatical without faith.

LancerDL on July 22, 2014 at 2:09 PM

…whose pissing in everybody’s Cheerios this morning?

JugEarsButtHurt on July 22, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Egan spends most of his time insisting that the world’s miseries can be reduced to simple blame on religious differences, including … the lack of an enforceable mandate for bosses to supply supposedly free birth control to their employees.

You’re missing something here. The word difference. Foreign religions introduce different objectives for life and rules for living life. In order to proceed in a unified way toward the end objective, those differences have to go.

Another way of looking at it is that the author is a religious fanatic who believes there is one true religion and the others must go because they are keeping us from achieving our end.

Axe on July 22, 2014 at 8:42 PM

…whose pissing in everybody’s Cheerios this morning?

JugEarsButtHurt on July 22, 2014 at 2:36 PM

“Who’s” :)

Axe on July 22, 2014 at 8:43 PM

Does Egan know that, until 1833, the State of Massachusetts had its own – perfectly constitutional, at that time – state church and people could be fined (with a few exceptions) if they failed to attend?

Resist We Much on July 22, 2014 at 12:38 PM

I doubt it; not a lot of non-religious “Constitutional” conservatives hardly know that states insisted vigorously that religion was a matter to be left to the states.

Unrelated: there are three foundational documents, not two. The document that gave us “The United States of America”, the “perpetual Union” and “Congress” is the Articles of Confederation. The Articles even outlines the method by which the union could be changed by The Constitution, in section XIII.

And it says, in the prologue:

And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union.

Axeman on July 23, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Reason and force are useless against aspiring martyrs.

This is why atheist regimes are the best… why the Khmer Rouge was a glorious time for atheist communists to take over.

A mere 20% of the country died of starvation due to their very first idea… clearly reason is the course of action we all should be forced to take.

How else can we kill off 1/5th of the population; as is good and proper for any country?

Oh… I wasn’t supposed to remember the Khmer Rouge? Well I’m sure you’ll do better this time… shoot for 30%.

gekkobear on July 23, 2014 at 4:45 PM