September 30, 2011

New York Times Editor: Bigot


Does Bill Keller, Editor of the New York Times have any idea why his editorial “Asking Candidates Tougher Questions about Faith,” contains the very essence of bigotry? He writes “We have an unusually large number of candidates, including putative front-runners, who belong to churches that are mysterious or suspect to many Americans.”

He then proceeds to specifically, and quite intolerantly, single out Roman Catholicism and Mormonism. Regarding Mormons, Keller glibly asserts that he didn’t care if Mitt Romney “wore Mormon undergarments beneath his Gap skinny jeans.” Continuing with his laundry list of Mormon beliefs that he doesn’t care about, he then magnanimously acknowledges to the reader that, after all, he “grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ.”

This is followed by his authoritative announcement that “every faith has its baggage, and every faith holds beliefs that will seem bizarre to outsiders.” He suggests “If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us would that affect your willingness to vote for him? ..”Does he talk to the aliens? Do they have an economic plan?” He laments that “when it comes to the religious beliefs of our would-be presidents, we are a little squeamish about probing too aggressively.”

He calls for that aggressive probe. “This year’s Republican primary season offers us an important opportunity to confront our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life – and to get over them.”

Keller thus, and quite unscrupulously, has declared war on private faith in the pages of the New York Times. No doubt Keller would not have exempted Catholic President John F. Kennedy from such questions as to whether he believed in the Eucharist.

Questions regarding the influence of religion on a candidate’s moral and ethical positions are absolutely appropriate as, for example, it is perfectly acceptable to ask a Catholic candidate about abortion or a Mormon candidate about gay marriage. Asking a Muslim candidate about Islamic sharia customs that permit honor killings and child marriages

are tough but fair questions. Such matters pertain to important political and social issues that affect our own times.

It is, however, inappropriate and indeed vulgar and rude to engage in snide criticism over what a person believes, how a person worships, or what rituals a person observes as part of their faith. Such matters deserve to be approached with sensitivity, respect, and care. It’s one

thing, for example, to criticize the Islamic Jihad but it’s an entirely different matter to criticize a Muslim for observing their Hajj to Mecca, their Mosque ritual, or their dietary customs.

Keller exposes religious beliefs and ritual practices to such derision and scorn. His smug and arrogant tone regarding religious observance reflects contempt for religious faith, a contempt that is completely acceptable and quite standard in many liberal circles. Indeed, I have personally and regularly witnessed liberals like Keller carry on mirthfully and maliciously when discussing religious practices at fashionable social gatherings. Their sense of moral superiority is truly insufferable.

The bigotry expressed by the New York Times editor is obvious and palpable. The editor calls out the Mormon ritual undergarments of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney but he would not have joked about whether the Orthodox Jewish Presidential candidate Senator Joseph Lieberman wore a traditional Jewish tsetse under his shirt. Keller accuses candidates Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum of affiliation with “fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity” which he claims raises “concerns about their respect for the separation of church and state, not to mention the separation of fact and fiction.

It is highly unlikely that Keller would have lodged the same dark innuendo against Jimmy Carter, an evangelical Christian president who often referred to having been born again. Would he have questioned the affiliations of two Protestant Ministers who sought the presidency, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton? Would he have questioned their ability to separate fact and fiction?

Would he have considered Barack Obama’s minister, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, to have been part of a fervid subset of Christianity? Not likely.


Editor’s Note: Sage Commentary welcomes well-written articles and opinion columns that analyze, defend, explore, and inform. Suitable topics include national and international events, traditional American values, Christian truth and values, truth or bias in the news, humor and Americana.

The above viewpoint article, received from, takes the New York Times to task for its intolerant editorial on the religion of GOP presidential candidates. Sage Commentary thanks for its contribution.