Klugman on God
I'm a big Jack Klugman fan. Twelve Angry Men is one of my favorite movies. He was in some terrific Twilight Zone episodes. (I especially like that one with Jonathan Winters in the pool hall). And television definitely hit a high-water mark with Quincy.
But I must take issue with part of this brief essay from The Huffington Post:
I'll come back to what the movie says about God in a minute -- now I'm gonna get political for you. Remember, I'm a lifelong Democrat. Never vote any other way. And as a Democrat, I want to say this to the Democratic Party, "GOD IS NOT A REPUBLICAN!" Get that? Heard me clearly? Read it again. That's why I wrote it in capital letters.
We live in a religious country. Get over it. And not only that, but religion is not a superstitious bromide for the ignorant. There is tremendous wisdom, accumulated over centuries of deep thought, in all the major traditions, and all those folks who invest their time and energy in faith are NOT idiots. Why is this a political thought? Because our party has set itself up as the party that's against God, and as long as it does that, we will keep losing power. If we were to do all the same things we're doing now, however, and somehow extend an olive branch to the faithful, we could swing the Washington pendulum hard and fast to our side. Think about it. There are plenty of religious people who respect women's rights and believe in evolution - that's not the point. The point is, as Abraham Lincoln said, “Both sides pray to the same God.” God is not a Republican, and it's about time we gave Him equal opportunity on our platform.
For the purpose of this blog entry I will accept the premise that Democrats lose elections because they don't appeal to religious people.
My question is: what form does the olive branch take? The Democratic party believes in a strong separation of church and state. It believes that the decision to terminate a pregnancy should reside with the mother in most cases. It believes that science and rationality are sounder bases for public policy than religious faith. It believes in full civil rights for homosexuals. Granted, the party has not always been as steadfast in defense of these principles as it should have been. Individual Democrats might dissent from one or more of these ideas (or various other issues I could have listed). But the fact remains that these are things that Democrats have historically stood for. Does Klugman believe that Democrats should compromise these principles?
In what sense is the Democratic party hostile to God or religious people? Certainly they are hostile to using the government to promote particular religious ideologies, but any religious person who sees no distinction there is not someone we want to court. Has any Democrat of any prominence made statements hostile to religion? Has any Democrat proposed legislation that is hostile to religion? Is there any plank in the Democratic platform that is hostile to religion? I fear that Klugman has simply absorbed a standard Republican talking point (no doubt because of its frequent repetition.)
Democrats believe that religion is a personal matter and should not be used as the basis for public policy. If extending an olive branch to religious people means sacrificing that principle, then I would prefer to lose elections.