Today's column (Sat. Jan. 13, 2007) addresses issues surrounding Gov. Mitt Romney's Mormonism. While the overall motive of the article may be well taken, Rutten presents a seriously faulty view within his piece. Rutten asserts that America's "social sanity" and "sensible accommodation" are being "undermined" by the "demands of social conservatives." Begins Rutten,
THE Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem once remarked that in the Jewish hamlets of his native Ukraine there were only two people who really were serious about God. One was the local rabbi and the other was the village atheist ... (snip) ...
[W]e all get along fairly well because most people behave pretty much like the residents of Aleichem's shtetl, neither aflame with religious certainty nor insistent on unbelief.
This tacit arrangement is a deep expression of social sanity and makes possible not only the separation of church and state in a nation where faith flourishes, but also the unparalleled flowering of every sort of religious institution — devotional, educational and charitable — that is one of American culture's unique achievements.
Increasingly, though, this sensible accommodation is being undermined. It began with the demands by social conservatives — mainly evangelical Protestants and right-wing Catholics — that candidates for office and public officials make ritual obeisance to expressions of religious faith and conform themselves to a checklist of approved positions on issues ranging from abortion to capital punishment.
Rutten, again, is totally erroneous in his view. His premise is entirely backwards. Any "sensible accommodation" in this country has been upended by the relentless activism from social liberals, not from conservatives. For the past several years, an aggressive secular-progressive ideology, largely supported by liberals, has sought to reconstruct the traditional American cultural and social landscape. To illustrate this, let me ask:
Which ideology began being "insistent" that an unborn human can legally be exterminated at any point, and for any reason, through all nine months of pregnancy?
Which ideology seeks to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" from our coins? (BTW, "In God We Trust" made its first appearance on U.S. currency in 1864, during the Civil War (source). "Under God" was added to the Pledge over 50 years ago, in 1954. (In July 2006, House Republicans overwhelmingly voted in favor of the "Pledge Protection Act" (H.R. 2389). House Democrats voted overwhelmingly against it. (Dems voted 'nay' 158-39. Reps voted 'yea' 221-8.)))
Which ideology has been so "insistent" on the legalization of gay "marriage"?
Which ideology is behind the wish to remove decades-old monuments from public viewing? (this) Which ideology is behind the desire to remove a tiny cross from the 48-year-old Los Angeles County seal? (this)
Which ideology is responsible for providing legal defense to an organization whose stated mission is to oppose age-of-consent laws that make sex with children a crime? (We're talking about this.)
The "demands by social conservatives" stem not from a desire for some "ritual obeisance to expressions of religious faith." Rather, conservatives are responding to the uncompromising activism of progressive liberals who have sought to convert American culture. Not long ago, unrestricted abortion, gay "marriage," and the removal of Christmas nativity scenes were unheard of in this country. And the above examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
The bottom line: Rutten, driven by an anti-conservative bias, has it backwards. Social conservatives have not "undermined" "social sanity" and any "sensible accommodation." Secular-progressive liberals have, and the evidence shows it!