November 25, 2006

"I mean no disrespect."

Says Andrew Sullivan, chided by a Mormon for his post about Mormon undergarments. Here's the post. Do you buy "I mean no disrespect"?

ADDED: And here's an earlier post. Sullivan is so sure of himself on the subject of religion. He seems to think he knows just where it's right to dish out contempt about religion. But his contempt is mostly for religious people who he thinks are too sure of themselves. [ADDED: But that is exactly his character flaw.] In this case, it seems that Mitt Romney's opposition to gay marriage makes it morally upright for Sullivan to attack Mormons:
Mitt Romney will surely provide a fascinating glimpse into the Christianist mindset in the coming two years. He will be the candidate for the Christianist right, but he's not a Christian. And many Christianists may well recoil at the man's Mormon faith.... I'm sorry if I have little sympathy for Romney's plight. Live by fundamentalism; die by fundamentalism.
I wonder how many people "recoil" at Sullivan's sanctimonious pronouncements about "Christianists." He's become so devoted to that word of his. Does he not notice how snide and hostile it feels even to people who are not fundamentalists?

AND: I just noticed that last-linked post is titled "The Mormon Question." Wow. Is that tone deaf!

ONE MORE THING: The word isn't "sacreligious," as Sullivan has it at the first link, it's "sacrilegious." The word is not related to "religion":
Sacrilege’s Latin etymon was formed of sacer, “sacred” and legere, “to gather or steal”; sacrilege is “the stealing of sacred things” or doing other violence to them.
AND ANOTHER THING: Lest you freak out and think that last thing is meant as more of a put down of Sullivan than it is. I'm just talking about etymology and spelling.

AND: Glenn Greenwald is such an idiot. Am I supposed to respond to this foolishness? Glenn, you moron, in case you didn't notice, Sullivan is mocking Mormons in general. That's what bothered me. I don't object to the word "Christianists" if it is used fairly to refer to something that is the equivalent of "Islamists." I use the word "religionists" myself. See here, here, here, and here. Words like this mean something and have a place. The key is to use them in the right place. I criticize Sullivan when he shows a hostility toward ordinary religious people who aren't trying to bully their way around the political world. There are distinctions to be made here. Why not take a little trouble to try to understand the person you are criticizing before you write, you disreputable slimeball? (And your writing is putrid.) [But I do love the pathetic jealousy of your post title.]

EVEN MORE: From the good Glenn, Glenn Reynolds, linking here:
WELL, YES. Glenn Greenwald is extraordinarily lame, even when he's writing under his own name.The problem with the term "Christianist" isn't that it adds "ist" to the end of a religion. It's that, by parallelling "Islamist," it is a deliberate attempt at conflating people who oppose gay marriage -- or, apparently, Madonna's schlocky posturing -- with people who blow up discos and mosques, and throw gay people off of walls. That's the kind of execrable moral equivalence engaged in by the Soviets and their proxies, and it's the sort of thing that Andrew Sullivan used to oppose eloquently, before he started to engage in it himself.
Indeed. And it should be noted that using "Islamist" is a way to avoid using the word "Muslim." The idea is to distinguish a dangerous subgroup from the much larger group of ordinary religious people. I see "Islamist," "Christianist," and "religionist" all as useful terms to refer to political actors who rely on religious ideology. But the usefulness of the terms depends on making careful distinctions. You have to be careful not to drift over into the expression of hostility toward a religious group, as I believe Sullivan has been doing with Mormons. More generally, he simply is so hot about the gay marriage cause that he apparently really is willing to express contempt for the groups that stand against it. I support gay marriage and am much more socially liberal that most religious people, but I think it is terribly important to be respectful toward people with religious beliefs.

UPDATE: I have a new post on the subject here.

230 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 230 of 230
Ann Althouse said...

trogdor: "I don't doubt that you realized that, but I thought your post was a tad misleading: you paraphrased Sullivan's response to the reader, not citing the specific objection to the photo, then invite your audience to read his entire original post and comment on how respectful it is as a whole."

What??? I paraphrased Sullivan? I quoted him! It's misleading because you're required to go over there and read the whole thing in context?

That's just a really weird thing to say trogdor (trolldor).

Which one or ones of the trolls here do you think are actually Glenn G sockpuppets?

Dave said...

"I'd be fighting with one hand tied behind my bag."

Bag? Or back?

Anyway, just wanted to add one comment. The hatred some have for the dtl's & Palladian's of the world is rather sad.

I don't pretend to understand either the reasons that people are gay or that other people hate gays, any more than I understand the reason that people are religious.

Unknown said...

Craig Ranapia:

I'm seriously thinking about deleting Andrew Sullivan from my RSS feed, because life is too short to waste time on hysterics of any stripe. And that, Mr. Sullivan, is the consequence you're going to have [to] take, if you want to play by the rules of blog-gutter.

No! Not that! Man, how much would THAT hurt Sullivan, knowing that he got deleted from Craig Ranapia's RSS feed!

Thanks, Craig, for causing me to laugh out loud.

Ann Althouse said...

Birkel: "You used a you in your final paragraph that struck me as quite odd. I hope you didn't take it that I found tenure or any other matter related to your job confusing. Rather, I find the people who make arguments about how you should argue confusing."

That "you" wasn't you. Don't worry. I understood that you were on my side.

Old Wacky Hermit said...

Thank you, Ms. Althouse, for standing up to counter Andrew Sullivan's intolerance. As a Mormon who wears the garments, I was gratified to see the comments section of this post not degenerate into a total Mormon-bash like so many other comment sections do on other blogs. I credit this to the respectful tone of your blog.

Sullivan got the picture of the garments from Wikipedia, but where did Wikipedia get it? The church does not distribute photos of the garments, and even the distribution center where you buy them doesn't have mannequins or even a catalog. The photos most likely came from the sort of protesters who congregate outside the Conference Center for our conference twice a year, waving garments in our faces and even wiping their rears with them. My experience with these protesters shows me that they are not sincere advocates of an opposing point of view, but angry people out to "get" Mormons out of personal animus. So Sullivan may think his source is totally unsullied by ulterior motives, but he would be wrong.

I don't hide my garments (other than to put clothes over them when out in public, but in that sense you hide your underwear too). If you walk into a locker room where Mormons are changing clothes, you too will see garments. They are not a secret. But they are sacred, and I appreciate people's discretion in publishing pictures of them.

Rendell said...

Ohioanne,

Clearly the copyright suit has to do with hiding the book, not with the conventional purpose of protecting profits. I don't see that as a legitimate purpose for copyright law.

Your explanation for the book is all good and fine, except that it doesn't explain the explicitly political sentence relating to petitioning congresspeople about gay marriage, which has nothing to do with running a church.

As to making fun of Mormon-wear, my secret wish is that people could speak freely about all religions and the silly(ridiculous) things they do. With the three big ones, you really can't any more. I'm sure you find this incredibly offensive, but the last thing I want to see is another legitimized, hyper-sensitized, can't-make-fun-of, religion. I think we have too many already!

Beth said...

Because there are murderous men who wish to kill gays (and many others) in the name of religion, then Greenwald and Sullivan are fools to make enemies with those oppose gay marriage in the name of religion (but won't stone gays to death, or have walls crush them, and even support gay unions).

Pogo, I don't live where there are murderous men hanging gays. It's silly, and quite self-serving for one who opposes equal rights for gay people, to tell me and other gay people to run along and direct our energies against radical Islamists in the Middle East and ignore the those who here, in my own country, oppose civil rights for gay people and want to hold high office, where they can actually have an effect on my rights.

Of course, I have no interest in what kind of underwear those people wear. Sullivan is pursuing an empty strategy.

OhioAnne said...

Mackan,

Clearly the copyright suit has to do with hiding the book, not with the conventional purpose of protecting profits. I don't see that as a legitimate purpose for copyright law.

So if the "conventional purpose" doesn't fit, there can be no other explanation? How about the integrity of the work itself?

The individuals in question have devoted their lives to "saving" people from Mormons. Why should they be automatically trusted to not alter what they post? Do you know as an absolutely certainty that they didn't?

As to your question about the inclusion of the sentence in the "Mormon Handbook" about political activity... look at the source of the section that you posted. First Presidency letter, 1 Feb. 1994 That section was taken from another publication - which, incidentally was WIDELY distributed.

I still disagree with the premise that everyone but religous people should be allowed to petition their legislators, however.

I'm sure you find this incredibly offensive, but the last thing I want to see is another legitimized, hyper-sensitized, can't-make-fun-of, religion. I think we have too many already!

Actually I didn't find it at all offensive yesteday. I certainly don't now after hearing the lesson this morning encouraging members to refuse to be offended. :-)

I'm not sure that the person who wrote Sullivan to explain was offended either. I think that individual was simply correcting blatant ignorance on the part of someone who should know better.

I find Sullivan's hypocrisy in posting the information rather amusing though.

Rendell said...

I'm sure they have great reasons for hiding the book. I don't think trying to prevent people from misrepresenting it would be a very smart one...

Like I said before, I think Sullivan accepts criticism of his religious faith better than probably anybody else in public life. Criticizing him for hypocrisy on the issue seems a bit hypocritical itself.

Joe Giles said...

...I think Sullivan accepts criticism of his religious faith better than probably anybody else in public life.

We'd have no way of knowing, as he's far too busy criticizing it himself, in his attempt to tool a Christianity and a Catholicism that serves his needs.

His complaints don't appear to be inquisitive or in good faith, but simply a p.o.'ed response to things he disagrees with. No doubt he wants Mormons and Evangelicals at spears, and he wouldn't mind a good revolution or three in Catholicism, of which he professes to be a believer.

And he's just downright nasty (and borderline filthy) in regards to Benedict XVI. Failure to at least be respectful is a big strike against him, in my opinion.

OhioAnne said...

Mackan said...
I'm sure they have great reasons for hiding the book. I don't think trying to prevent people from misrepresenting it would be a very smart one.

Like I said before, I think Sullivan accepts criticism of his religious faith better than probably anybody else in public life. Criticizing him for hypocrisy on the issue seems a bit hypocritical itself.


So much for your pretense of discussing this rationally ....

Everybody, BUT Andrew Sullivan, is fair game, in your opinion, for criticism of their views.

I think that irony speaks for itself.

Rendell said...

Ohioanne,

Sorry, I could go on at length, but Althouse seems to discourage that. I don't mean disrespect (like Sullivan, I guess, but I mean it, though I imagine he does too). In any case, I was simply suggesting it's silly to think the LDS Church prevents dissemination of its handbook to prevent people from misrepresenting it; the easy way to do that would be to make the authentic version available themselves. They don't, because they don't want it freely available.

Obviously a lot of people are ok with that. I think it's problematic. Mainly, though, I was pointing out that while it may claim to be apolitical, and people may represent it as apolitical, at least when it comes to gay marriage, that's not true.

I don't have a problem with criticizing Andrew Sullivan either, I just happen to think he understands the problem of mixing religion and government in a way that very few people do.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's clear you're not interested in meaningful discussion, which, given the unsupportable positions you've taken, isn't surprising. For the sake of clarification, my request was that you actually make an argument rather than simply cast aspersions and ignore the valid points presented against your position. It wasn't a plea for "professorly style." That you would read it as such implies that you equate substance with style, an argument with how its made (or not). Or that you're just a careless reader.

You seem to think that you can get out of an untenable position through a little rhetorical legerdemain and by playing the anti-intellectual card ("one hand tied behind my bag"). That being the case--that you don't intend to use the critical faculties you presumably possess and use in your professional life--it would be more fitting for you not to display your professorship so prominently on this blog (tenure is not the issue; irrelevance is). On the other hand, it could be useful for students to know you for the 'thinker' you are. So let them "try before they buy"--to see the critical thinking on offer (or not!)--presuming they have a choice in choosing their courses and professors.

ed said...

Hmmmm.

1. Why is it that gay people think every single discussion over Christianity is about them?

Frankly most Christians don't give a rat's ass about gay people so get over yourselves for once.

2. I still cannot believe anybody reads Andrew Sullivan. Just goes to show you that a person can have utterly illogical, factually suspect and mutually exclusive opinions and still get somebody to read that drivel. Must be the same principles at work at car wrecks.

ed said...

Hmmm.

1. What an odd little discussion.

2. Astonishing the rather turgid theories that abound. A "secret" handbook amongst the Mormons? Just what exactly am I to expect in this "secret" handbook?

It's like the old anti-jewish blood-libels have been dusted off, revised and are now being aimed at Mormons.

3. Are Mormons Christians?

3.A. Do they believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?
3.B. Do they believe he died for our sins?
3.C. Do they believe he died and was resurrected?
3.D. Do they believe I'm too sexy for my laptop?

(Note: 3.D. is optional)

If so, then I'd suggest they're Christians. *shrug* if Shakers were Christians, then Mormons definitely are. Besides there are some curious aspects of Catholicism that leads a lot of people to question whether or not Catholics are Christian!

Really now. Worshipping the Virgin Mary? Praying to saints? Whatever happened to "You shall have no other gods before Me."? And "You shall not make for yourself an idol..."?

Maybe next time Sullivan will ask a Wiccan priestess.

OhioAnne said...

Mackan,

What's silly is your insistence that a handbook as freely available as the one that you are discussing is somehow "secret" - especially so since the passage you are focusing on was read from every pulpit from every Mormon church world-wide at least once and printed in its magazine and weekly newsletter.

But, let's not screw-up a good conspiracy against those "evil" Mormons with facts.

Or, for that matter, look at the history of persecution of Mormons in the United States. You might find out that anti-Mormon groups HAVE published various pieces and misrepresented them as real throughout - among other abuses.

Since you don't seem to think Mormons have a right to petition their legislators as do other Americans, I suspect you wouldn't be unhappy to learn that Mormons were once denied even a right to vote.

I don't have a problem with criticizing Andrew Sullivan either, I just happen to think he understands the problem of mixing religion and government in a way that very few people do.

Still missing the point, I see.

I didn't criticize Sullivan for his religous views. I not only don't know what his personal religous views are - I don't care.

It's none of my business.

I didn't criticize him for his religous views - although the fact you made that assumption is pretty telling about your biases.

IF Romney chooses to run for President, THEN his political views are people's business. When those political views overlap with his religous views, those are also fair game for discussion and criticism.

Sullivan's move was pre-emptive and off-topic IF he was truly interested in discussing policy. He did precisely what he criticizes when others do it. If he truly believed private behavior is private, then he should have practiced what he preached.

What he demonstrated is that private behavior he approves of only is off-limits - which makes him no different than those he criticizes.

Rendell said...

Ohioanne,

I don't think Mormons are evil. I think they try to be nice as much as or more than any other religion. If anything, my experience tells me Mormons are much likelier to think that about me than the opposite. (Funny example here). But that's cool...

However: a secret is still a secret, and the Mormons clearly don't want easy access to their handbook, whether you want to admit that or not. I'm not sure why you're denying it. Yes, if I found a Mormon and made friends with them they might be able to find somebody else who had a handbook I could see. But why do I get the feeling it would be somewhat difficult when I made it clear I wasn't interested in converting? And why do I get the feeling serious efforts would be made? They sued to get it off the internet! That's not what you do if you want it available. That's not what you do if you want to prevent people from misrepresenting it. If you want people to know exactly what's in the book, you make it available to anyone. Then nobody can misrepresent what's in the book.

What they're doing is making it very easy for Mormons to get the book, and much more difficult for non-Mormons to get the book. I think you'd be better off coming up with a reason for that than trying to deny it.

Re: Sullivan, I didn't miss your point, but was simply responding to your claim that I want to criticize everybody but him. As I said, that's not true, you can criticize him all you want, I just happen to agree with him on this general issue. But bring on the criticism. I wasn't accusing you of anything, but I'll let you get the last word on this one if that's cool with you.

Anthony said...

Damn homosexualists. . . . .

AlphaLiberal said...

So, politicians can use their religion to political advantage, but no-one can criticize their religion that THEY THEMSELVES place into the poltiical dialogue?

So, perhaps what's sauce for the Goose is not, after all, sauce for the gander?

Look, the Righties are all about politicizing religion. This is what thjat looks like. Quitcheryer whining.

Ann Althouse said...

Alpha Liberal: But I am opposed to policizing religion. It's not whining. It's being vocal about what is one of the most important issues in the history of the world. I don't think having people on both sides doing it is a good answer. The argument should be for separating religion and state. I come down very hard on that point. If you perceive that as whining, spend a few days reading world history and learn something about where your path leads.

OhioAnne said...

Mackan,

...but I'll let you get the last word on this one if that's cool with you.

Wow.... You are going to "let" me get in the last word.

You don't believe that I should be allowed to express my opinion to my legislators solely because of my religous beliefs and, now, you tell me that you agree with Sullivan that Mormons are underdeserving of personal privacy - again solely because of their beliefs - but you are going to "let" me get in the last word.

You are just so unbelievably .... to "let" me do that.

However: a secret is still a secret, and the Mormons clearly don't want easy access to their handbook, whether you want to admit that or not.

Actually what I denied was that the handbook was much of a secret. After all, tens of thousands of copies in dozens of languages are in the hands of people around the world.

But, before I forget, please do me a favor and post the links you have to the members handbook for Senator Edward Kennedy's country club, Governor Graham's sorority, Rudy Guiliani's gym, .. oh, just post all the links to any organization to which any politican in the country may belong. I assume you have them - otherwise you should be accusing them of "secrets" as well.

....but was simply responding to your claim that I want to criticize everybody but him.

Actually what I pointed out was that you expressed the opinion that criticism of others was healthy EXCEPT when it involved Sullivan - then you were quick to take offense.

AlphaLiberal said...

I just noticed Professor Althouse responsded to me!

Professor A, you don't seem to have anything critical to say about those using the Christian faith to advance their political careers, party or narrow interests.

I must have missed your "even-handed" approach to those on "both sides" of the politicizing Christianity issue.

Tell me, when did you call a religious right leader a "slimeball" or "idiot" as you have Mr. Greenwald?

Ann Althouse said...

"Tell me, when did you call a religious right leader a "slimeball" or "idiot" as you have Mr. Greenwald?"

Greenwald attacked me with outrageous slurs. I hit back. When a religious right leader attacks me with outrageous slurs, I will hit back, I promise.

gordonsowner said...

Althouse said:

---
Greenwald attacked me with outrageous slurs. I hit back. When a religious right leader attacks me with outrageous slurs, I will hit back, I promise.
---

Why would a a religious right leader attack you when you fellate them so well here in this blog? Kind of a stupid retort for someone whose profession is argument...

Nittacci said...

With all due respect, Mormons should not be considered any more whacky because of their insane mythology than any other religion. Scratch the surface of a major world religion, and you're going to find equally goofy stories.

There's not that wide of a line between Catholics and Scientologists when you come right down to it. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. I consider myself to be a sincerely religious person. Yes, I know it's all made up, but it's still useful in leading a good life.

It's when you start getting all defensive about your religion and base your entire Faith upon whether or not "it really happened" that you run into trouble, such as Fundamentalism or Fanaticism, and people start getting killed.

Just because something's "made up" doesn't mean it's not "real".

Taylor_Tantrum said...

I have no religion so does that make me evil??? i dont think so. so im glad because the majority of religious people ARE whacky (well in my expierences)people get wrapped up in religion and forget about more important matters oh maybe war or poverty or uh lets see taxes or whatever if the presidential candidates are worrying about religion then wjo is gonna worry about those other supposedly "smaller" problems

Unknown said...

Glad to read article like this. This article is very useful for every one. But add some more important points on this article.
===================================
Brucely.
Drug Rehabilitation Programs

Unknown said...

Glad to read article like this. This article is very useful for every one. But add some more important points on this article.
==============================
Brucely
Drug Rehabilitation Programs

jack said...

This is a great site. Just found it today! Is it part of the open view blogger sites...it has the same feel and characteristics?

Jack roberts

Sport betting guide

Anonymous said...

John Denham (Lab, Itchen) and Alan Beith (Lib Dem, Berwick) pestered him on antiterrorism laws. Phil Willis (Lib Dem, Harrogate) became tetchy about education. Tony Wright (Lab, Cannock Chase) asked tricky questions about principle.And then came a big, ploopy plop from the gaseous Icelandic mud spa.Sir Patrick Cormack (Con, S. Staffs) erupted with some criticism about Northern Ireland. Establishment man Sir Patrick attacking authority? Wow. Something must be going on.At these sessions, the Prime Minister sits in front of a long, horseshoe-shaped table, facing about 20 parliamentary elders and greasers. Jacket off, Mr Blair was yesterday wearing his young-man-of-vigour expression, as though ready for a pre-lunch game of tennis.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
rayna
Drug Intervention

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 230 of 230   Newer› Newest»