Biden's Take on Vocally Religious People

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Biden's Take on Vocally Religious People

Last night, Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) was one of Bill Maher's guests on HBO's "Real Time." Of all those Democrats seen as likely presidential candidates in '08, Biden is the only one to eschew the bullshit talking points a la "we've made no decisions yet." He is running, and he has said he is running -- no posturing, no sidestepping.

I thought Biden came across pretty well, but there was one point where I thought the senator was simply dead wrong. When the discussion centered around religion and politics, Biden complained that too many Democrats were anti-religious elitists.

What we have to understand, Biden insisted, is that people who are vocal about their religion don't want others to adopt their religious values, they simply "want to know you respect them." He repeated this point moments later.

But it's Biden who doesn't get it. Many religious people (from Christian conservatives to Shiite Muslims) do want others to adopt their beliefs. Does the term "evangelical" mean anything to him?

Sure, most Christians are not actively spending their days trying to convert their neighbors and co-workers. But the most outspoken Christians in America do want to use political and legal vehicles to essentially impose their matrix of beliefs on others.

And it is non-believers who are the single greatest object of intense and widespread disrespect. A University of Minnesota professor who recently analyzed public attitudes toward atheists found that
... Americans seem to appreciate diversity, just as long as "every one shares a common 'core' of values that make them trustworthy," and theism is that "core." Respondents associated atheism "with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism."

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