Faith versus unreason

Richard Cohen is the latest liberal columnist to jump on Bill Frist for participating in a telecast sponsored by the Family Research Council, which argues that Democrats are opposing some of President Bush’s judicial nominees because the nominees are people of faith. To my knowledge, none of Frist’s critics in the MSM is willing to state, much less refute, the reasons why some conservatives believe that opposition to William Pryor (for example) is based on the fact that he believes deeply in certain Catholic religious tenets.
However, Cohen’s piece is lame even by MSM standards. To the extent one can discern an argument, it goes something like this: (a) some Republicans accuse Democrats of opposing certain nominees because of their faith, (b) when these Republicans speak of “faith” in this context, they are referring only to faiths some of whose tenets are consistent with Republican substantive positions, and therefore (c) such Republicans, including Bill Frist, are trying reprehensibly to enlist “faith” on one side of the political divide.
Propositions (a) and (b) are true, but proposition (c) clearly does not follow. Neither Frist nor his fellow Senate Republicans has ever opposed a nominee because he or she holds a religious faith other than those held by the nominees whose deeply held religious views bother the Democrats. Nor has he opposed a nominee because the nominee holds no religious faith at all. Thus, far from trying to enlist faith on one side of the political divide, Frist (to the extent he agrees with the Family Research Council) is simply seeking a level playing field for those who hold faiths that carry with them the ideas that are so disturbing to certain Democrats.
Hugh Hewitt is also unimpressed with Cohen’s piece. He assumes that Cohen is too smart not to see through his own argument, and thus concludes that Cohen is “deceptive and an intellectual coward.”
The ROCKET adds: I agree with all of the above, except that I have never seen any evidence that Cohen is smart enough to recognize the (obvious) flaws in his logic. I suspect that he is arguing in good faith, but ineptly.


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