Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

I have had a great deal of difficulty attempting to identify the underlying philosophy of the Bush administration. After seven years, it does not get any easier. For example, in the lead story of the October 10 issue of the Forward, it is reported that the Bush administration, unsurprisingly, takes a position against efforts by Muslim countries to expand the blasphemy laws that are in place in their own countries into a U.N. resolution. The surprise is that the position is based on the individual right to free expression, which is not something that the Bush folk have spent much time defending in the past seven years, especially when it comes to individual religious expression.

John Hanford, the Bush administration ambassador at large for religious freedom (imagine!), accused the Muslims of seeking "to weaken the freedoms of religion and expression by restricting the rights of individuals to share their views or criticize religions." The logical extension of this argument would seriously inhibit legislatures from basing any laws or regulations on religious beliefs alone. I think this is a fine idea, but I don't think that the Bush administration agrees.

For example, this administration would outlaw same-sex marriages even though marriage itself is a spiritual union between two individuals and many churches sanctify gay unions.

For example, this administration would outlaw abortions based on the religious belief that life begins at conception. (We can only be grateful that they aren't looking to legislate around masturbation!) Many religious leaders support a woman's right to choose. The Talmud suggests that a fetus is never a person, but a limb of the mother that may be amputated for the health of the mother.

For example, this administration would restrict access to birth control and forbid any health agency working in other countries seeking federal funds from dispensing information on birth control because they believe that intercourse is intrinsically for the purpose of procreation. This is a position of some religions but not based on anything but Scripture.

The Bush administration has made the philosophical leap to condemn countries that attempt to legislate their beliefs, but has yet to look into the mirror or into their own souls.

Three more months . . .