Friday, November 14, 2008

Idiot Wind Chime

I guess it was inevitable that, having elected an African American President, there would be lots of talk on what "historically oppressed group" might be next. The judgment in Slate is that a woman is most likely, followed by decent prospects for Mormons and Jews. Gays and atheists chances are judged remote. It's a cute article and everything, and I realize it's a commentary on minority status and prejudices, not an analysis of those prejudices. But is it too much to ask that facts of birth not be considered alongside inherited dogmas?

People might not like it but a candidate's religion is fair to assess. It's a set of ideas that they have considered and endorsed, it reflects their mind and judgment. Most people think some form of faith is a good thing, and that's fair too. As the Slate author asserts, some ideas are judged disqualifying by the American electorate. He points out that Scientology is too exotic and Zoroastrianism too esoteric for a practitioner to win our highest office.

Of course voting is based far more on cultural identity than an evaluation of religious tenets. I wish it wasn't that way. I'd like to think the Obama/Biden win was in part a victory of reason over demagoguery. But it's hard to think with the wind chime always going.