I don’t think a commentator can credibly understand or expatiate upon America, in particular—and the West, in general—without reference to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Heck, one can’t appreciate the greatest composer of all times—Bach—without acknowledging the contribution of his muse—Christianity—to the glory of his music. Ditto for many other great artists.
This is why there’s a sterility and a lack of believability to the religious-hating aspects of Objectivism. As to Christopher Hitchens, he’s an ex-Trotskyite. Why would he understand America?
I say all this even though I am irreligious (although very Jewish in my thinking). America is undeniably and deeply religious.
Having no dog in the fight over Mitt’s Mormonism, I have to say, moreover, that listening to his speech about his faith was moving. Admittedly, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may have some odd ideas. Not so the Mormons I know; they are very fine people. And quite magnificent is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; it’s in fact the finest in the world.
As you can see, it’s impossible to untangle religion in the West and the glorious cultural contribution it has inspired in the faithful.
Particularly loathsome in their mocking commentary about Mitt’s sincere sermon were Keith Olbermann and his Washington-Post henchman—they compared Mitt to their idol, J. F. Kennedy, and found him lacking, to put it mildly. The two did, however, drive home how loathsome the liberal left can be.
Update: Jerri (listen to her great interviews) will enjoy this excerpt from the Hebrew Bible in the First Book Of Samuel. It’s one of the oldest, greatest, most forceful injunctions against the wickedness of centralized power. (Let me tell you, it’s so much better in the original Hebrew). How can one grasp the ancient quest for liberty without proper reverence to this tradition and its revelational component? Note that the king, warns G-d, will take a tenth of the people’s wealth. If only! Send us such a king who will enslave us to the tune of a tenth only!
1 Samuel 8
Israel Asks for a King
1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead [a] us, such as all the other nations have.”
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”