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Recycled Psychobabble

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It is not out of an intent to demean religion, or any denomination thereof, that I bring you this latest recycling, for the hundredth or two hundredth time (I've lost count), of the Bible-thumping cliches of people enraptured with the notion that they have superior moral wisdom.

They don't.  Indeed, they have next to no idea of what they're talking about.

A sample from near the beginning:

"Our country's overreliance on incarceration fails to make us safer or to restore people and communities who have been harmed," said James Ackerman, CEO of Prison Fellowship Ministries, at a June 20 news conference at the National Press Club.

Well, sure, overreliance on incarceration is a bad thing (by definition), but if what Ackerman means is considerably increased reliance on incarceration, then no part of his statement is true:  The significant increase in incarceration over the last 25 years had made us far safer, and that increased safety has disproportionately benefited the communities that were harmed, if not nearly destroyed, by rampant violent crime, much of it bred by drug trafficking.

I expect pious deceit from the NYT and the NACDL, but I would have hoped for something better from a group that trades on its claim to moral superiority.

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The thing to remember is that when these religious leaders are speaking, they generally are speaking for themselves. This is even true of Catholics, who most people believe need to hang on every word of the pope. They don't. Although we should take his words seriously, he is almost never speaking with papal authority ex cathedra. As a practicing Catholic, I can accept his opinions on global warming, the death penalty, incarceration, etc., or reject them outright as long as my beliefs do not contradict church teaching (found in the Catechism). For example, this pope is a big opponent of the death penalty yet I am free to disagree as church teaching allows for the practice.

The same is true of Ackerman and all of the other religious leaders cherry picked by the media to pretend (and bludgeon those of faith into believing that they are on the wrong side of the argument) there is some kind of Christian consensus against tough on crime.

I have had access to a lot of faithful people over my life. My experience has always been that those who take their faith more seriously are strong believers in the rule of law and earthly punishment. It is the milquetoast mainline protestants and those who I would call the cultural Catholics who have the one-sided flower power "God is all about love and forgiveness" view.

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