April 07, 2005

Moderation / Toleration

The original version of my previous post went on at some length about the various ways in which I disagreed with the the late Pope. I deleted those sections (ending up with a pretty bare-bones post) because I think it's in very poor taste to list the faults of a great man in his obituary. Great men will and should be remembered for their greatness, and not for their mediocrity, which is not to say that the Pope was in any way mediocre.

Most of the obituaries that I read mentioned briefly his importance in bringing down communism, and went on at great length criticizing him for his religious conservatism. What I want to know is, why do they care? If they are religious Catholics, then I know the answer to that question, and it is a good one: it is their church as much as the Pope's. But I doubt that many of the obituaries I read were written by religious Catholics. Most were probably written by post-Christian (or post-Jewish) New Yorkers or other urbanites. In what way does it bother them that their Catholic neighbors don't think it's right to have an abortion or get a divorce? And if they want to marry a person of the same sex? There are plenty of churches that will oblige. Inevitably what they call for is "moderation". Translation: views closer to their own.

And since when is moderation necessarily a good thing? The United States of America wasn't founded by moderates, it was founded by radical extremists who believed "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights". Be suspicious of people calling for moderation, it is usually a play on words intended to deceive you, and usually used by people lacking in a completely different virtue: toleration.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at April 7, 2005 07:17 PM
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