Monday, May 21, 2007

On Religious Discrimination

It is something that Newt Gingrich frets over. In his recent speech at the Liberty University (Jerry Falwell's school) he complained about "anti-religious bias" and "radical secularism". Then he started on the horrors of religious discrimination:

"Basic fairness demands that religious beliefs deserve a chance to be heard," he said in the 26-minute speech. "It is wrong to single out those who believe in God for discrimination. Yet today, it is impossible to miss the discrimination against religious believers."

So nice of Gingrich to worry about the Wiccans and the Muslims, probably the two religions whose believers may face anti-religious discrimination in their daily lives in this country.

Of course Gingrich didn't mean that. He meant something quite different when using the word "discrimination", and it has very little to do with discrimination in education or employment or with the other common parlance uses of the term. Indeed, it has very little to do with the idea that it is people who are the victims of discrimination. In the world of Gingrich, and probably of his audience at Liberty University, too, it is religion itself that can be the victim of discrimination. An odd interpretation, even though a common one these days.
Cross-posted on the TAPPED blog.