I haven’t been able to actually read this week’s New York Times Magazine cover story. Right there in big test it says: “We in the West find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still stir up messianic passions, leaving societies in ruin. We had assumed this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong. It’s we who are the fragile separation.” Meanwhile, Isaac Chotiner observes:
In an otherwise uneventful forum this morning on ABC, the Democratic presidential candidates were asked whether prayer could have prevented the Minnesota bridge collapse.
John Edwards actually had a very good answer to this question (observing that he prayed before his son died and prayed before his wife got cancer so, no, he doesn’t think praying hard enough stops bad things from happening; rather, he prays for guidance in how to deal with the things that arise in life), but it still makes it pretty hard to credit that “we” thought the religification of politics was a thing of the past. It all depends on whether or not “we” were paying attention.