Bad Times today
First off was Simon Freedman, who writes about the new indictments against Tom Delay covered by the BBC yesterday. While the headline avoids the standard BBC ploy of linking Bush with the scandal, Freedman does give us this:
A Texas grand jury lodged a new indictment against the former House Majority Leader just hours after his defence team applied to have a similar charge brought last week struck out on a technicality.And just what might the “technicality” be?
His lawyers last night argued that the indictment should be dismissed since the law did not come into force until 2003 - a year after the alleged acts.I see. So, in Freedman’s view, it is a mere “technicality” that an action must, well, actually be illegal in order to be able to prosecute someone for engaging in it. I guess something should be done about such an irritating loophole in the law.
In another article, religious correspondent Ruth Gledhill writes about a new "teaching document" issued by the Catholic heirarchy in Britain which acknowledges that some parts of the Bible are not actually true. Which is all well and good. But then Gledhill throws in this gratuitous reference to the US:
The notion of the US as not only increasingly religious, but indeed increasingly ruled by religiosity in public life, is a notion that seems to permeate all British media analyses of the US. It is a rarely, if ever, examined premise that is simply taken on as received wisdom.
The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.
Gledhill's reference to the "rise of the religious Right" in the US is a perfect case in point. Who constitutes this "religious Right? How has its "rise" manifested itself? What evidence is there that the body politic of the US is any more religious (or even more religiously "right") today than it was 25, or 50, or 100 years ago? (My own view is that on the whole it is almost certainly less religious today than at any time in its past.)
Does Gledhill have any answers to these questions? I'd be surprised if she's ever even considered them. Yet here she is nonetheless, passing off the notion that the US has witnessed a "rise" of the "religious Right" as an unquestionable fact. And increasingly, I don't doubt, the British public is accepting it as such.