I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Barbara's religion post

I want to say a few words about Barbara's "Liberal Jesus" post below. I knew when I asked Barbara to post here (and, for that matter, Hume's Ghost, too) that they would post on topics not normally covered here and would express views which are not universally held by the readers here. I didn't ask them to post here despite that fact, but because of it.

As I said at the time, all three of the guest posters only post arguments that they have thought through carefully and which do not come from some reflexive, predictable partisan script. I think that's a virture. I didn't choose who I would ask to post here randomly, but based on the quality and diversity of their arguments. The price might be that readers here end up reading arguments they don't agree with, but I'm pretty confident that most people can handle that.

Without agreeing with all of its assertions, I thought Barabra's post was excellent and highly relevant. Howard Dean often makes the point that Democrats make a huge mistake by ignoring cultural phenomena with which they might be uncomfortable, and religion -- which plays as big of a role in electoral politics as any other factor -- is at the top of that list. I think open discussions of those issues can only yield benefits, and Barbara's post provoked some interesting responses and received some substantial attention precisely because of that.

Having said that, while it's true that there were a few hostile reactions to Barbara's post in comments (I suspect most of the anonymous objections came from the same person), I thought that the discussion which followed was largely as interesting and high-minded as Barbara's post itself, rendering quite premature her declaration that the commenters at her blog are much smarter than those here. That's a claim that she will hopefully reconsider as she posts here more, and I hope she does.

Finally, I've seen some claims that comments in that thread were deleted. The only comments deleted were ones from the authors themselves. I don't think Barbara has the capability to delete comments here, and if she does, she didn't do so. When the author of a comment deletes a comment, it bears the notation: "Deleted by author." If Barbara (or I) deleted a comment, it would say "Deleted by Administrator." None say that. I suspect this accusation that comments were deleted comes from the same disgruntled anonymous commenter. Either way, it is false.

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