Posted by Jay Livingston
From the loop, I took the CTA Red Line up to Lawrence, 4800 North. (I’m in Chicago for a wedding.) Late Friday afternoon. My fellow passengers were the same multi-ethnic, multi-racial mix I’m used to in New York - the U.N. on casual Friday.
I don’t think Gov. Perry of Texas spends much time on the subway. Earlier this week, he proclaimed August 6 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting
As a nation, we must come together, call upon Jesus to guide us through unprecedented struggles . . . The humility of the truly great men of history was revealed in their recognition of the power and might of Jesus to save all who call on His great name.Look at those first ten words. Gov. Perry seems to assume that everyone in America is Christian. Or should be. As in America, so too in history – all the greats worth noting are Christian men.*
It’s the same view of the US that Justice Scalia would write into the Constitution. The government putting crosses on the graves of Jewish soldiers does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In fact, says Scalia, the Jews and their families should feel honored. (See earlier posts here and here.)
For Gov. Perry and the others, the default setting for America is white, male, Christian. Other exotic types that they might know about are like strange mathematical systems – base 2 or logarithms. They exist, of course, but the real way of thinking about numbers is good old base 10.
Gov. Perry has asked other governors to join him in this August effort. That way, our entire nation will come together by praying to Jesus. The logical inference is that if you don’t pray to Jesus, you’re not part of the nation. Just as Gov. Perry’s nation doesn't include those who don’t pray to Jesus, his history book has no page for Einstein or Confucius or Gandhi (and certainly not Anne Frank). His calendar for August has no indication of Hiroshima.
Maybe this is a view of America you get from the Governor’s mansion in Texas and no doubt from many other places. But it’s not the picture you get when you ride the bus or subway.
* Mark Kleiman and his commenters compiled a long list of great men of history, from