It's the reporter we know from before, Irin Carmon, this time gleeful that her earlier interview with Michael Potter of Eden Foods sparked a "legal analysis" from ThinkProgress that expresses doubt over the Eden Foods lawsuit - not that such an analysis from such a source should surprise anyone.
Another blogger, this one from Slate, not to be troubled to do her own reporting, basically spouts the same narrative Carmon is trying to push. But I'd like to look more closely at that narrative expounded in Carmon's piece... [more below the jump].
Carmon tries to corner Potter - who honestly seems flustered in the interview, but in light of all of the liberal fury coming down around him, who can blame him? - into admitting that this isn't about his religious belief at all, but rather about other objections: constitutional, philosophical, scientific/medicinal objections.
Now what strikes me in this is that Carmon embraces the idea of the "religious exemption" to the HHS Mandate in order to try to find a stick to beat Potter and Eden Foods with. Anyone reading her piece must be struck by the irony: as if she'd be okay with Potter having a religious reason for seeking exemption from the mandate, but how dare he reason from secular sources like constitutional principles and political philosophy -- as if, in any other situation, she wouldn't be saying the exact opposite, telling Potter he shouldn't be allowed to hide behind religious belief to get away from a secular law, not unless he could provide non-religious reasons for why that law is objectionable. The whole role reversal here is striking and a bit hysterical.
In other words, that Carmon smells a rat in the whiff of scientific reasoning in a discussion she thinks needs to be all about "faith" and "unseen things" (and she might add "fairies" and "leprechauns") -- this just shows Carmon's preconceived prejudicial views toward religious reasoning. It shows that she has made the presumption that religiously reasoned things must be reasoned apart from facts and science and nature and, well, the real world as she knows it: not only just apart from, but (I'm willing to bet, in her conception) perhaps opposed to that world.
Now to anyone who knows Catholic theology, this is hogwash.
If Michael Potter expresses his objections to the Mandate in terms of government overreach (as he does in Carmon's interview), then I'll point to the principle of subsidiarity enshrined in Catholic doctrine and say he's right on. There's a religious reason for you, Ms. Carmon - happy?
His objection that the government shouldn't force people to violate their conscience (as he does in Carmon's interview), then I'll point the slew of writing on the sacrosanct and inviolable nature of human conscience to be found all throughout Catholic doctrine (and prominently in the documents of the Second Vatican Council). Would Ms. Carmon find that religious enough for her liking?
Let's not kid ourselves, here. Carmon and those like her in the liberal media and blogosphere are looking for any way that can to get at Eden Foods and its founder. But objecting that he isn't religious enough - that one's rich. I'm sure they'd welcome him with open arms if he had responded in his interview with nothing but hand-wringing proselytizing!
What they can't see, or don't want to see - what they don't seem to have the generosity of spirit to consider - is that Potter's faith is likely a lived reality that is tied up with his reason, not opposed to it, as many Catholics would express it to be. That, as for many Catholics, Potter's faith informs the way he thinks about his business, sure... but also the way he thinks about government and law and politics and science and health and the environment and, well, everything.
G.K. Chesterton put it best when he wrote,
You cannot evade the issue of God, whether you talk about pigs or the binomial theory, you are still talking about Him. Now if Christianity be... a fragment of metaphysical nonsense invented by a few people, then, of course, defending it will simply mean talking that metaphysical nonsense over and over. But if Christianity should happen to be true – then defending it may mean talking about anything or everything. Things can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is false, but nothing can be irrelevant to the proposition that Christianity is true.