Whether George Bush actually said what he was reported on the front page of the Guardian as having said seems to be in some doubt now. But, whatever the case, there it was on the front page - as also of the Independent - and yesterday the Guardian readership was following up. It's a case of shock and mock, isn't it (the headlining and then the quips)?
What's behind it? Is it just that, for secular liberals and leftists, all those invoking a line to, or about, God in decisions and actions in the public realm, with far-reaching effects on others, are to be seen as laughable, grotesque, or worse? I guess that must be it. But hold on. This seems to apply only sometimes. Like to the US President; or to Republican voters of devoutly Christian outlook; or to fundamentalist Jews in the occupied territories. It seems not to apply so much, or at all, when Islamists appeal to religious sources as a basis for blowing up themselves and, more particularly, others. Here, what is often urged upon us from the same quarters, from the pages of the same newspapers as have just carried the shock-and-mock stuff, is an understanding of the grievances that accompany the appeal to religious motivations. And what is most certainly urged upon us is the avoidance of any disrespect towards widely-held religious sensibilities.
Why the contrast? Requirements of consistency would seem to suggest that the shock-and-mock responses can't be due to the expression of devout religiosity as such, in support of political decision and political action. So why is it that, for some people, a more understanding approach is less relevant towards US Republicans than it is towards radical Islamists? I'm at a loss.