Via Politico’s Playbook, Michael Scherer of Time reports that Joe Biden said this yesterday:
“Yesterday we finished up in this room with … 17 members of the faith community … [I]n all the years I have been doing this, the first time there has been an overwhelming consensus, from the evangelical groups nationwide, and particularly those in rural areas, to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to the National Conference of Churches, the Muslim community, because this does have a significant moral dimension—how we make the American community safer and how we go about it.…”
If, as some will presumably claim, the religious leaders’ religiosity is not why Biden is citing their alleged support (stand down Markos, the Taliban is at bay!), then one wonders why the vice president thinks we should care what those faith leaders think. After all, Father Smith stripped of the extra moral authority his title conveys is just Mr. Smith. Is he an expert on guns? Does he legislate? If not, why ask? Biden should make explicit whether he’s citing religious leaders in the gun debate because they have a privileged role to play in the Constitutional, political, and legal affairs of the republic, or whether he’s citing them as just another few people he’s found who will express concern for the children. If they are not privileged in some way, why should we care what they think and why is he talking about “moral dimensions”? If they are, well, in a secular republic, why should we care what they think?
The vice president has amused me all week with his transparent pretense that each and every person he meets is displaying a record level of support for gun-control measures. Hunters, faith groups, schoolteachers, taxidermists, orthodontists, chefs, stonemasons, miners, airline pilots; they are all apparently wandering around aimlessly chewing their fingernails and crying out the primal scream of the Prohibitionist. We shall overcome! So convenient has been the reaction that Biden will be able to deliver his recommendations within a couple of weeks of starting his investigation.