A Blogger Writes

This blog doesn’t get many comments, so it’s good when feedback does arrive, even if it’s just to slag me off. Joel of Confessions of a Hot Carmel Sundae doesn’t appreciate my take on Katherine Harris:

So let me see if I have this straight. Katherine Harris at one time studied at a school founded by a man [Francis Schaeffer] who was a member of a denomination that later turned into another denomination that later turned into yet another denomination some of whose members have reconstructionist ideas [The Presbyterian Church in America]. Moreover, she attends a church connected to a church [Calvary Chapel] founded by a man [Chuck Smith] who belongs to a movement that has some members [Jesus Freaks] who would find reconstructionist ideas compatible with their own. Finally, Harris once served on the same panel as a man [David Barton] who believes that public office should be held by people whom he considers moral. Sounds mighty incriminating to me!

This is depressing, as I was trying to avoid the impression of mad conspiracy-mongering while getting in as many links as I could. So, a bit of explanation may perhaps be useful.

My purpose in writing the Harris post was raise two issues:

1. What does the L’Abri (and supposed Barton) connection tell us about what makes Harris tick?

2. What does this tell us about the role of conservative forms of Christianity in American politics?

These are questions of interest to many people, but most of these people, it must be said, don’t know their Charismatics from their Evangelicals or their Pentecostals from their Fundamentalists (the latter term I use very sparingly). So, it’s common knowledge that Harris is a practising Christian, but how might that affect her job? The question cannot begin to be answered until we know what kind of Christian she is. Links with David Barton and Francis Schaeffer seem to me to be highly suggestive (although I’ve since discovered that the Barton panel didn’t actually happen, and have amended posts on this accordingly). “Incriminating” is a subjective term: perhaps Harris may downplay certain connections, but in all likelihood most commentators just lack “the eyes to see”.

Also, this blog is really a kind of notepad. Unlike a proper journalist, I don’t interview people or do much print-based research. I merely chase up stuff online that captures my interest, draw it together, and make a few conclusions, which may be more or less tentative (and, if I’m in the mood, I’ll add some snarky comments). For example, in the Harris article I really don’t know of what significance her membership of Calvary Chapel is, but it’s interesting and so I’ll note it. And the material about the Presbyterian Church in America was clearly marked as an aside rather than as part of my investigation of Harris. The denomination seems to keep appearing in things I look into, so I decided to flag it up.

Others can make of this resource whatever they like (apart from any racists, etc., who should clear off); if they can fill in any gaps or offer new perspectives I’m always very happy to hear from them.

One Response

  1. […] (I’ve written more about what this post set out to do here.) […]

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