Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sounds Familiar

The ease of dismissing this paltry attempt at self-exoneration has, or should have, a familiar ring to it:

A man accused of killing his wife says he was trying to exorcise a demon from her when the devil entered his body and caused her to die, according to a police probable cause statement.
It's all too reminiscent of another Texan with a tendency to attribute his own actions to supernatural entities, a tendency and an attribution eagerly shared by some of his most ardent supporters:
"This was Providence," evangelical leader and presidential adviser Charles Colson told Beliefnet. "Anybody looking at the 2000 election would have to say it was a miraculous deliverance, and I think people felt it again this year [2004]." By allowing Bush to stay in office, Colson said, God is "giving us a chance to repent and to restore some moral sanity to American life."
Apologies to anyone driven to dry heaves at the suggestion that Bush's reelection involved a restoration of moral sanity, but I digress.

It seems to me both Texans as well as Colson are equally batshit-crazy, that each is offering the same embarrassing theory of moral agency in which undetectable entities pull the 'real' levers, differing only in the illustrating case. Allowing the possibility of supernatural intervention in one case but not the other is the sheerest of special pleading and nothing more.

Maybe I'm wrong about that. What is the argument for dismissing the killer's excuse while demanding deference for Bush's and Colson's claims?



Postscript: I addressed this same topic relatively recently here.

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