August 6, 2010

Pelosi's Word

Justin Katz

Back in May, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) had this to say at a Catholic Community Conference:

They ask me all the time, 'What is your favorite this? What is your favorite that? What is your favorite that?' And one time, 'What is your favorite word?' And I said, 'My favorite word? That is really easy. My favorite word is the Word, is the Word. And that is everything. It says it all for us. And you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word.

And that Word is, we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of the Word. The Word. Isn't it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything. The Word.

Fill it in with anything you want. But, of course, we know it means: 'The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.' And that’s the great mystery of our faith. He will come again. He will come again. So, we have to make sure we’re prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up.

To my ear, Pelosi's sermon has the ring of an unbeliever asked to say grace before a family meal (like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents), and her apparent insincerity is surely what saved Ms. Pelosi from the wrath that Joseph Bottum correctly suggests that a Republican saying the very same thing would surely have incurred (subscription required):

What Speaker Pelosi was trying to say (in her incoherent manner) is that she wants to shape public policy in accordance with the gospels. (Strangely, her position on abortion remains militantly secular instead of consistent with her Church's teachings that affirm that unborn children are human beings and deserve legal protection.) We checked the websites for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Atheists, and the Secular Coalition for America. None of these groups, which pride themselves on upholding the separation of church and state, expressed any concerns about Pelosi's plan to create a "Word-based" public policy.
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Thank you for posting this, Justin.

This was absolutely shameful on the part of the speaker. In addition to the insincere ring to her comments, she was trying to use religion to sell - and get religion to help her sell - specific government policies.

And in addition to using a religion towards her own unrelated ends, she breached, if not in law, then certainly in spirit, the wall between church and state.

Posted by: Monique at August 6, 2010 5:32 PM

Lucky for the rest of us that we have Justin and of course Monique to judge the sincerity and value of everyone else's religious experience. I suppose that when you two right or talk abouyt religion it is with a deeper meaning and level of sincerity than most others.

Posted by: triplerichard at August 6, 2010 9:22 PM


All that matters here for these two is the party affliation. If a Democrat or Progressive speaks about God there will be only two responses from this pair. One will be an accusation of insincerity. The other would be to point to the hypocritical lack of outrage from the (left leaning )media.
And like good soldiers ( or like Sergeant Shultz) they will march on ...eins, zwei, eins, zwei ..

Posted by: Phil at August 7, 2010 7:11 AM

Bull. Don't pretend that you're so inept at interpreting language. Look, for example, at how much she hedges about this Word that she so loves: "you know the biblical reference, you know the Gospel reference of the Word." Yeah; it's Jesus Christ the Son of God.

"Isn't it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything."

Sorry. I studied English for too many years to pretend it's impossible to understand subtext just because the subject is faith. Could Pelosi have spoken in a way that doesn't match her true faith? Perhaps, which is why I wrote "apparent insincerity," although the interpretation of insincerity is in keeping with her policy preferences.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 7, 2010 7:18 AM

You are right Justin, now it is my turn to judge your religious sincerity based on words that I read from your writing. I judge you to be insincere and not a true believer. I have studied the english language long enough to know that you don't really believe. How insulting it is to the all religious people that you think yourself able to judge other by the tone of their words.

Posted by: triplerichard at August 7, 2010 7:54 AM


Religiosity is just as verifiable a trait as any other that can be discerned in the use of language. And if I were writing a story and wanted to convey to the reader that a speaker was not sincere about her religion, I'd put almost the exact same speech in her mouth.

You can go ahead and judge me however you'd like. Understand, though, that without substantiating evidence few who don't already agree with you will be persuaded. And even if you do marshal evidence, there's nothing I can do about that, and I'm certainly not going to change my conduct for your benefit, inasmuch as I think I've been heading slowly in the right direction spiritually.

I would hope that Ms. Pelosi, if I am incorrect about her sincerity, takes the same view of the likes of me. Contrary to your insinuations, I have no special input with the Lord when it comes to the ultimate judgment of others.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 7, 2010 6:54 PM

What's this?The Old Time Gospel Hour?
Pelosi is the turd in the punchbowl at the family reunion.Now isn't that easy?

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 7, 2010 10:35 PM


Why did you not write Nancy’s Pelosi’s statements as a direct quote from the referenced web video?

I did not hear a direct reference to the bible for quotation as printed in referenced article.

Is this another blogger USDA worker Shirley Sherrod type assignation???

Posted by: Ken at August 8, 2010 1:57 AM

Ken-HUGE difference-Shirley Sherrod was completely unknown to the public before Breitbart pulled his stunt.
Nancy Pelosi has a track record of political irresponsibility trailing her for years.It's not like the world was waiting on Justin Katz to show her for the creep she is.
She stated that it was un-American to enforce the immigration laws.So,we have a law in place the the f**kin' Speaker of the House says,in effect,oh,that law's no good-ignore it.You know where that kind of stuff leads?
You don't want to go there,because it sets a precedent for blowing off any law one doesn't like.
If a blogger says that,no big deal-everyone has freedom of thought and speech(for now),but when the arguably most powerful member of Congress says it in her official capacity,it's dangerous.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 8, 2010 8:07 AM

Justin it is your brand of judgmental religiousness that makes me prefer the term spiritual. The organized religions of today have twisted and turned the bible and other holy books to suit themselves. How you feel yourself capable to judge the sincerity of someone else's religious experience is beyond me. Does the bible say anything about judging someone else?

Posted by: triplerichard at August 10, 2010 12:26 PM
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