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Australian philosopher, literary critic, and professional writer. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE and HUMANITY ENHANCED.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Staks Rosch in defence of Edwina Rogers

Staks Rosch has written a useful post here. He has also taken part in the ensuing thread, where the debate continues. This observation that he makes on the thread is interesting (I'm not confident one way or the other whether it's true, but it's worth considering):


 It is my opinion that people were already out to get her and that is why she acted so defensively and perhaps dishonestly in some interviews. I don't want to say that all lobbyists lie, but that is the stereotype. I also think that her view of the Republican Party is a very narrow and specific view. She is a Washington insider and the crowd she hangs round with tend to care more about lowering taxes for the rich (themselves) than they care do for religion/secular issues.

Perhaps. My problem with it all, nonetheless, is that the early interviews with Edwina Rogers have not made a good impression. I don't care all that much about her past activities, as long as I can be convinced that she now has the right priorities for the Secular Coalition for America.

I see no reason at the moment to doubt that she has the technical skills as a manager, lobbyist, etc. However, the Executive Director of an organisation has a big say in the priorities that the organisation pursues and how it handles them. That's what I'm unsure about right now.

E.g., she seems to be soft on the idea of religious morality being imposed by the state, as with anti-abortion laws. If she's soft on those sorts of issues, and takes a narrow view of what it is for government to be "secular", then I think she's the wrong choice - that is more important than whether she's been employed by Republicans in the past. But her priorities and her conception of secular government won't be clear for some time. We really do have to see how this plays out.

1 comment:

James Sweet said...

It is my opinion that people were already out to get her and that is why she acted so defensively and perhaps dishonestly in some interviews.

So.... she choked under pressure, is what he's saying?

I think there is some truth to this sentence, but my takeaway from it is pretty much the opposite of Rosch's. Yes, people were highly suspicious of Rogers straight out of the gate, because of her Republican history and past connections with the Bush administration. (IMO that's mostly justified, but for present purposes it doesn't really matter) Many people were simply not going to be convinced no matter what, which made it even more crucial that she win the support of those who were skeptical but willing to give her a chance. Under those circumstances, it was absolutely critical that she hit the right tone immediately, in order to allay the fears of those who were on the fence and get their support as soon as possible. And she blew it.

Yes, the SCA and Rogers were going to be fighting an uphill battle here no matter what. That makes it worse that they screwed it up, not better!