Jewish World Review Nov. 2, 2000 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5761
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- since almost no one these days -- no politician, certainly -- admits to being an atheist, Vice President Al Gore is about as close as you're going to get. He says he has his "own way" of interpreting the Bible, much like he has his own way of interpreting his role in "Love Story."
In Gore's view, the Bible inveighs against global warming and the internal combustion engine, but has nothing of any relevance to say on the matter of sucking a baby's brains out.
Gore's religious beliefs -- or "faith traditions," as nonbelievers like Gore refer to their quaint tribal superstitions -- remind one of G.K. Chesterton's observation that when a man ceases to believe in G-d, it's not that he believes nothing, it's that he will believe anything.
Among his other loopy interpretations, Gore claims the story of Cain and Abel is a parable about the dangers of pollution. Not original sin, not murder, not envy: pollution. "Indeed," he writes in his magnum opus, "Earth in the Balance," "the first instance of 'pollution' in the Bible occurs when Cain slays Abel."
According to Gore, G-d was hopping mad about Cain polluting. Cain had "defiled the ground" with Abel's messy blood. Murder is one thing, but polluting with Abel's blood was what really got G-d's goat.
When pressed to expand upon on this singular interpretation of the Cain and Abel story, Gore explained that G-d's original rebuff of Cain's offering of the fruit of the ground (which set off Cain's murderous jealousy -- and the first recorded case of pollution) was simply "a metaphorical reference to the move from a herding to an agricultural economy."
I don't know. G-d works in mysterious ways and all, but His rejection of agriculture products as an offering doesn't seem like the most lucid manner of promoting an agricultural economy.
In the second debate, Gore segued directly from global warming to Scripture: "In my faith tradition, it's written in the book of Matthew, where your heart is, there is your treasure also. And I believe that we ought to recognize the value to our children and grandchildren of taking steps that preserve the environment in a way that's good for them."
Point one: My "faith tradition"?
"Faith tradition" is a nothing but a PC phrase for a religion you were brought up in and that voters have heard about but that you don't actually, technically speaking, in the narrow sense, believe.
Among other things, you do not believe: (1) the weird supernatural stuff; (2) anything that contradicts the platform of the Democratic Party or the National Organization for Women; or (3) anything that might offend someone of another "faith tradition," let alone of another actual faith, like the parts of your faith tradition that assert that the others are wrong (e.g., the carpenter was the Messiah and, no, Mohammed was not his successor).
Point two: The book of Matthew emphatically does not say, "Where your heart is, there is your treasure also." The vice president's bungling misquote doesn't just reverse words, but completely reverses Christ's meaning. By suggesting we make the environment our "treasure," Gore turns a deeply Christian belief into a brazenly anti-Christian declaration.
Christ's real quote comes in the middle of a chapter warning that man "cannot serve G-dd and mammon."
(On a side note, this is also the chapter in which Christ warns us to "be not as the hypocrites" and to fast and pray only "unto thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." What did Gore say about the guy who used to march off to church every Sunday toting that ludicrous 5-pound Bible just before dashing back to the Oval Office to engage in sodomic acts with a cigar? One of America's "greatest presidents," wasn't it?)
In any event, Christ is commanding us to abjure "treasure upon Earth," and instead to build "treasures in heaven." So when Christ says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," it's an admonition that if your treasure is anyplace but with G-d, then your heart cannot be with G-d (and you'll burn in hell). To mangle Christ's quote into this -- "where your heart is, there is your treasure also" -- and suggesting that the environment should be our treasure is not just stupid, it's aggressively anti-Christian.
Gore's rendition sounds like some inspirational saying a guidance counselor might put on his office wall: "If you love soccer, follow your heart! ... Where your heart is, there your treasure shall be! ... Go for it!" Christ's whole point was that if your heart is with soccer (the environment, mammon, whatever) and not with Him, you're going to burn in hell.
That ought to get Gore's attention. All that burning probably causes
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton. You may visit the Ann Coulter Fan Club by clicking here.
10/30/00: Clinton sure can pick 'em