Incarnation Works

By Marty, Martin E. | The Christian Century, December 11, 1996 | Go to article overview
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Incarnation Works


Marty, Martin E., The Christian Century


An article from the September 23 Wall Street Journal included a quote I thought I'd find relevant around Christmas: "Liberals argue that incarnation doesn't work." This formulation made me think right away about the Washington Post article a few years ago which said that evangelicals are not very bright, well educated or well-off. One is never allowed to forget that gaffe: the whining sort of evangelicals with Ph. D.s, after they step out of their BMWs, quote it every five minutes to remind the rest of the country how beleaguered they are.

When I read the Wall Street Journal line I thought: tit for tat. Conservatives took a pounding and now liberals must. Liberals of the whiny sort--or, rather, moderates, there being so few liberals left--will revive their complaint that the mass media are harder on "mainline" and "oldline" Protestants than they are on evangelicals or Roman Catholics.

What was the Wall Street Journal talking about? I cannot keep you in suspense much longer. It was merely a typographical error. Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, was attacking liberals for arguing that incarceration doesn't work. Hanke says it does, and he notes that the presidential candidates belonged, in varying degrees, to the "lock-em-up" school. Hanke is not wishy-washy: "The liberals are dead wrong" and their argument is "simple-minded."

While Hanke, the politicians and economists fight over that, let's consider the phrase that was actually printed: "Liberals argue that incarnation doesn't work." Conservatives often do that too, perhaps without knowing it.

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