Frank Bruni’s Sunday New York Times column, in short: “Don’t judge your conservative Catholic friends, someday they may grow up to be secular abortionists.”
I like Bruni, and I think he’s the Times’ third best writer behind Joe Nocera and Paul Krugman, but this column was shit. Imagine Ross Douthat talking about an anonymous abortion performing liberal atheist former college roommate who later on become a conservative Catholic crusader. Bruni’s column is the flip-side of that.
Bruni’s column is a reverse conversion story, and it hits every number on the liberal piety bingo card.
Bruni takes us back in time to his freshman year at UNC, where we meet his roommate, a conservative Catholic who puts up Eucharist posters in the dorm room and wears a shirt and tie to Sunday Mass. Bruni assumes (without evidence) that this rommate must judge Bruni, since Bruni is gay. Fast forward to the present day, and Bruni’s unnamed college roommate emails Bruni with great news. He gave up religion and became an abortion doctor! Let’s see how many token liberal points he picked up on his journey:
Reads the Bible cover to cover and sees all the “hypocrisy,” as if believers themselves are unaware that the Bible was written over a thousand year period by many different authors, using everything from history to poetry to metaphorical language? Check
Goes to Africa as a volunteer (a white liberal bingo card number unto itself) and proceeds to lose his faith after seeing such poverty, pain and suffering? Check, and kinda insulting, considering that it’s always the first-world white person with a guaranteed ticket home to America that loses his faith, not the poor people in Africa who will stay in Africa after playing their role in the white person’s cultural experience adventure.
Reads Will Durant’s Story of Civilization, Erasmus, Buddha, Thoreau, Gandhi, and MLK? Check
Cuts out fortune cookie phrases from all these books and puts them in his children’s cereal bowls? Check
Then Bruni closes with an anecdote from his anonymous doctor friend straight out of the cliché-o-tron. The ex-Papist performs an abortion for a loudmouth anti-abortion protester lady that’s outside his clinic every week, ostensibly showing the hypocrisy of the pro-life movement, but unwittingly showing a huge violation of doctor-patient confidentiality and, yes, the right to privacy of a woman who wanted an abortion without letting anyone know.