One would think that George Bush would have learned his lesson about appointing people to jobs whose only qualification is how much they froth at the mouth when the word “Republican” is mentioned.
I mean, if the federal government was ever going to put on an Arabian Horse show, I know that Michael Brown would have been the perfect guy I would want on point to shepard that project through to completion. Alas, Mr. Brown was stuck whiling away the hours as Director of FEMA - a position for which he had little aptitude and less experience.
Ditto for Harriet Miers who was perfectly qualified to do something at the Supreme Court – just what I’m not sure. They may have eventually had an opening for “President’s Crony” or some such job that wouldn’t have taxed Ms. Miers’ abilities to the limit.
This is not to say that the President shouldn’t have the right to name whomever he damn well pleases to any position he sees fit. It’s just that this appointment of Paul Bonicelli to be Deputy Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is in charge of all programs to promote democracy and good governance overseas is a true and total embarrassment:
Bonicelli is dean of academic affairs at Patrick Henry College (PHC) in Purcellville, Virginia, whose motto is: “For Christ and Liberty”. This ultra-fundamentalist institution requires its students and faculty to sign a “statement of faith” declaring that they believe “Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, is God come in the flesh”, “Jesus Christ literally rose bodily from the dead”, and Hell is a place where “all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity”.
That’s not all. Patrick Henry College also requires its “science” professors to sign a statement saying they believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible that says the world was created in 6 days. Here is the school’s own statement:
â€˜Creation. Any biology, Bible or other courses at PHC dealing with creation will teach creation from the understanding of Scripture that God’s creative work, as described in Genesis 1:1â€“31, was completed in six twentyâ€“four hour days. All faculty for such courses will be chosen on the basis of their personal adherence to this view. PHC expects its faculty in these courses, as in all courses, to expose students to alternate theories and the data, if any, which support those theories. In this context, PHC in particular expects its biology faculty to provide a full exposition of the claims of the theory of Darwinian evolution, intelligent design and other major theories while, in the end, teach creation as both biblically true and as the best fit to observed data.â€™
I am at a total loss. Anyone who can say with a straight face that the theory of the world being created in 6 24-hour days is “the best fit to observed data” is not only crazy but a living, walking insult to rational thought.
And to make someone like this the Deputy Director of USAID is an insult to the overwhelming majority of the rest of the world that is not Christian. One wonders what a Hindu or Muslim would say if they saw that bit about “all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity.” Kind of puts the kibosh on democracy and good governance if the pagan devils are going to hell anyway, doesn’t it? I mean, why bother being good if being bad is so much more fun? And since they’re going to hell anyway, might as well make the journey a helluva a ride, no?
I am not totally against cronyism as long as the crony being appointed has at least a passing familiarity with what the job is all about. Someone with as narrow a world view as Mr. Bonicelli cannot possibly be the right person for a job that would seem to require an individual with a breadth of experience that would enable them to deal with everyone from raving atheists in the Chinese Politburo to the fanatical Islamists in Saudi Arabia. Someone whose entire intellectual framework is squeezed through the narrowest of prisms – the Bible – would seem ill-suited to promote anything except, well Bible sales.
Perhaps Mr. Bonicelli could inquire whether the Gideons could use some help in promoting readership of the Bible and leave the promotion of democracy to others who are more qualified.
And one note to George Bush: Who ever is sending these nominees your way needs to be fired forthwith. They are making you look ridiculous. And a President cannot afford to look ridiculous.