There is a most remarkable article circulating this evening concerning James Dobson’s pending endorsement of Mike Huckabee for president. Now, it isn’t all that remarkable that Dobson–an evangelical–would endorse Huckabee–an evangelical. What is remarkable is the way this particular reporter reported the endorsement.
I have posted an exact quote from the Yahoo on-line article in which I read of Dobson’s endorsement. Read this quote carefully:
“Huckabee had long sought Dobson’s endorsement, believing he is the best fit to advance Dobson’s conservative, moral worldview.”
Notice the comma between conservative and moral. Without the comma, the author is saying that Dobson has a conservative moral worldview. (In other words, his moral view is conservative). With the comma, however, the author is equating conservative with moral. He is saying Dobson’s worldview is conservative and moral. He is making conservativism equivalent to moralism. Is this an implicit admission that a non-conservative worldview (as in a liberal worldview) is also a non-moral worldview? This is exactly the way the writer made it sound by inserting the comma. I don’t know whether he intended it this way or not, but we must be careful with what we say (and how we say it).