Posted by: mutantpoodle | July 20, 2007

Faith is such a cruel master

churchsign_god-stupidNewsweek has an interview this week with Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. (“dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy”), and “a practicing evangelical.” The subject? David Vitter.

Vitter, as you may recall, trying to spread the gospel far and wide (let’s hope not virally) was in the DC Madam’s phone book, and took calls from her service back in 1999. Oh, yeah…and in his dalliances at New Orleans brothels, liked diapers and and other fetishes.

Anyway, poor Michael Cromartie, trying to apply the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy, instead finds himself talking about Senators and hookers.

You almost feel sorry for him – after all, I have no reason to believe that he doesn’t live his life in accordance with the Judeo-Christian moral tradition, and he does seem appropriately disturbed at certain Christian right moralizing:

Q:Do you cringe when you hear fellow evangelicals moralizing?

A: I do when I read their newsletters and the way they give the appearance that they’ve been untouched by some of the tougher struggles that others have. It’s those who have gone through the struggles that write the best. They are the most winsome [on the subject].

Cromartie thinks Vitter will survive all this, because “instead of going into denial, he’s come out and said, ‘I did something wrong.’ If you come out denying, then you’re really in a mess.”

Well, he might, and he might not. Sean Hannity thinks Vitter should resign, as does Kathryn Jean Lopez at the National Review.

I’d like him to stay on, just as a poster boy for those good ol’ fashioned GOP Judeo-Christian values. At least until he can be charged, tried, convicted, and then have his sentence commuted by George Bush.

But I want to step back from Vitter and his head-spinning hypocrisy for a moment. And I want to say, for the record, that I’m not anti-Christian. I am a Christian, and one of the things I try hardest to do in that role is not judge anyone else’s foibles.

Unless they’re being brazen hypocrites.

Or unless they’re blaming them on God.

Which brings us to George Bush.

At the beginning of July, the Washington Post had a piece about our fearless leader which pointed to his faith as the source of his calm and resolve. At the time, I pointed out that

…the point of faith, as I see it, is that it’s faith in God’s infallibility, not your own. If you are convinced that every trial, no matter how difficult, is simply a test to see if you’ll stay on your path, as opposed to a message from someone to turn around, then you stop using the brains and judgment God gave you in the first place. And don’t tell me God told you to invade Iraq with a smaller force than necessary, to ignore any post-invasion planning, to staff the Coalition Provisional Authority with neophyte neocons – God may give direction, but He doesn’t write memos. and I’m pretty sure He’s circumspect when it comes to waging war.

If George Bush really thinks God told him to invade Iraq, when is he going to realize that God is hanging him out to dry?

After all, in most biblical stories where God (or Jesus) tells someone to do something, he’s got your back right away. Think Moses parting the Red Sea, or Jesus feeding the multitudes. So you’d think by now that there’d be some grand gesture by God to save W, who is, after all, his modern DC prophet, right?

I’ll make a deal – I’ll stop pointing out that most of the people who use the bible as a club haven’t absorbed most of it, if people in the media and in the political world stop making such a fuss about George Bush’s faith. Faith without context is meaningless – theology is what matters. Radical Islamic fundamentalists are chock full of faith – so full, it crowds out their humanity.

I don’t know when it happened that the mere fact that someone was a “person of faith” (as approved by the right wing, for the most part) excused their boorishness, or gave added weight to their opinions. But it’s gotten us to a sorry place, and the path out involves looking at the world God has given us and figuring out how to be its best stewards, and ignoring the delusional thought that God is telling you something He’s forgotten to mention to everyone else.

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