Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"It's Different When We Do It"

"Michael Gerson is not a man who is stupid - but he chose to walk with a man who is."

No, wait, I got that first part wrong.
The better analogy is this: What if a Republican presidential candidate spent years in the pew of a theonomist church - a fanatical fragment of Protestantism that teaches the modern political validity of ancient Hebrew law?
No, that wouldn't be it, because we know the church Obama attended. Perhaps Gerson has never heard of the United Church of Christ?

I realize why Gerson wants to distinguish this from McCain's embrace of Hagee (or Huckabee's attendance of Hagee's services), or the various other ways Republican candidates and Presidents have sucked up to offensive religious extremists. Why he wants to argue, "They were only making kissy-face with the leaders, not attending their services. They were lying about their religious convictions to get votes - and it's morally superior to lie about your belief in extreme religious doctrine than it is to attend a church where the minister sometimes says hateful things, even though you disagree with the minister." As with Gerson's defense of infidelity, we're entering the theater of the absurd.

When Gerson tries to argue that Republicans should be excused excused for lying about their religious beliefs in order to suck up to religious extremists, he also states,
Yes, but they didn't financially support his ministry and sit directly under his teaching for decades.
Can he truly believe that religious extremists embraced by Republican politicians do not profit from the association? That the open embrace of their theology and person doesn't augment their fame, their power, their authority, and ultimately their fortune? That Bob Jones University only wants Presidents and politicians to speak on its premises because it thinks it has the nicest auditorium in the country? That Hagee and similar religious leaders have no self-interest in injecting themselves into national politics?

How charmingly naive.

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