Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holy Jeebus

Sometimes others just hit the nail on the head ... so what's the point in trying to improve on what Harold Myerson has written in the Washington Post. Here is his opinion piece titled Hard Liners for Jesus (I have italicized some parts I especially agree with).

by Harold Myerson
December 19, 2007

As Christians across the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it's a fitting moment to contemplate the mountain of moral, and mortal, hypocrisy that is our Christianized Republican Party.

There's nothing new, of course, about the Christianization of the GOP. Seven years ago, when debating Al Gore, then-candidate George W. Bush was asked to identify his favorite philosopher and answered "Jesus." This year, however, the Christianization of the party reached new heights with Mitt Romney's declaration that he believed in Jesus as his savior, in an effort to stanch the flow of "values voters" to Mike Huckabee.

My concern isn't the rift that has opened between Republican political practice and the vision of the nation's Founders, who made very clear in the Constitution that there would be no religious test for officeholders in their enlightened new republic. Rather, it's the gap between the teachings of the Gospels and the preachings of the Gospel's Own Party that has widened past the point of absurdity, even as the ostensible Christianization of the party proceeds apace.

The policies of the president, for instance, can be defended in greater or (more frequently) lesser degree within a framework of worldly standards. But if Bush can conform his advocacy of preemptive war with Jesus's Sermon on the Mount admonition to turn the other cheek, he's a more creative theologian than we have given him credit for. Likewise his support of torture, which he highlighted again this month when he threatened to veto House-passed legislation that would explicitly ban waterboarding.

It's not just Bush whose catechism is a merry mix of torture and piety. Virtually the entire Republican House delegation opposed the ban on waterboarding. Among the Republican presidential candidates, only Huckabee and the not-very-religious John McCain have come out against torture, while only libertarian Ron Paul has questioned the doctrine of preemptive war.

But it's on their policies concerning immigrants where Republicans -- candidates and voters alike -- really run afoul of biblical writ. Not on immigration as such but on the treatment of immigrants who are already here. Consider: Christmas, after all, celebrates not just Jesus's birth but his family's flight from Herod's wrath into Egypt, a journey obviously undertaken without benefit of legal documentation. The Bible isn't big on immigrant documentation. "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him," Exodus says the Lord told Moses on Mount Sinai, "for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Yet the distinctive cry coming from the Republican base this year isn't simply to control the flow of immigrants across our borders but to punish the undocumented immigrants already here, children and parents alike.

So Romney attacks Huckabee for holding immigrant children blameless when their parents brought them here without papers, and Huckabee defends himself by parading the endorsement of the Minuteman Project's Jim Gilchrist, whose group harasses day laborers far from the border. The demand for a more regulated immigration policy comes from virtually all points on our political spectrum, but the push to persecute the immigrants already among us comes distinctly, though by no means entirely, from the same Republican right that protests its Christian faith at every turn.

We've seen this kind of Christianity before in America. It's more tribal than religious, and it surges at those times when our country is growing more diverse and economic opportunity is not abounding. At its height in the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was chiefly the political expression of nativist Protestants upset by the growing ranks of Catholics in their midst.

It's difficult today to imagine KKKers thinking of their mission as Christian, but millions of them did.

Today's Republican values voters don't really conflate their rage with their faith. Lou Dobbs is a purely secular figure. But nativist bigotry is strongest in the Old Time Religion precincts of the Republican Party, and woe betide the Republican candidate who doesn't embrace it, as John McCain, to his credit and his political misfortune, can attest.

The most depressing thing about the Republican presidential race is that the party's rank and file require their candidates to grow meaner with each passing week. And now, inconveniently, inconsiderately, comes Christmas, a holiday that couldn't be better calibrated to expose the Republicans' rank, fetid hypocrisy.

14 Swings of the bat:

Billiam said...

C'mon Tim. Like the Repubs are the only ones with Rank Fetid Hypocrisy. Solomon was right. 'There is nothing new under the sun.'

Other Side said...

Ooooh, I like that: "Rank Fetid Hypocrisy."

Anyway, I will still venture to say this is a Repub problem. The Dems have their own issues, like no backbone.

The question then is who do I wish to be seen in company with? The answer: Neither, I go my own way, but continue to have fun at Repub's expense because I see the Dems as the lesser of two evils, barely.

capper said...


I can appreciate what you're saying. It's like the democrats usually don't screw up as bad as the repubs because they're not as ambitious at it.

Dad29 said...

But if Bush can conform his advocacy of preemptive war with Jesus's Sermon on the Mount admonition to turn the other cheek, he's a more creative theologian than we have given him credit for.

Only time to demolish one absurd "thought" from this moron.

Meyerson may not have noticed, but the Sermon on the Mount was directed to INDIVIDUALS, not to States. The President of the US, just like the King of Saudi Arabia, is responsible for the security of the State he heads--which does NOT leave him the "option" to turn the other cheek in case of attack on the State.

In the case of Iraq One, "defending the innocent" came into play. The current Iraq battle, NOT BY COINCIDENCE, is directed exclusively against AlQuaeda elements who have a track record vis-a-vis the USA--think 9/11.

Only low-grade intellects cannot make distinctions. Meyerson has earned the disrespect he gets.

Other Side said...

Which would be a good argument if indeed we had been attacked by Iraq.

And the only ... ONLY ... reason Al Qaeda is in Iraq is because of their proximity to us ... our troops.

You can spin it anyway you want, but it doesn't change the fact that we were the aggressor in Iraq.

Billiam said...

Capper, you're wrong. The Dems are just better at corruption. Repubs are so inept that they don't hide it as well.

capper said...

Me? Wrong? Bah! I think Bill's been dipping into the eggnog too much already.

It's just the Repubs get too greedy, and it makes them more prone to getting caught.

Dad29 said...

And the only ... ONLY ... reason Al Qaeda is in Iraq is because of their proximity to us ... our troops

You actually got the drift, Tim!

There's another option:

1) Take the troops out of Iraq so Al-Q can direct their fire elsewhere (Sears Tower? The Superdome?)

It's just possible that our strategy-wonks devised a plan which gave us the opportunity to do in Al-Q before they did it to us--and the proof is in the pudding, as you clearly admit.

And taking out a modern-day Hitler was a bonus.

Thanks for affirming GWB's policy.

Other Side said...

Now you're being obtuse, daddio, because that is not what I wrote. Al-Qaeda was NOT in Iraq when GWB started this god damn war. The only reason they are there [now] is because we are there. I am fairly confident that even GWB wasn't so callous as to send our troops into a double jeopardy situation.

Or maybe he really is a bigger bastard than we've thought.

Dad29 said...

Al-Qaeda was NOT in Iraq when GWB started this god damn war

Really? Your mil-intel contacts told you this?

So you'd rather leave Little Hitler in Iraq doing his thing, eh?

Were you pushing for a US response to Somalia?

But the point remains, well-made by you: AlQ IS currently in Iraq, getting blown to smithereens by both US troops AND the Iraqis.

A good place to have that happen.

Other Side said...

Yeah, pretty callous to sacrifice innocents in another country without any regard for them.

Thanks, but no, daddio. Spin, spin, spin all you want (let's have a talk with your mil-contracts, the ones who got it wrong in the first place). It's still coming out as lies.

Truly I'm surprised at your spinning and inhumanity.

Dad29 said...

Billions and Billions of innocents.


Know anyone who's served over there? Did you ask them how many "innocents" they killed?

Try it sometime.

Other Side said...

I do, daddio. And there have been innocent deaths.

Nice try.

capper said...

And I suppose the high increase in PTSD cases across the nation is just part of our imagination too, eh, daddio? Or are they just upset because they had to leave that Shangri-la to come back home?

And remind me, who was the one that gave Hussein those weapons that he used on the Kurds and Iranians. And don't you even dare say the Russians.