Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Haggard, Conservative Evangelical Voter



It's hard not to render a satirical opinion about Ted Haggard, the politically influential Colorado preacher who has been accused of using methamphetamine and of having a three-year sexual relationship with a former male escort from Denver. Haggard admitted he had bought meth, but denied using it and likewise denied having sex with the escort who turned him in (and who apparently told him where to get drugs.)

A minor note in this whole affair which I found of interest is the kind of viewpoint that people in his church exhibit concerning the political process. Here is a quote from a woman (Janette Wilson) who knew haggard 19 years:


"It's a political ploy by Satan himself and his minions to try and take the focus off the real issues of the election."[1]
How despicable is this kind of political analysis from right-wing, religious voting Republicans. Consider the context: A journalist is interviewing this woman, and the most immediate, relevant comment she gives is about Satan and his minions. The whole idea that an evil entity from a non-material dimension has a singular plan to thwart a political party by making a very conservative preacher publically admit his petty vices would be comic if there were not millions of plebeian voters who think along lines likeunto this pitiful woman. Stipulate there are both angels and devils. Wouldn't this be more like an angel which appears and points out a hypocrite's sin? Maybe I should have taken more theology in Seminary.

I can only image how the founders and framers of the constitution would wonder at the horrendous link between church and state which we endure today in the US. Just a bit of review:

"The U.S. Constitution is a wholly secular document. It contains no mention of Christianity or Jesus Christ. In fact, the Constitution refers to religion only twice in the First Amendment, which bars laws 'respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' and in Article VI, which prohibits 'religious tests' for public office. Both of these provisions are evidence that the country was not founded as officially Christian."[2]
The quote above is from an excellent article written by the organization, Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I'm sure it's not on the top of every conservative, evangelical Christian's reading list.


REFERENCES

[image:] BBC News Online

[1] By Carol McGraw and Paul Asay "I am a deceiver and a liar" The
Gazette ;Colorado Springs. (Accessed 11/3/2006)

[2] "Is America A 'Christian Nation'? Religion, Government And
Individual Freedom
" Americans United for Separation of Church and
State. (Accessed 11/03/06)

.:.

2 Comments:

At 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Granting that there do (obviously) exist people like the women quoted, and that they do vote...

Come on, now.

You take one quote selected by a reporter, immediately confound the admittedly nutty view she presents ('To thwart a political party'? She makes no mention of parties, only issues. Yes, statistically she's likely to be a Republican. And statistically, the reporter interviewing her is likely to be a Democrat. Is pointing that out therefore worthwhile?), and somehow transmute this into evidence of the sorry state of the republic.

So what is it that you're trying to say? That at the founding of the USA there existed no voters - or at least, not in significant numbers - who found themselves strongly motivated by religious views? You can't be, because that would be ridiculous - beneath you, really.

Is it that religious consideration when voting is always and everywhere wrong? Alright - but does this apply to atheists (and, in the spirit of the founding fathers, deists and pantheists) as well? Is it reprehensible for a Christian to vote in favor of foreign aid owing to his belief that Christ commanded charity, but fine for an atheist to vote in favor of foreign aid owing to her interpretation of the tenets of secular humanism?

And finally.. do you really think that every evangelical, conservative Christian flees from discussion of dissenting views? Or could it be that many are aware of said organization's stance (Whose officers have written long diatribes on how vicious and evil the bible really is, mind you - separation, indeed), and disagree on actual intellectual grounds?

Mind you, I say this all as a lazy Catholic who does not see the hand of Satan at work in every scandal or tribulation, and who finds the political behavior of the evangelicals frankly irritating and wrong-headed. But I enjoy reading your blog, and this post comes across as you being knocked off your normally reasonable rails. Which do you honestly think would offend and surprise the founding fathers more - that men can be motivated in their votes by religious tenets and leaders, or that men can be motivated in their votes by the star of Freddy Got Fingered?

 
At 10:37 PM, Blogger brinticus said...

Okay, granted: the lady did not mention specific political parties. I was indeed playing the odds -- rightly, I still say. And certainly ill-informed Christian fundamentalists of *any* political party could spout-off that an evil entity from a non-material dimension has a singular plan to thwart a rival political party by making a very conservative preacher publically admit his petty vices.

But that type of spout-off is really what was so stricking to me!

That we are in the 21st century, not the 18th century, is indeed part of the evidence for the sorry state of the republic.

We have communication, access to education, advances in science and technology, and yet there are hordes -- *hordes* I tell you! -- of such people who no doubt thought, "Amen", to such a quote in Gazette.

Again, being motivated by informed, well-reasoned religious views is a fine thing. Yet being motivated by stupid religious views is not a trivial thing, when there are millions of people so motivated, and when we are living in a society which must bear-up under the political and social consequences of such voting blocks.

Some people vote based on Christian values, which I find practical and defensible. Some people vote on atheistic secular values, which are likewise practical and defensible. It's always case-by-case in such debates, so I take no position about Religious values vs. Secular values. (I often find they are the same.) What I *do* take exception to is silly pre-scientific metaphysical claims.

In essence, I find myself in agreement even with lazy Catholics who don't see the hand of Satan at work in every scandal or tribulation, and who find the political behavior of the evangelicals frankly irritating and wrong-headed. I hardly think being in said agreement means I've been knocked off my normally reasonable rails. If fact, I still think I'm chugging along nicely!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home