Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Rick Moran Goes Off

I like Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse. We share at least one thing - the principles upon which he bases his political conservatism are close to my own. We do not share at least one thing - a belief in God. Rick is a professed atheist.

We share another belief I think: the marriage of theologically conservative Christians with the Republican Party in 1980 and increasingly in 1984 was not really because of shared political philosophy.

It was because the Republican Party staked its verbal claim (at least) to being opposed to abortion and the repeal of Roe v Wade; while the Democratic Party staked his big tent firmly for abortion choice and the defense of Roe. For those who believe that the death of 1,200,000 unborn children a year is horrific, and the most important issue facing the country, they really had no other place to go. The rise since then of a movement for re-defining marriage as any two loving people, even if they are the same biological sex - again generally opposed verbally by the Republican Party and supported verbally by the Democratic Party - has increased that feeling that being Republican was where it was at for theologically conservative Christians. Since they constituted 40ish% of the Republican Party, and were essential to its victories since 1980, they have wielded some weight.

However, both the Republican and Democratic parties have both completely pandered on the latter point (a Democratic president signed the Federal DOMA) and the Republicans have largely pandered on the former. The results are that the two Supreme Court appointees of George Bush will NOT (imo) vote to overturn Roe if they get the chance; and (imo) - they were never intended to; and John Roberts - claiming hired gun status - successfully argued the case against the Colorado DOMA before the Supreme Court before he was nominated. While both are strict constructionists whom I support, there is hardly a reason to believe they will violate that strict constructionist philosophy to make social conservatives happy in the areas of gay marriage and abortion.

In exchange for (imo) nothing, some of the leadership of theologically conservative Christians in this country have traded the centrality of Christ's power in their life, as well as the spreading of the Gospel, with the quest for political power - or really just recognition at the "kid's table" of American politics. Now, the first time one of those social conservatives takes a shot at political power itself the screams from the right of American politics is deafening.

That brings us to Rick's "Facing up to the Unbearable Truth" - a rant every bit as hateful really as any I have seen from the most rabid anti-faith secular liberal. It made me want to put my shoes on, take that straw outa my mouth, and march right up and hit him in his citified face with a bowl of grits - and I will not be voting for Mike Huckabee. To Rick's credit, he apologized, and in doing so brought up the real issue:

There is going to be a reckoning within the conservative movement between classic conservatives who believe that a society must have a just, moral order to survive and social conservatives who wish to “take back (sic) the country for Jesus” while imposing a moral order on the rest of us via top down, government solutions . . . the solution will eventually be found in local communities who will decide for themselves the definition of “moral order” without diktats from Washington. [I am going to ignore that "imposing morality" nonsense for now]
Every married couple - especially after being married for 30 years - has had those periods of strained civility for the sake of peace - a horrible caricature of relationship to be sure. Suddenly, when the peace breaks and the long-stifled issues surface - the marriage has either reached its end; or a new and deeper relationship will be formed. Welcome to that moment in the social conservative and political conservative marriage. It is hard for me to see how the marriage can be saved.

First of all, both parties have lost their way. Christianity is not, at its heart, a legislative religion - the failure of Mosaic Law to make us righteous was one of the reasons for Christ's advent - to write the law on our hearts instead of in stone. It is not possible to use secular political power to spread the Kingdom of God. If you are going to use secular law to restrain immorality, the process of doing so shouldn't obstruct the real building of a real Kingdom. Admittedly, over a million lives a year is an astronomical pressure on pro-life Christians to ban abortion. I cannot blame them for trying even if it will never work before you win the hearts and minds of a super-majority; and the current political/legal battle may actually get in the way of winning those necessary additional hearts and minds. However, the amplification of homosexuality to some special class of sin has no Biblical justification whatsoever in my opinion.

Politically conservative Republicans have also lost their way - becoming "big government" "big spenders" at the Federal level (at least). Frankly, it matters not whether your deficits are created by cutting taxes or increasing spending - conservatives have not been paying the bills and instead have left them for future generations. When the only President in the last 27 years to actually balance a budget and pay down the debt was a Democrat - it shows the bankruptcy (literally) of the current version of (un) "fiscal" conservatism.

Also, whether it be actively usurping state's rights through use of the Commerce Clause, or centralizing control of FEMA so it was unable to respond quickly to a regional crisis like Katrina - the idea of subsidiarity has been lost to the Republican Party. This goes for attempting to usurp state power through proposed constitutional amendments governing marriage and abortion: even if pandering to social conservatives, these political impossibilities (coupled with liberal top-down social engineering) should have never been proposed. Republicans, in general, have been just as much about giving power to the Federal government at the expense of lower levels of organization as the Democrats. Witness President Bush's use of the Commerce Clause and the FDA to assault California medical marijuana and Oregon's acceptance of physician supported suicide.

The use of torture and the building of vast Federal domestic spying programs are anathema to classic conservatism and its support for individual rights vs. the intrusion of the state. Admittedly, the need for security in a post 9/11 age requires some giving up of individual liberty in order to protect the general population - but excess is excess. President Bush's claims to unrestricted executive power in such cases do not ring true - whatever classic conservatives trust, it is not unrestricted government power.

Luckily, political marriages are not made in Heaven, are not forever, and divorce is not banned. This couple needs to examine themselves, repent and return to their respective philosophical and theological roots, and then decide whether they should part for the good of both of them.

Hey, they can still remain friends.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's very clear that Alito and Roberts are going to be willing to roll back much of what Roe, Doe, and Casey established. It's not 100% clear that they'd be willing to overturn Roe/Casey altogether while the court has its current makeup, but I wouldn't rule it out if they got a fifth vote. Both of them are narrow deciders, and they go for what they think they can achieve. If Kennedy is with them, they often go only as far as they can to retain his vote. If he's not, they often join Scalia and Thomas for more conservative positions. Overturning Roe with Kennedy as the decisive vote is a vain pursuit, but they've managed to move him to the right on abortion with the last case on the issue, and I think that's a good sign for those who would favor rollbacks of abortion rights.


How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly