Saturday, December 15, 2007

Evangelical Repents Paving Road to Hell

Chuck Baldwin, a Florida radio preacher and evangelist, has come out and said the following. And the following is why he's supporting Ron Paul.

Unfortunately, it has been the Christian Right's blind support for President Bush in particular and the Republican Party in general that has precipitated a glaring and perhaps fatal defect: the Christian Right cannot, or will not, honestly face the real danger confronting these United States. The reason for this blindness is due, in part, to political partisanship or personal aggrandizement. Regardless, the Christian Right is currently devoid of genuine sagacity. On the whole, they fail to understand the issues that are critical to our nation's--and their own--survival.

Republican candidates have learned how to "talk the language." They know that Christians are basically compassionate and trusting people, and therefore prone to being gullible and easily manipulated. They know that Christians have short memories and are desperate to be accepted at the king's table (largely a result of the church-growth movement and mega-church mentality).

It is at this point that much blame should be cast at the feet of the leaders of the so-called Religious Right. They have proven themselves to be much more interested in enriching their "ministries" (and themselves in the process) than they are in standing uncompromisingly for the truth. The infatuation with power and success has made them weak and vulnerable.

As a result, George W. Bush and Karl Rove have made mincemeat out of the Religious Right. They have shown everyone that once you win the support of the Christian Right with rhetoric, you can get by with just about anything. Christians are horrible at holding Republicans accountable.

Hence, neocon Republicans such as Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee, and even Rudy Giuliani are all currently receiving fractured support from the Christian Right. However, you can mark this down: the Christian Right (with few exceptions) will eventually coalesce around whoever wins the Republican nomination--no matter who it is. You see, it's all about political partisanship. Principles are only something we talk about during off-election years.

Indeed, that HAS been the problem, Sir; the willingness to abandon principle when presented with the dangling bait of an apparent victory over the heathen, the godless, the moral relativists. Surely God must approve any means that promise to achieve such ends?

And suddenly we are all on a smoothly-paved downward slope to what, if not literal hell, will certainly do until the real thing comes along.

Now, there are a lot of folks out there who will suggest that the support of "nuts like this," for Ron Paul, people they adjudge to be religiously intolerant, even bigots and racists means that people of genuine social conscience and enlightenment should not support Ron.

For myself, I see it to people of this ilk waking up and smelling the coffee, realizing to what extent they have been led around by their noses by people even less principled, even more willing to offend the liberties of others, and realizing that perhaps, just perhaps, playing within the rules established by the Constitution is a good idea after all.

And so long as we all do that, it matters little if I think he's a religious fanatic , ideologue and pinhead, or that he thinks I'm a Godless Liberal apologist for sodomy and goat marriage. Even if we are correct in our mutual understandings and each of us is as abhorrant to the other as our first impressions might suggest, - our ambitions are limited by the compact, and he can no more force me to enter into a covenant marriage than I can force him to marry a goat.

At this point, we heave a sigh of relief realizing that the only way the beliefs of one can affect the other is through persuasion and choice, having the constitution to rule out coercive rule by any temporary majority or influential minority.

And this allows us all to enjoy a richly diverse, constantly evolving culture that is responsive to ever-changing circumstances.

At some point, people on the Right started using "diversity" as a dirty word, conveying the idea that any different idea of any sort was a visceral threat to be stamped out, not something to be tolerated in others, considered respectfully and accepted or rejected for personal use as free persons have every right do do.

By the way, that's exactly how I have treated Chuck's faith. Nice folks, most of them, but as he observes, entirely too gullible, and entirely to easily deluded by the greedy, the evil and the manipulative.

People who believe that diversity and tolerance is a social evil are - in my mind - too stupid to breed and should be retroactively aborted lest they poison the very body politic with their bigotry. And millions agree with me, even if they wouldn't put it quite that strongly.

Now do you see why we have a Constitution? None of us are entirely immune to bigotry and prejudice. Let us celebrate then our compact to keep it within decent bounds, and to let no single set of prejudices dominate us all.

Odds are, there's only a few of us that would truly prefer the results. You see, ANY exclusive vision of how things "ought" to be, what values and beliefs people "should" have or what values they should have and hold that rise above the legally required minimum of nonviolence is incompatible with liberty. If you cannot tolerate the liberties of others, you should simply admit to yourself that some honestly authoritarian philosophy would be appropriate.

In a libertarian society, you are entirely free to be a Nazi, an Old Catholic, a Stalinist, or what have you. You just have to live with the fact that your only valid source of Authority is being persuasively authoritative. The moment you start demanding followers to do as you think they ought and the right to back up that demand by force, a libertarian culture reserves the right to leave you alone.

Entirely alone.

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