"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Monday, September 09, 2019

This Kind of Dichtomous Thinking

is what gives us "evangelical" Christians like "Focus on the Family," which is not a church or even a congregation, but is somehow a "religious leader" because reasons; and they come up with crap like this:

Fox News host Pete Hegseth and Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, argued on Sunday that Christian children should bring their Bibles to school in order to evangelize against marriage rights for LGBT people.

The Bible, in other words, should be used to beat people into submission to your point of view.  Oh, wait, I left out the example of dichotomous thinking, didn't I?  It's a from a comment at TPM:

If we do not impeach the motherfucker, Democrats are complicit and on the record as saying this

(Response by "doctorbiobrain")
So if Democrats don’t engage in useless political theater it means they’re to blame? Look, I’m sorry the Founding Fathers didn’t give us any proper way to deal with criminal presidents, but tearing down the Democrats because they don’t send strong enough messages is ridiculous. Meanwhile, Republicans are just doing what their voters want and they’d be voted out if they go against Trump.

If we can remove Trump from office, we should. If we can’t remove him from office, it’s just a waste of time. Impeachment won’t make him more or less popular. Everyone in America already knows what they think about Trump, so impeachment would be Kabuki Theater and not productive.
I appreciate the sense of anger.  It's what I'm talking about when I write about the anger at the injustice, the unfairness, the literal warping and stamping into the dirt of the rule of law, of government by law not by persons.  But the response is to insist the world work to your satisfaction; it's the immature demand of a child who can't get his way and resents the world for his frustration.  (and, of course, Democrats are "complicit" but not, conveniently, those who vote for them.  Our hands are always rhetorically clean.)

It's the action of Trump, in a nutshell.  Remember that which you most oppose you most come to resemble, and beware.

As for Jim Daly, his point is not to promote accommodation and tolerance for his particular (and IMHO warped) Christian point of view, but to reassert the dominance of his power over the culture, a power he had for all of two minutes or so several decades gone now.  His argument is this:

“There’s a small segment of society that doesn’t want the Christian society to express our values,” Daly opined. “I’m so proud of Drew Brees for doing this… It’s a great way for young people to learn how to express their faith in a country that allows them the freedom to do so.”

“We don’t hate anybody,” he continued. “We have a different idea, a biblical idea of what the definition of marriage is.”

Hegseth, who hosted the segment, insisted that “there’s no real tolerance” in the U.S. if Brees is criticized for associating with an anti-LGBT group.

“This is all instigated by left-wing groups who ultimately hate what you stand for and want to create this divide,” Hegseth said.

I spent a semester in hard pursuit of a "biblical theology," only to despair because there isn't one to be found.  There are many "theologies" in the Bible as there are people interpreting it, and none in the Jewish view of the scriptures ("theology" is a very Hellenistic, not Hebraic, idea).  The "Biblical idea of what the definition of marriage is" no more resembles modern American family law than a platypus resembles an octopus.  Margaret Atwood identified a "Biblical idea of what the definition of marriage is" based on Genesis and a fictionalized "Gilead" where too few women were fertile.  Jesus berates the Pharisees for their "Biblical definition of what marriage is," largely because the law of Moses was meant to take care of women, and the usage in Jesus' day was more to punish them than not.  We have nothing resembling any "Biblical definition of marriage" today (unless Mr. Daly wants his wife forced to marry his brother upon his untimely death).  He is entitled to his "different idea" of what marriage is.  I'm just curious if he thinks it applies to mixed-race marriages, too.  That argument is coming back again, in some quarters.  Should we tolerate that discussion in the name of Christianity?

Honestly, berating Jim Daly does no real good.  Even paying attention to him is probably giving him more credit than he deserves.  Despite the age-old (in internet terms) insistence that whatever slight we ignore just gives it power to grow in secret, the truth is there are always stupid people with stupid ideas, that somebody on the Internet is always wrong.  You cannot pound all the square pegs into round holes, nor first beat the world's swords into plowshares before looking to your own armory for new agricultural equipment.

Again, let the example of Trump, especially most recently, be a warning to your reactions.

As for the proper way of dealing with Trump, the Founders obviously imagined a far more robust and independent Congress which would not have ceded so much power to the Presidency.  Madison imagined a House that would suspend an errant and criminal President, without or without the removal from office by a Senate trial, and so protect the Republic.  Who among us wants to see that principle tried as a case of first impression in the Supreme Court before "originalists" like Neal Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas?  Who among us imagines Trump would even recognize such an authority over him, whatever the Supreme Court finally ruled?  And how long after November, 2020, would that issue be resolved?

We have one way forward, and that's elections in November.  After that, the clean up is going to make the labors of Hercules look like a Sunday-school picnic.  That is when we will really need to turn our anger into action.


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