Saturday, January 01, 2005

“Ethics Enhancement” from the Christian Right

If the political left can amend the English language to add terms of political correctness let it me said that the Religious Right can amend our definitions of right and wrong to provide for “Ethics Enhancement.”

Case in point: despite warnings from your God not to covet political power you know better, after all you are a member of the Christian right. And really, if you have the guts to thumb your nose at God why not go all the way and destroy the very promise of ethics that you ran your elections on in the first place? Some people might call this hypocrisy, but really, isn’t it just lying? But then again, Christians don’t lie so you can do anything you want.

The latest example of slime excreted from our good friends on the Christian right is a proposal in the House of Representatives to limit the consequences house members endure as a result of ethical lapses. This is from CNN:

The proposal being circulated among House Republicans would end a general rule against any behavior that might bring "discredit" on the chamber, according to House Republican and Democratic leadership aides.
House members would be held to a narrower standard of behavior in keeping with the law, the House's rules and its ethics guidelines.

The article concludes with:

Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a watchdog group, said the House Republican leaders' proposal "would fundamentally undermine and damage the House ethics rules, and would constitute the biggest backtracking we have ever seen on ethics standards in the House."

"If House Republican leaders are allowed to prevail, they will have gutted the single most important ethics standard in the House and turned House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's multiple ethics transgressions into acceptable conduct for all House members," Wertheimer said.

On the other hand I must give credit to the Religious Right, if you know that you are part of a fundamentally unethical movement and will be conducting yourself accordingly in the future, shouldn’t you fix the rules in advance to take this into account? I can’t wait to hear what the good people at Focus on the Family will say. On the other hand I think we can expect to wait, and wait and wait and wait......

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Speaking in Opposites

Tony Campolo is that rarest of animals, a politically liberal evangelical which is another way of saying he is someone who has done what his politically conservative brethren have failed to do, integrate his faith in God with pragmatic action here on earth. Here is a key insight form Campolo’s “Speaking My Mind” into the failure of the religious right to integrate their faith with their politics:

While on Harvard’s campus, I asked one o the professors why the folks there were so negative toward evangelicals. I said, “The Jews respect the Muslims, the Muslims respect the Jews, and everybody respects the dalai Lama. But there are sneers of condescension if someone says, “I’m an evangelical Christian’!”

The professor answered, “ Imagine yourself at lunch. Seated at the table with you is the leader of the gay-lesbian task force, an ardent feminist, and an angry neo-Marxist African America. You propose playing a game in which each of the them is to respond to a word with the first word that comes into their minds. you say, “evangelical.’ how do you think each will respond?”

I said, “Given those three people, I suppose I would hear them say things like ‘bigot,’ ‘homophobe,’ ‘male chauvinist,’ and ‘reactionary.’

The professor then asked, “Now, to these same three, you say the name ‘Jesus.’ What reactions will you get to that?”

I paused a moment then said softly, “Caring, understanding, forgiving, kind, empathetic...”

“Does it bother you, Tony,” he asked, “that the name of Jesus elicits a completely opposite reaction from the name ‘evangelical’?”

That does bother me. However, when I explained how bothered I was to a fellow evangelical, he said, “I really don’t care what people like that think about us!”

Of course, that’s the point . While evangelical Christians should never compromise what they believe in order to gain the approval of the secular community, we should care if people out there see little, or nothing of Jesus in us.