Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Live And Let Live? Not If They Can Help It

Today's Spokesman-Review (why log in when you can read it elsewhere?) published a Cal Thomas opinion piece in which he advises millions of evangelicals to follow the teachings of Jesus instead of trying to trying to use government to impose moral improvements or what I would characterize as their form of morality.

If results are what conservative Evangelicals want, they already have a model. It is contained in the life and commands of Jesus of Nazareth. Suppose millions of conservative Evangelicals engaged in an old and proven type of radical behavior. Suppose they followed the admonition of Jesus to “love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison and care for widows and orphans,” not as ends, as so many liberals do by using government, but as a means of demonstrating God’s love for the whole person in order that people might seek Him?

Such a strategy could be more “transformational” than electing a new president, even the first president of color. But in order to succeed, such a strategy would not be led by charismatic figures, who would raise lots of money, be interviewed on Sunday talk shows, author books and make gobs of money.

Ouch! Religious influence in government is a profitable business. Imagine if all that money was used to feed the hungry, etc. Imagine if evangelicals lived a life of unobtrusive piety and just showed by example of their lives what they were all about. Wouldn't that be something?

Welcome back to the real world where your eternal soul is at stake.


John Speare said...

I've been sort of ruminating on that piece all day today. It's pretty out of left field for Cal, whose preaching I can rarely stand to even read. And it's a break from the past for him, where he's normally advocated and backed very socially conservative policies, legislation, judges, candidates, etc.
Here's what I think happened: Cal woke up on November 5th and realized that Obama is going to seat up to 4 of the next supreme court justices, especially if Obama goes 8 years. He figures the right lost that battle; it was weakening by year it seems -- as people realized that many politicians will happily pick up the anti-abortion/gay/etc cause to further their own interests and legacies. Aside from the money that Bush poured into the community after he was elected, substantially speaking, I think the religious right got totally hosed by Bush and co after they got him elected twice.
Cal Thomas is just being pragmatically strategic here. He's a shade smarter than I gave him credit for. I still wish he'd go away.

Hank Greer said...

Good points. Bush furthered his own interests quite well. McCain tried to make nice with the "agents of intolerance" who grudgingly gave him lackluster support. Cal is taking some heat from said agents for his column. I think they do the most to damage their own cause when they start eating their own. I hope they don't wise up to that.