Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Small Friendship" by Eunice Henry.
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Broken Faith

It cannot be an easy time to be a fervent Christian conservative. Someone who truly believed that if fundamentalist Christians took political power, they could end everything that threatened God-fearing Christians who were also patriotic Americans, and they would begin doing the Lord's work, bringing morality to public life, especially the government, and perhaps approaching the world's problems with Christian charity, or at least justice.

Well, the fundamentalist Christians did take power, to an extent we're only just learning. We know they represent the single most important bloc of voters that got G.W. Bush close enough to seize the White House. Now we're learning how much the Bush government was staffed by fundamentalists. Not in top positions, where the qualifications were knowing and being personally loyal to either G.W. Bush or Dick Cheney, and when they ran out of them, people who had been loyal to Bush the First, as well as Reagan and Nixon. But in the jobs where people actually did things; the people who really ran the government.

It's important to note that Bush was successful because of those who tried to make Christian fundamentalism and the Republican party virtually identical, and so the people who staffed the Bush administration had to be both zealous Christian fundamentalists and zealous Bushites. Every political regime prizes and rewards loyalty. But the Bushites took it to unmatched extremes, and further, this combination of Christian fundamentalism and zealous Bushitry was the only necessary qualification for just about any job in the government that the Bushites controlled.

Those are the people, we learned in the book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, were given the responsibilty of running the Iraq occupation. Their loyalty to Bush was their top qualification, followed by their adherence to the Fundamentalist social and "moral" agenda.

Now we are learning how extensive this is in Washington as well, through the example of Monica Goodling, the Justice Department official who is preemptively taking the Fifth in refusing to testify before Congress on matters related to her job. Goodling it turns out is a graduate of Messiah College and received her law degree in 1999 from Regent University, run by Pat Robertson. Further, since this information came to light, some 150 other Regent grads were identified in the Bush administration.

Whether she was in over her head, or her political zealotry overwhelmed her commitment to religious ideals (of Messiah College, for example), it's pretty clear that she's in the middle of a sordid mess. It may be that she believes, as some fundamentalists apparently do, that their ends or simply their beliefs entitle them to use any means necessary to accomplish their goals, including lies on a grand scale, and corrupting the very basis of the American judicial system by--among other things--firing prosecutors who follow the evidence instead of the party line.

Outside of these precincts of zealotry, I expect a lot of sincere Christians are in shock. Their people got power, and whatever was in their hearts, or whatever the condition of their souls may be, they have acted immorally with a frequency and on a scale that adds up to the most functionally immoral administration in my lifetime at least, and given the wars in Vietnam and Nicaragua, Watergate etc., that's saying a lot.

Though some may argue with the extent of that judgment, I doubt anyone is going to claim that the Bushites brought higher moral conduct to Washington. The corruption over the past six years is so extensive and pervasive that it's impossible to keep track of it all.

Among the most immoral acts I can remember being discussed in my religion classes was the unjust war. And yet, the Bushites invaded a country that had not attacked us, was no threat to us, and yet our bombs and firepower have killed and maimed many thousands, and driven many more thousands from their homes. The Bushites lied to justify this war, then they lied to cover up the lies. They continue to make war, destroying American families and killing and maiming the flower of our own youth. I'm sure many conservative Christians are troubled as well by the aggressive championing of torture, even if they feel it is sometimes necessary.

I don't know if fundamentalist Christians go in for sins of omission, but in the Church I was brought up in, something like Katrina would weigh pretty heavy against this government. G.W. Bush and President Cheney have broken faith with the American people, and with the American system of government, as well as with the core Christian principles as I learned them. It seems to me they've broken faith with many of the Christians who believed in them.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

cups in place #7
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The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

Failure is an opportunity.
If you blame someone else,
there is no end to the blame.

Therefore the Master
fulfills her own obligations
and corrects her own mistakes.
She does what she needs to do
and demands nothing of others.

79. Tao Te Ching. Stephen Mitchell.