I guess televangelist Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani counts in the category of “if you live long enough there’s not telling what you’ll see.” Far from the Robertson of old who struck a chord of conservative discontent among Iowa Republicans 20 years ago while vying for the coveted spot of GOP front runner, he endorsed Giuliani with virtually no explanation. Unless you count his claim that he “knows how the game is played” and that he desperately wants to keep a Democrat out of the White House. Neither seem like good reasons to drop a moral crusade against gays and so-called abortionists that has lasted a lifetime for him.
Not that I have ever agreed with him on either of his signature moral issues. But I might have had even a little respect for his decision had he come out and said God has told him that Rudy Giuliani would make a great president (as he said in 2004 about George Bush). And it would have sent me dancing in the streets to hear him finally admit what God has probably been telling him for years…that blaming gays and young women faced with difficult choices in pregnancy for the demise of Western civilization is not only Unchristian but Unamerican.
Of course moral leaders want to win, but not usually at the expense of moral principle. Hard as it is for me to admit, I sort of miss the old Pat Robertson who stood for something.
At least, televangelist Bill Keller thinks so. Culture War Watch really wanted to find a way to point out the fundamental wrongness of this statement, ideally calling attention to the danger both the Church and our American democracy face if this kind of world view becomes widely accepted, but Keller’s logic “[Romney] would influence people to seek out the Mormon faith…They would get sucked into those lies and they would eventually die and go to hell” and fashion sense “[Keller] was dressed in a red and black Michael Jordan tracksuit, with the zipper lowered halfway down his bare chest” are simply above reproach.
This Week’s Scorecard: At first glance, it seems like the Culture Warriors have this week all wrapped up, but a second look reveals surprising gains by the Common Do-Gooders. After all, Gov. Fletcher’s culture war stoking strategy failed miserably. (He probably would have benefited from the new efforts from We Believe Ohio and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good calling for clean campaigning). And while any mention of Pat Robertson tends to score points for the Culture Warriors, this time he only seems to underscore how traditional culture war issues are becoming more and more irrelevant. Give this week to the Common Do-Gooders.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is calling on the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject any attorney general nominee who is not forcefully “against the use of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
But the call by the 130-member coalition seems likely to be too little, too late as the committee appears ready to send to the full Senate the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzalez.
In a Nov. 1 letter to the Judiciary Committee, the interfaith group said it was “deeply concerned” about Mukasey’s answers on the volatile issue of torture and what interrogation techniques may be permissible. “Our country already knows what happens when we have an attorney general who countenances torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment,” the letter said. “We lose our moral compass; decent Americans are called upon on our behalf to commit acts that damage their souls; our soldiers who may be captured are placed in greater jeopardy; we are shamed in the eyes of the world. It would be tragic to allow an individual who has not clearly rejected the illegal and immoral practices of torture … to become the leading law enforcement officer of our nation.”
As mentioned yesterday, an interfaith coalition called We Believe Ohio is determined to keep gutter politics out of Ohio during the upcoming election cycle by summoning the moral authority of religious leaders and the will of the people to tell the campaigns what they will affirm and what they will condemn.
A hop, skip and a jump across the Ohio River, we’re seeing some sleaze on election day in Kentucky. On election eve Governor Ernie Fletcher suddenly chose to put the Ten Commandments in the state capitol and fly around the state proclaiming himself the values candidate, and at the same time the state GOP and some mysterious outfit that loves Fletcher very much are making automated calls telling voters that Steve Beshear, his likely victorious opponent is a partisan of “the homosexual lobby” and “every homosexual cause.” Message — vote for God or vote for Sodom.
Fletcher is deliberately (and desperately) polarizing voters, and polarization feeds on feeds off of distrust, misunderstanding, and animosity. Simply put, it is spiritually degrading.