Saturday, August 16, 2008

McCain Faking It on Religion

In certain ways, tonight's "values showdown" between John McCain and Barack Obama is going to be a farce. That's because no one can be a very good Christian and devote their whole souls (as they must) to winning election in a large, contentious country like the United States.

But it's a particular problem for McCain because he's faking it. I'm not saying that McCain's an atheist like I am, but McCain appears "uneasy — even forced" when he is called upon to discuss his Christian beliefs because his faith tank is on "E" and he's unwilling to fill up.

McCain's religion is all about politics.

After killing off his 2000 campaign when he said that Falwell and Robertson were "agents of intolerance," McCain wasn't going to get burned by religion again.

So McCain did a 180 degree turn. Just as George Wallace promised that he wouldn't be "outsegged" after a gubernatorial defeat in Alabama, McCain decided that he wouldn't be "out Jesused" the next time he ran for president.

McCain announced his affiliation with the more evangelical Baptists. He also started to make promises to the Christian right in terms of judicial appointments, made his peace with Falwell, and sought the support of megachurch ministers like John Hagee.

It was all calculated. It was all phony. And it's all been successful so far.

The religious right knew that McCain was not being sincere but McCain showed them enough obeisance that the right also accepted that McCain would not be an enemy.

At that point, they could rally around McCain as the "anybody but a Democrat" choice.

And McCain got bonus points from the national media for his insincere pandering. McCain was so utterly unconvincing in his reconciliation with the Christian right that his media friends viewed McCain's discomfort as a sign of his basic integrity.

In other words, McCain's lying became a symbol of his honesty.

I'm not sure that will work for Rick Warren's made for television event tonight.

Obama is up to his eyeballs in religion and much of his success as a speaker comes from his being so immersed in the traditions of the black church (yes, the creepy Jeremiah Wright's black church).

There's a good chance that McCain's cynicism and insincerity will look poorly in comparison.


Anonymous said...

Great point. McCain is not as enthusiastic as his opponent about religion. His opponent embraced a minister who spent 20 years preaching Marxism to Obama, damning the United States, and trashing our country.

Obama not only refused to ditch this minister but sought to make excuses for him, claiming he was just a little eccentric, like your uncle. He pledged that he could no more disown him than a member of his family. Then the preacher got a little too embarassing and Obama pitched him overboard.

Then Obama went on to claim those of us with guns in rural areas were "clinging to God" because of economic hard times. We can get a sense of the profound spirituality of Obama from the disdain he holds for rural believers.

I did get a kick out of your blog intro though. Do you ever make it out of the Ivory Tower and mingle with the peasantry?


Ric Caric said...

You gotta do a better job keeping up with the right wing line. David Brooks and Peggy Noonan now say that Obama is "rootless" because he went to Jeremiah Wright's church without being affected by his sermons. Maybe Obama was like most Americans in not paying attention to the sermons on Sunday. I never did when I went to church.

My first paragraph came out of a reflection on this passage from Luke:

"Woe unto you when all men speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26)

I mean "Christian" in terms of being a "follower of Jesus." As the quote above illustrates, Jesus was suspicious of the kind of the popularity it takes to be elected president of the U. S. He was also suspicious of wealth ("Woe unto you that are rich"--Luke 6:24), family relationships ("If any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters . . . he cannot be my disciple--Luke 14-26), labor, and anything else that detracts a person from worshipping Him. Given that running for president is an all-consuming activity, I have a hard time seeing how anyone can run for president and be much of a follower of Jesus.

As for ivory towers, there are no ivory towers in Eastern Kentucky.

Anonymous said...

I think McCain is faking it on more than religion. How about the economy, education, the internet or trade with China just to name a few?

Obama is just a better faker than McCain.

Ric Caric said...

What do you think Obama's faking on?