Monday, December 17, 2007

The Hue and Cry over Huckabee

Now that Huckabee has surged ahead in the Iowa and South Carolina polls on the Republican nomination race, conservative bloggers and pundits have some interesting things to say about him and the race.

John Cole at Balloon Juice has some interesting selections. Good for a chuckle:

Can schadenfreude be fatal?

Andrew Sullivan has also weighed in at The Daily Dish.

It's amazing to me to watch Rich Lowry and Charles Krauthammer begin to panic at the signs of Christianism taking over the Republican party. Where, one wonders, have they been for the past decade? They have long pooh-poohed those of us who have been warning about this for a long time, while cozying up to Christianists for cynical or instrumental reasons. But now they want to draw the line. Alas, it's too late, I think...

Let me confess something here. When I examine my conscience, I realize, in fact, that my absolute opposition to the torture of other human beings is, at its root, a religious conviction. It springs from my Catholic faith, which, despite the best efforts of the Catholic hierarchy, endures. The inherent dignity of all human beings is something I believe is a reflection of God's will through the revelation of Jesus Christ. [...] And I certainly don't believe that opposition to torture depends on a religious base. Many, many atheists and agnostics have been heroes in the long history of outlawing torture. The two most influential on me, over the years, have been Camus and Orwell, two atheists whose sense of morality outshines that of many Christians.

This, to me, is the critical distinction between a Christianist and a mere Christian. One wants to infuse politics with religion; the other wants to respect both, separately, and to keep religion private. I should add I do not want to banish the word "God" from the public square. But I do want that invocation to be as thin and as empty and as formal as the Founders intended. The current Republican party has reinvented itself as a force on opposite grounds. The party of Huckabee and Romney, the party of Hewitt and Dobson, the party of Ponnuru and Neuhaus is emphatically not a secular party.

And that is why part of me, I confess, wants Huckabee to win. So he can lose. So the GOP can lose - as spectacularly and humiliatingly as possible. If we are to rid conservatism of this theocratic cancer, we need to start over. Maybe it has to get worse before it can get better. But it is certainly too late for fellow-traveling Christianists like Lowry and Krauthammer to start whining now. This is their party. And they asked for every last bit of it.

This post represents one of the reasons I read Sully, a conservative that I can communicate with though I may not agree with the conservative agenda he espouses at times.

I agree with Andrew about respecting both politics and religion, separately, and keeping religion private. Separation of church and state is a good thing. A look back at Henry VIII and Elizabeth I's reigns confirms the principle and their reigns are only two of many historical proofs.


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