May 24, 2010

Mark Souder and the Christian political right

E.J. Dionne has a very thoughtful and compassionate column on Souder, who he knows and has worked with before. He suggests that one lesson from this mess is for the Christian right to stop pretending they have a corner on family values:
Enough with dividing the world between moral, family-loving Christians and supposedly permissive, corrupt, family-destroying secularists.

Enough with pretending that personal virtue is connected with political creeds. Enough with condemning your adversaries, sometimes viciously, and then insisting upon understanding after the failures of someone on your own side become known to the world. And enough with claiming that support for gay rights and gay marriage is synonymous with opposition to family values and sexual responsibility.

I have a lot of compassion for Souder too. It is the height of arrogance to assume that we are incapable of falling to temptation. But I continue to be amazed at how compassionate and forgiving the Christian right can be for their own, but have none for a liberal who strays. Bill Clinton and John Edwards come to mind, while Newt Gingrich prepares his run for President by comparing Obama to Hitler and Stalin. Or the fact that Hilary Clinton is still demonized by the right for her marriage and family, while Sarah Palin somehow is a model of "family values?"

By all means, extend a measure of grace to Mark Souder and his family. This is a tough time, made the more difficult by having your adultery broadcast on ever channel. But save some of that grace and understanding for those on the left.

3 comments:

Smitty said...

There are some beautiful people in church. Monk In Training strikes me as a guy who has a wonderful, spiritually fulfilling world view and spiritual view. He exemplifies what I think is a person who strives hard to achieve a balanced life of peace. I like that guy.

Unfortunately, he serves along-side people who demonize differing points of view...secular points of view about the role of government in our lives...as corrupt. He serves along with people who are unwilling to admit their own hypocracy.

It pains him, as he makes evident in some of his comments. And I try REALLY REALLY hard to not paint "religious" people with a broad brush because there are truly beautiful people out there...like Monk. But MAN it gets hard, and E.J. Dionne perfectly states why.

Monk-in-Training said...

Smitty,
You can't imagine my surprise when I read your kind words. Thank you so much, but please know, I am as flawed as any I serve next to.

I have vowed to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and that I shall do. Mark Souder is a soul in a time of crisis, and my heart goes out to him, I so wish I could help. I do pray for him and his family.

Is it not the heart of the Gospel to love those who persecute you? Mr. Souder and his family need the love of God just now.

I am afraid he has been caught up in this volatile mixture of Christianism and Nationalism that is poisoning our politics these days.

For the last several years an element of American Christianity as been very closely associated with a narrow political platform, and is transforming itself into something barely recognizable as historically Christian.

Do politicians that are supported by the Christian Right live open, holy lives? Sadly I think not. I see too many politicians living dark lives, full of hidden sins, and personal despair and destruction. They openly proclaim faith in Jesus and preach against the very things they are doing! I think this causes them personal pain and can lead to them loosing their Faith.

I often hear conservatives use Bible verses to clobber those whose sexual orientation they abhor, however as Jesus taught us to do, what if they pointed those verses at themselves? Would the horror of Idolatry shine through?

I have also heard it said that 'It ain’t deception if it ain’t seductive."

Sorry for the long rant, and thanks again Smitty, you are far too kind.

Pax Christi, Br. James Patrick

Bob said...

Great post, good article and I really enjoy Monk-in-Training too.