The Dogma Opportunities

Newt Gingrich says religion hasn’t had a fair hearing.

Gingrich is stumping to the religious claiming religion has been denied a stump.

He’s saying that the increasing number of Americans tired of doe-eyed ideology and hamstrung rhetoric are radicals seeking to suppress morals and deny God. He says the increasing majority of Americans hoping to calm fervor and embrace civility are a dangerous secularism that will fog the Republican Progress.

A pale nonsense.

Firstly, I deny the man honor. Hiding his mistress, he stood on the moral bow of the ship of state while Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski were keelhauled. A messy period for Clinton and Lewinski and our nation. False and cheating days for the hypocritical Gingrich.

Second, he lifts no water. The legacy of Gingrich is argument, a terse opposing. Leadership material is no hack to fashion. Years pass and Gingrich fails to hold a worthy moment in either the nation or the world.

Not finally, his recent appearing as if a candidate to lead our nation is rife with poker. He’s in the news because he’s able to play friends and media from the deck of his favors, not because he instructs fair play, lifts sensible proposals or, heaven willing, promotes hope or good news.

Familiar with a process he helps create, he betrays himself in his own quotation:

…Gingrich derided the process by which Americans pick presidential nominees, saying that he will never participate in “game-show, 30-second-answer, so-called pseudo debates in both parties. . . . I am totally uninterested in applying for a game show as if this were ‘Bachelor’ or ‘American Idol.'” Washington Post

Pandering for votes, Gingrich is selling ‘Radical Secularism‘ as if selling glue to sloganeers. It’s the topic of the day for Republicans clamboring to revive numb loyalists.

Gingrich is building division once more.

“In hostility to American history, the radical secularists insist that religious belief is inherently divisive,” Gingrich said, deriding what he called the “contorted logic” and “false principles” of advocates of secularism in American society.

“Basic fairness demands that religious beliefs deserve a chance to be heard,” he said during his 26-minute speech. “It is wrong to single out those who believe in God for discrimination.

“Yet, today, it is impossible to miss the discrimination against religious believers.”

Incredible nonsense!
As if our world of caustic difference and war isn’t sufficient evidence to move religion to the pew while we treaty a new framework of living together, Gingrich and his jingoists are dividing our nation merely for votes.

Government is a tool, just like a hammer.
You can use a hammer to build things,
or you can use a hammer to destroy. -Molly Ivins

Populist theism is opportunism at its core.

A politician known more for his focus on economic and cultural policies than on theology, Gingrich spent much of his speech on Saturday extolling the teachings of the Bible. He cited the book of Matthew, the book of Revelation and the Sermon on the Mount, and his own 2006 book, “Rediscovering God in America.”

Political leaders that see their role in moral terms deny us our public civility and our private conscience.

Following the death of Jerry Falwell, the New Yorker looked back to the penetration of religion into politics in a focus piece, Church and State. The article helps perspective and helps us realize that political ambition is not morality.

In the nineteen-twenties, after the Scopes trial, true fundamentalists declared themselves separationists. They would have nothing to do with the larger culture anymore. Some of them wouldn’t even speak with an evangelical who wasn’t a fundamentalist. And, except for local temperance or anti-gambling campaigns in the South, fundamentalists didn’t vote very much. They saw the end times coming, with the Rapture and Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ, so they said, “O.K., our job is to keep ourselves pure and await the Second Coming.” This was their eschatology, but it was also their reaction to the victory of modernist thinking in most Protestant denominations. They withdrew and became invisible, so that many people thought fundamentalism was dying out. Not so.

In the seventies, Falwell brought together a group of fundamentalist pastors who had independent churches to discuss what should be done. Then, in the late seventies and early eighties, he preached that Christians—by which he meant evangelical Christians—should engage in the world and save America from moral decline and secularism. He essentially said, “Look, we’ve made this false distinction between the sacred and the secular. In fact, everything is sacred. For too long we’ve left business to Wall Street and politics to the people in Washington. We need to train men of God to become lawyers and businessmen and members of Congress. We have to mobilize our people to turn this country around.”

It was this message that permitted fundamentalists and many conservative evangelicals, who at that time were moving much more into the middle class, to aspire to “worldly” success and to involve themselves in politics.

Religion is a person in church thinking about fishing.
Spirituality is a person fishing thinking about God.
– Gale Mcgaha Miller

Good sense has fair play

Religion is well supported; of various kinds, indeed, but all good enough; all sufficient to preserve peace and order: or if a sect arises, whose tenets would subvert morals, good sense has fair play, and reasons and laughs it out of doors, without suffering the state to be troubled with it. They do not hang more malefactors than we do. They are not more disturbed with religious dissensions. On the contrary, their harmony is unparalleled, and can be ascribed to nothing but their unbounded tolerance, because there is no other circumstance in which they differ from every nation on earth. They have made the happy discovery, that the way to silence religious disputes, is to take no notice of them. – Thomas Jefferson