This post has been updated at my Examiner.com column. If you read it there I’ll make a few cents.
Here is the part where a socially liberal, militant atheist, pajama’d blogger trumpets the blatant hypocrisy of politicians and leaders of the religious right who find their names in little black books, take wide stances in public bathrooms, use party funds to keep the kid quiet, or take long hikes through Appalachia. Ha! You see?? They all ride around on their high moral horses and then they blah, blah, blah, blah.
Joe Conason at Salon has already done the definitive smackdown of GOP moralism, and I certainly don’t need to do a rehash. I’m less interested in the blatant double standard, and more interested in the role religion plays in these affairs, or rather, the role it never gets to play.
I don’t see the recent GOP sex scandals as an indictment of their religion or the tenets thereof (plenty of time for that later). Christians all, and every one of them extremely noisy about it, surely. But I think their failures only go to show how little power these myths really have when competing with other irresistible supernatural forces such as the boobies of someone who isn’t your wife (also known as “two magnificent parts of yourself”). You know the backdrop: Senator Ensign was a central backer of the entirely too weird Promise Keepers phenomenon, which was all about becoming a better Christian and, oh yes, keeping promises. “God’s law,” meanwhile, was one of Governor Sanford’s many refrains at his own press-confessional. Etcetera.
All that may serve to make Sanford (etcetera) seem penitent, but I think that misses the point. “God’s law” sounds pretty huge to me. If you are as devout a believer as Sanford declares himself to be, you’d think that the notion of “God’s law” would be the end-all-be-all, not to be crossed any more than one would cross the particle beams of a positron collider. It’s one thing to do 45 in a 25 mph zone, but this is God’s law we’re talking about here! But oh, those two magnificent parts! Screw God’s law, right? When something so comparatively trivial can trigger the flouting of the revealed word of the creator of the universe (who is reading your thoughts and watching you touch both of that nice Argentinian lady’s magnificent parts), I begin to doubt how seriously you really take this creed of yours.
And let’s keep in mind: It was not the wrenching guts of a tortured soul that got Sanford, Vitter, Ensign, or Craig to fess up. They didn’t fear for their timeshares in the afterlife, nor did they see a vision of a tut-tutting Jesus hovering over them while in passionate throes. They held their conferences, released their dour statements, and apologized to those unwise enough to have faith in them, because they got caught. Had there not been some intrepid journalists, law enforcement, or aggrieved parties ready to blow the whistle, those men would have gone on doing what they were doing, keeping a bag over Jesus’s head, pretending he wasn’t there. I know he’s not there, but that’s not what they’re supposed to think.
This is about the saddest example of religious devotion I’ve ever heard.
It’s not enough that these guys buy into a bronze age myth about an ultra-judgmental superdaddy in the sky, and it’s not enough that they shove the made-up dictates of that fictional overlord down our throats, but they don’t even have the strength to even try live up to those rules themselves — they show no evidence of having any real intention of doing so. If they really thought they were going to suffer eternal damnation and disappoint God himself, they would have at least put the brakes on a little sooner, don’t you think? If I were Yahweh, I’d be feeling pretty disregarded right about now.
So not only should you not “do as they say, not what they do,” you shouldn’t even believe what they say, because whether they’re conscious of it or not, they don’t really believe it either.
|I betray you and you and you and you…|