And other entirely random thoughts I’ve been trying to coalesce into a coherent post for about three days now. I’ve got my head in two books at the moment, one I worked on 18 months ago and one I’m writing now, and getting my head into God stuff is hard on a day when my most difficult decision is whether to have another cup of coffee, much less on a day when I realize my 18th chapter reads like Jonah Goldberg wrote it after smoking crack with Gertrude Stein.
So anyway, the Crack Den’s been on about religion for a while now, the way we do and don’t discuss it as it relates to values and voters and other chewy stuff, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’ve been saying in various comments over there and I thought I’d just throw them all out here to y’all to convince you I’m not ignoring you. But if you want coherence, as usual go read Robert. What are you doing looking for coherence here, anyway?
First, a declaration. I don’t want to take your Jesus away, nor give you one if you don’t have one you like. I so deeply don’t care about your Jesus, except during discussions at 3 a.m when we’re drunk. Then I’ll get all romantically Roman Catholic on you about the meditative value of the rosary and the radical equality of the communion rite, and how cool I think it all is.
But in the harsh light of day, as it relates to your stuff or lack thereof? Whatever. I care about one thing with relation to the human beings with whom I surround myself: I care how they act. If you’re an asshole, selfish with your kids and cruel to panhandlers and always talking at rich dinners about welfare cheats, how you came to divine all that through Scripture doesn’t mean dick to me, I’m leaving your company and not returning. It’s what you do that matters.
Still, if you’re asking my opinion (maybe you’re not, maybe you were hoping for some off-peak ferretblogging, but still, if you were asking) I believe using your “faith” as a substitute for your “brain” is an insult to both.
I believe calling an organization “Faithful Democrats” is a tacit slam of everybody who’s not in your little club, and it reminds me vividly and uncomfortably of those commentators (whose names may or may not resemble Joke Line) who would go on morning shows before the war began and talk about how they’re against the war, but not in the same way as those patchouli-stinking pussies over there. Faithful Democrats. We get it. You’re the good ones. We over here are the stereotype of God-hating that you good faithful Dems have to work each day to overcome.
I believe if we put as much money into the various good works Christians purport to support as we do into Jesus-themed tchochkes we could slay all four horsemen at once and have enough talents left over to swim around in like Scrooge McDuck. The money from the Left Behind books alone, not to even get STARTED on the Passion of the Christ and its crucifix nail necklaces, could cure death. Consumer consumption is not faith, not to me, and on this one I’ll go to the mattresses. Buy all the “Footprints” prayer stuff you want, but don’t act like that’s all you have to do to get in good with God.
Speaking of which, I believe using your faith to shield you from a vigorous argument doesn’t make you devout, it makes you a moron and a coward. Some of the best “people of faith” (I’m using that phrase just to make Atrios insane) are people I can have hours-long arguments with, people who’ll challenge and chew over subjects for hours, over everything from doctrinal differences to political issues. They’d be insulted by the notion that faith is some kind of mental shortcut.
And I believe they’d be right.