James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

When Politicians Trivialize Religion

If you read the link to the "Quote of the Day" post that precedes this one, you will find a somewhat curious argument as to why Douglas Wilson likes George Bush, and why he doesn't. I have more stringent standards and/or different priorities than Doug, and find the President to be a complete disaster in almost all areas.

But here is why Douglas Wilson isn't voting for Bush (he doesn't reveal who he will vote for, or if he will vote for that office at all - and frankly, that's not important):

"But here, in summary, is the reason I cannot vote for him. George Bush is far more likely than any liberal Democrat to get evangelical Christians to justify and go along with a public square religious syncretism. As a matter of settled policy, Bush has observed Ramadan in the White House, conducted a polytheistic worship service in the National Cathedral, offered reverence in a Shinto shrine in Japan, and so on. Many of these things, if done by a liberal Democrat, would (rightly) have had Christians up in arms. But with Bush, they go along.

I do not blame him that syncretism is pervasive in the federal government. A good man might not be able to remove all the high places. Reformations sometimes take time. But participating in worship at the high places is another thing entirely."

Bush has trivialized what is most sacred, by behaving as if all religions are created equal. A Catholic e-mailer gave me the same reason why she couldn't support Kerry - Kerry participates in that what was most sacred to her, the Blessed Sacrament, though his actions prove that he has contempt for it.

A lot of this may be lost on pietistic Lutherans and Billy Graham evangelicals, where spiritual individualism is merged with American nationalism and collectivism, which culminates in a supposed secular pragmatism. "Of course the President has to show respect for all religions." No, he doesn't. He can go to church, consult his pastor, yet refuse to use the White House for any religious ceremony whatsoever. Or do any photo-ops at religious places.

Whether right or wrong, these things must be taken into consideration when analyzing election outcomes. Someone who dismisses, say, abortion as a "single issue" fundamentally does not understand the Catholic faith and its ethic of life, and therefore misunderstands the mind of the conscientious Catholic voter. Likewise, to not endorse a President because of religious syncretism may sound trivial to pragmatists, but to one who holds to the orthodox, Reformed faith, it is perhaps not trivial at all.

These are but two instances of how the public square tends to trivialize, mock, and destroy religous faith. The aggrieved get angry, and they have every right to be angry, and they vote accordingly.

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