Evangelicals Allergic to Romney

This is a fascinating story. I love LaHaye’s quote:

“McCain and Romney would be like oil and water,” said evangelical novelist Tim LaHaye, who supported Mr. Huckabee. “We aren’t against Mormonism, but Romney is not a thoroughgoing evangelical and his flip-flopping on issues is understandable in a liberal state like Massachusetts, but our people won’t understand that.”

Apparently LaHaye believes his flock is too stupid to understand Romney’s political maneuvering. Then again, maybe he’s right. Maybe that’s why he’s sold so many copies of his terribly written books.

Here’s the crux of the issue:

The Rev. Rob McCoy, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, Calif., who speaks at evangelical events across the country, told The Washington Times, “I will vote for McCain unless he does one thing. You know what that is? If he puts Romney on the ticket as veep.

“It will alienate the entire evangelical community – 62 million self-professing evangelicals in this country, half of them registered to vote, are going to be deeply saddened,” Mr. McCoy added.

Mr. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, was the favorite of evangelical voters in the Republican presidential nomination contest earlier this year and won more delegates per dollar spent than any other candidate in either party.

Other well-placed Christian conservatives say that although many evangelical leaders could accept and work for a McCain-Romney ticket, Mr. Huckabee’s supporters tend to be “rabid” in their views against Mr. Romney because of his faith: They do not regard Mormonism as a Christian denomination.

This is fascinating. Regardless of Romney’s policy stances, it’s his religious belief that turns people away. In many instances, Romney has adopted a much more “family values” platform than McCain that would most certainly make “values voters” delighted by his possible addition to the GOP ticket. But they simply can’t support someone who has a different religious view. There’s no room made from the possibility that someone with a differing theology can still govern as effectively as a candidate professes the “right” beliefs.

With that said, I am not a big fan of Romney either, but I don’t believe his Mormonism is any less of a legitimate religious view than McCain’s perspective on faith, which appears vague and passionless.

What Evangelicals are learning in this election is that their time has passed. The average citizen is no longer concerned with their hallow moralizing and religious segregation. The curtain has been pulled back and big, bad wizard is just a small pathetic old man.

Tragedy in Tennessee Valley

This is a terrible story. My prayers go out to this church as well as the gunman and his family. I wonder how it feels for folks like Sean Hannity, Bill O’reilly and Michael Savage who’s ideas somehow inspire this kind of barbarism. Considering Michael Savage’s recent diatribe against autistic children, I’m surprised this gunman didn’t seek out some children’s hospital to shoot up.

Deny Yourself, Make Toast

“For authentic transformation is not a matter of belief but of the death of the believer; not a matter of translating the world but of transforming the world; not a matter of finding solace but of finding infinity on the other side of death. The self is not made content; the self is made toast.”

–Ken Wilber, A Spirituality That Transforms

I several of Wilber’s books I’ve read, he makes this same distinction between translative religion and transformative religion. I think this is a very helpful insight. He does a very good job of summing up this all up in the link above. I think one could make a very strong argument that American religion is very much couched in a translative stage of operation. It has little to do with transforming our true identity but more to do with consoling our ego. Christianity in this country is by and large an immortality project, fire insurance. It’s emphasis is on our afterlife status rather than transforming ourselves and the world around us hear and now.

While translative religion seeks to make sense of the seemingly cruel outside world, in order to seek some kind of protection, transformative religion doesn’t want to protect the false self or ego, but to nuke it. Our sinful nature is a product of all that we are that is not of God, yet we are made in the image of God. There must then be a spark in us that is purely of God and by dying to ourselves (small “s”), we wake up to the pure light of that spark, illuminating our Self who God has made us…..how He sees us.

When you make toast in the morning, let that rattle in your brain for a sec.

Curing Our Own Disbelief

“Belief is the lowest form of religious involvement, and in fact, it often seems to operate with no authentic religious connection whatsoever. The “true believer” –one who has no literal faith, let alone actual experience — embraces a more-or-less codified belief system that appears to act most basically as a fund of immortality symbols. This can be mythic-exoteric religion (e.g. fundamentalist Protestantism, lay Shintoism, pop Hinduism, etc.), rational-scientism, Maoism, civil religion, and so on. What they all have in common, when thus made a matter of “true belief,” is that an ideological nexus is wedded to one’s qualifications for immortality.

I believe this generates a peculiar, secondary psychodynamic: since one’s immortality prospects hang on the veracity of the ideological nexus, the nexus as a whole can be critically examined only with the greatest of difficulty. Thus, when the normal and unavoidable moments of uncertainty or disbelief occur (magic: is this dance really causing rain? mythic: was the world really created in six days? scientistic: what happened before the big bang? etc.), the questioning impulses are not long allowed to remain in the self-system (they are threats to one’s immortality qualifications). As a result, the disbelieving impulse tends to be projected onto others and then attacked “out there” with an obsessive endurance. The true believer is forever on the make, looking for converts and battling disbelievers, for on the one hand, the mere existence of a disbeliever is one token less in the immortality account, and , on the other, if the true believer can persuade others to embrace his ideology, it helps to quiet his own disbelieving impulses. If mythic-religious , he crusades against sinners, burns witches, hangs heretics; if Marxist he lives for the revolution that will crush disbelievers (and in the meantime jails “witches,” psychiatrizes “heretics”); if scientistic, he often begins a concerted diatribe on rival (heretic) worldviews. It is not the rightness of wrongness of the opposing view but the peculiar passion with which it is opposed that belies its origin: what one is trying to convert is one’s own disbelieving self

— Ken Wilber, A Sociable God

I think this is right on. This especially relates to modern day Christianity as I’ve experience it. Christians who are still entrenched in modern world-view seek so desperately to convert the “lost” but how much of that is to secure themselves from their own doubt?

McCain, Conservatives and the Economy

First off, it’s fascinating that McCain’s top economic advisor doesn’t speak for McCain on economic issues. If a candidates top advisors can’t represent the candidates position on a given issue, then what does that say about McCains campaign? Phil Graham is not a mere “surrogate” here. He was speaking with a newspaper editorial board representing McCain’s campaign. That can’t be equated with Obama’s pastor or Jesse Jackson.

Aside from that, what Phil Graham said reminds of the long-held conservative impulse on the economy. This is a very good example of the tendency for conservatives to do all they can to diminish the idea that there are circumstances outside a given citizens control that create obstacles that prevent them from gaining a sense of financial security and independence. To put it simply, we are all personally responsible for making our own way, regardless of our economic background or social setting. And if you are struggling and ask for help during hard times, then you are just a “whiner”. Those obstacles in your way are really just a (mental) figment of your imagination.

Do we have whiners in this country? Yes, no doubt. Is there an element of our current economic downturn that might be psychological? Sure, but what conservatives might want to do is to asses their own incomplete view of what’s going on. What’s happening to our economy is not purely phycological and we have many who are doing all they can, but still not getting by. The conservative position here, just like one of the commentators noted, is completely out of touch with what’s really going on in our country. Maybe that’s the issue. After all, this kind of economic worldview is usually touted by rich white guys who are out of touch with what it means to live day to day as a regular citizen.

Good luck to John McCain for the search for his new top economic advisor. Hopefully the next advisor will be able to actually represent the McCain campaigns economic policy. Unreal.