Christianity, Conservatism and “Reality TV”

Reality teevee is starting to look like droopy butt-crack jeans to me: It appeals to morons, it looks (consequently) as stupid as all holy h*ll, but for reasons nobody can explain it’s just hanging around like a bad smell, year after year and decade after decade. Who thinks this looks cool? Who likes it? Someone somewhere must.

Anyway. Ryan Mauro, writing for Pajamas Media, was inspired by some vapid piece of “reality” trash, and after he distilled it for me in writing, I was inspired as well. I tried watching the clip, but the way these twenty-year-olds talk just grated on me after awhile.

Let’s go with the written summary:

The argument features Ty, an atheist; Mike, a bisexual Christian; and Ashley, a pro-Obama Christian who tries to referee…Ty is immediately angry, obviously bitter at Christians and threatened by any potential credibility of the faith. He says “everyone who is religious is so narrow-minded” and challenges Mike to say God doesn’t exist. When Mike refuses to, that is proof that he isn’t open-minded, according to Ty. For the most part, Mike stays cool throughout, reflecting a confidence in his faith and position…
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Mike explains how the idea that his bisexuality means “you can’t be religious, you can’t follow the Bible, you can’t follow God … is stupid.” This may sound like a hippie version of Christianity that means there is no objective right and wrong, but he further explains.

“My church is come-as-you-are and we’ll teach you Christ and we’ll make you better and if you’re flawed, everybody’s flawed, just do what you can,” he says, and then he goes onto explain the concept of Christ’s sacrifice and God’s love. Again, this sounds like an acceptance of sin, but if you listen closely, he’s acknowledging that we’re all sinners and in need of salvation. And as all sinners require God’s mercy, this means we are all on the same plane – whether you’re a bisexual, or lie, or act selfishly, or ever step into any of the pitfalls that all of us have – unless you think you’re perfect, which is a pitfall in and of itself.

This just completely nails it. And if you’re really paying attention, you see how the American experiment fits right into this: All men are created equal, and all that. Ted Kennedy was not a wonderful demigod whose poop didn’t stink; Barack Obama isn’t one right now, nor will He ever be. We’re all just people. We make our imperfect institutions within our imperfect lives on this imperfect plane of existence, and we do the best we can.

Hit the Nail on the HeadWe sometimes embrace a spirit of community to correct mistakes for each other. Like, for example, you could confuse “health care reform” with a process of corrupt politicians washing each others’ backsides, making closed-door deals to get “The Legislation” passed. If you can fall for that, then as an individual you can make mistakes, which it’s up to the community to then correct.

We sometimes take that too far, and declare a kind of war on the individual, pronouncing the community to be the source of all that is wise and good. That, too, is a mortal mistake. Or, we revert to our primitive urges and start to align ourselves into stratified, aristocratic layers. That, also, is a mistake made by terrestrial, flawed ordinary people.

If you think this is veering off into the Supreme Court decision, you’re right.

Ben Shapiro, at Townhall, did a great job of summarizing exactly what this means:

The case, entitled Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, dealt with Citizens United’s “Hillary: The Movie,” a 2008 documentary highly critical of the then-Democratic presidential candidate. The Federal Election Commission saw the documentary as a political advertisement in violation of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act (BCRA), and shut down Citizen United’s publicity efforts. Citizens United sued. And on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations no less than individuals have a right to political speech.
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The unspoken rationale behind campaign finance reform has always been the equalization of access to political influence; many leftists feel that a poor man’s speech is not truly “free” unless it counts as much as a rich man’s in the public square. In this view, free speech is a commodity to be parceled out by the government in the name of equality, not an opportunity or a restriction on government interference in political action.

Because this rationale is not palatable to most Americans — we don’t want the government rationing our speech — the campaign finance reform gurus have cloaked themselves in the guise of “anti-corruption.” In Citizens United, however, the Supreme Court came out foursquare against that flimsy facade. “[T]he First Amendment,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, surprisingly lucid for once, “does not allow political speech restrictions based on a speaker’s corporate identity.”

This drives home exactly what liberalism is: Like conservatism, it acknowledges that people are inherently flawed. Since we’re flawed, we are capable of doing things that are bad — once we get ahold of the resources needed to do harm. Like a gun. Or mass-communication access to voters. Or what is surely the most dangerous weapon of all: The faith in the idea that we were put here for a reason, and if are sufficiently determined, we will succeed in what we were put here to do.

Liberals have a solution for this. Although this stain of flaw is certainly on us, from somewhere deep in their nether regions they’ve pulled out this hypothesis that it’s not interwoven with our DNA; instead, it is drizzled down upon us disproportionately. Some of us are awash in it. Most of us are just spattered with a light coating, and just a few fortunate folks have missed the smearing entirely. They may not be living on a plane of perfection, but somehow, doggone it they just are.

The solution therefore is clear: Identify who among us is least tainted by this meandering paintbrush of flaw, and install these Special People into some high position in which they can deprive the most grievously flawed from the tools that could & would be used to do harm. For an example, look no further than that awesome little document put out by Janet Napolitano’s agency…remember that? How it called out targeted classes of — citizens? For special scrutiny, to make sure they don’t do anything dangerous? Liberalism in a nutshell. Argue forcefully against any kind of “profiling,” come up with a new variant of it, and then go ahead and practice it without reservation, apology, or even a hint of irony.

We therefore need to organize into Elites and Commons. There needs to be an aristocracy. These Superpeople at the top, like Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, therefore, are best suited to figure out what our health care habits should be, what kinds of cars our companies should build, what magnitudes of “Executive Bonus” are alright, when we should go to bed, what kind of food we should eat. The rest of us should then just do what they say.

Oh yeah: And get extra, extra nasty toward anyone who disagrees. Raise our voices to drown them out.

Spirit of 1776The conservative viewpoint is different…and yes, it has a relationship with Christianity, even among conservatives who happen to be atheists. It says, since we’re all descended from Adam, we are all tainted. Like the reality-teevee guy said, the tainting is conceptually uniform, and places us on a unifying, level egalitarian plane. So no, this layering of Special People versus plain ordinary hoi polloi, this just isn’t going to work.

And this seems to be where all the conflict emerges. The Constitution, in letter as well as in spirit, adheres to a principle of Separation of Powers. And so the debate is about — shouldn’t we just bulldoze that whole thing out of the way? These Special People need their Special Powers to make us just a little bit more perfect, like them. If we don’t give them these powers, we condemn any & all opportunity we may have to get better, and therefore it’s inevitable that we’ll get much worse! That’s just sensible, durable logic isn’t it?

And the conservatives continue to cling to this reckless and foolhardy notion of something called “freedom.”

Perhaps there is no way for these two sides to get along with each other. What we should do, is get rid of these Christian Conservatives. We should banish them somewhere; let them start their own country. They could write up some documents defining how this strange, expurgated malignancy is supposed to work…you know, dedicated to their sick, weird proposition that all men are created equal. They can go there and worship their strange little sky-fairy, maybe even include Him in their special little documents, how self-evident they hold it to be that they are endowed by their Creator with certain individual rights, that chief among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…

Hmm, where in the world should we put them, I wonder? Could there be a country somewhere on the planet that already believes in this silly stuff? What could it be called, and where is it?

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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