Once again, Michael Gorman makes a necessary, yet rarely made point; one that deserves more thought than it generally receives.
The church is not tied to any nation-state. It is made up of people from all nations and tongues, and it supercedes our national loyalties and identities. It does not love one nation more than another. Yes, may God bless America . . . and Guam, and Russia, and Iran, and Japan . . .
I dig this piece; saw it yesterday. And Scot McKnight is looking for feedback on it. For my part, I agree with the guts of it completely. As a registered republican (barely, I admit), I am proud of the ways McCain has, at times–not frequently–bucked his own party. I’m thinking of a few: immigration, campaign finance reform, torture, & certain tax bills. Of all these, his direction on immigration and torture impress me the most. They impress me even more given his personal history and his awareness of the seriousness of the national security issues we now face. His take on torture is historically informed, future-looking, and, frankly, far more respectful of the Judeo-Christian ethic so many of his detractors are so concerned about a President implementing.
Here’s something I see going on here as well: many evangelicals voted for W because he was one of us; we had an idea of where he was coming from, how he made his decisions, and we felt confident about someone who made decisions that way. Many such people, myself included, don’t trust that reasoning as much now because of several of W’s actual decisions, such as his initial decision to go to war (ignoring the advice of C. Powell, who should have had the most clout of any cabinet member in any such discussion), and his support for various torture techniques (the end justifies the means?), and other decisions, even the deficit. I personally was also discouraged by his hamstringing of the bankruptcy code which is a much-needed form of institutional mercy that this country picked up from our Judeo-Christian heritage. At any rate, for various reasons based largely on the actual decisions of the President, many evangelicals aren’t quick to vote for someone now just because the candidate is evangelical and can talk that talk. That selection method has hesitations now, and there are as many competing methods now as candidates. Now, a candidate’s sincere ‘evangelicalism’ is just one factor among others, which is unfortunate for Huckabee, but likely a good thing for the Republican Party and definitely a good thing for the country. But as a new selection process settles in, there’s a little confusion on the right, and fewer easier answers. We’re growing as citizens and voters, even though it results, for now, in many traditional conservative mouth pieces, who have preached their various conservative litmus tests for years, having to accept a candidate who’s never had much use for such tests. Change is hard, especially for ‘conservatives’. It’s harder to make decisions with so many factors to consider. It’s also part of growing up.
In response to this story*, I did exactly what the author invited the readers to do (and made easy to do by creating a wonderful link to the website of the governor of Georgia). Please read the story–it’s short and easy to follow. Here’s my two bits to the governor (feel free to plagiarize if you want an even easier way to say something):
The attorneys for the State of Georgia who continue to pursue additional prison time and/or the official label of “sex offender” for Genarlow Wilson make a mockery of the legal profession and make the State of Georgia appear to be either completely ignorant of what justice is (which I know it is not), or, worse, willing to to use the power of the State in furtherance of far more disturbing impulses than those which occur at a party between a 17 year old young man and a 15 year old young woman. It would be a travesty regardless of the young man’s race, but doing this to a young black man in the South adds fuel to the fires of racism that are still burning, sometimes violently, in every community in the United States, despite much continuing work against them.
I urge you, as the governor of the State of Georgia, to quickly and decisively end the inexcusable pursuits of your subordinates who threaten to further erode the barely existent confidence of the African American community in the American system of “justice.” You and your officials aren’t just acting for Georgia in this case–in the minds of African Americans accross the country, what you do with this young man will be painted on every prosecutor, every police officer, and every state official for every state in the union. It will either be another reason for distrust and bitterness or a small reason to hope that we are becoming just.
*Caveat: I have not fact-checked the linked story, mainly because it came through yahoo news and not just a blog somewhere. If you want to do more digging before doing anything, cool. I’d appreciate any update on the facts, myself.