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Nov 23 2012

The Weird Priorities of the Christian Right

I’m always baffled by the issues that the Christian right deems to be important, in contrast to the issues they either don’t care about or strongly support. Pete Wehner has similar thoughts at Commentary magazine, noting a recent Mike Huckabee commercial telling Christians to vote based on the Bible but only caring about gay rights, abortion and religious liberty.

Now I’m quite sympathetic to those who believe religious faith has a place in the public square. But I find the ad Governor Huckabee appeared in to be problematic, perhaps because I tend to be wary of those who claim we know which votes will have eternal significance and, in the process, can provide us with the hierarchy of God’s concerns.

It’s not at all clear to me, for example, that a vote against the same-sex marriage initiative in Maryland has more eternal significance that our policies on genocide, world hunger, sexual trafficking, slavery, religious persecution in Islamic and Communist nations, and malaria and global AIDS. A study at the University of British Columbia found that George W. Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) saved 1.2 million lives in just its first three years. Might that have more eternal significance than knocking on doors for Todd Akin?

Personally, I couldn’t care less what a non-existent deity cares about. I care about what believers think their god cares about only because it tells me the kinds of gods they create for themselves and where their priorities lie. But if you care more about stopping gay people from getting married than you do about protecting the environment, preventing starvation and malnutrition or the horrible effects of war, your priorities — and your alleged “family values” — are well and truly fucked.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Reginald Selkirk

    Speaking of priorities:

    Michigan Republicans propose tax credit for unborn foetuses
    Republican lawmakers in Michigan, a state which eliminated tax credits for children last year, have proposed a tax credit for unborn foetuses of 12 weeks gestation…

    Bold added by me for emphasis.

  2. 2
    raven

    noting a recent Mike Huckabee commercial telling Christians to vote based on the Bible but only caring about gay rights, abortion and religious liberty.

    QFT.

    Everyone has been ignoring those sacred rules about wearing mixed fabrics, eating pork and shellfish, or sowing two different seeds in the same field for millennia now*. It’s right there in the bible along side selling your kids as sex slaves for a few bucks and stoning disobedient children to death.

    No wonder god hates us and has withdrawn his invisible (and ineffective) hand of protection. Mixed poly/cottom blends and clams will result in our total destruction, etc..

    *Except some Orthodox Jews. If you look at their history it hasn’t done them any good either.

  3. 3
    matty1

    Wait, so the mother gets a tax credit from 12 weeks gestation till birth then looses it?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facepalm

  4. 4
    andrewjohnston

    Fred Clark did a series a while back on the odd priorities of the evangelical right. Why would they place sexual morality over fiscal morality, when the Bible has far more to say about money than sex? The answers is that it’s an easy way for them to feel moral. A straight male evangelical isn’t going to be affected by gay rights or abortion, so he’s free to oppose those. Standing up for economic justice, on the other hand, might actually affect his bottom line.

    Mike Huckabee has many more than two coats, but he’s never going to need an abortion.

  5. 5
    Sastra

    I don’t find their priorities weird at all, given that you can make fine secular arguments for the benefits of helping the poor or protecting the environment. Those issues won’t set you apart as specifically Christian, different from others because you’ve chosen to have faith in a special revelation.

    There’s clothing Christians wear … and then there’s Christian clothing. It makes no sense to dress like everyone else if you want to call attention to the fact that you’re not like them.

  6. 6
    Valde

    They just want all social assistance to be abolished and the church to be put in charge of caring for millions of poor. Cuz you know, that has always worked real well…

  7. 7
    iknklast

    I don’t find their priorities weird at all, given that you can make fine secular arguments for the benefits of helping the poor or protecting the environment

    Except the point that is being made is that those aren’t their priorities. Their priorities are abortion and contraception, anti-homosexuality and prayer in schools. There is no fine secular arguments that can be made for those (though there are some weak secular arguments that are being made for those,and sound only marginally different from the religious).

    That’s why everyone is saying their priorities are weird; because they aren’t addressing poverty or environmental problems, etc.

  8. 8
    dan4

    “…protecting the environment.”

    Given the growing trend among the Christian Right to view environmentalism (not just radical environmentalism, but environmentalism IN GENERAL) as a pejorative, the fact that they do not emphasize this issue is not surprising at all.

  9. 9
    Worldtraveller

    This is one of the issues that Jon Stewart (barely) nailed HUckabee on when he was last on The Daily Show. Of course, Jon then let the real point slide in order to move on with the interview and let Huckabee off the hook.

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