Faith as a political expedient

In 1960, John Kennedy was attacked by the Christian Right over his Catholicism. In the eyes of many "Christians", Catholics are not "real" Christians, and there was deep concern that Kennedy would govern as a puppet of the Pope. Kennedy's comments on that were succinct and to the point when he skewered his detractors in his Sept. 12, 1960 speech.

In 2010, the Christian Right is attacking Obama over religion, many alleging that Obama is a Muslim, others berating him for his association with Jeremiah Wright's church. Leading the pack, we have a Mormon, Glenn Beck. This alone is a real hoot, since many "Christians" consider Mormons to be heretics, not "real" Christians at all, and never mind the articles of faith of the Mormon church.

One fellow says, "Beck's not really a Mormon. I believe he had to convert in order to marry. His wife is a Mormon." That seems to be the position of quite a few "real" Christians. As I understand that view, it means that Beck has adopted Mormonism as a convenience, not as a real profession of faith. It also makes it easy for "real" Christians to reconcile - at least in their own minds - accepting as their Pied Piper a man they would otherwise consider a heretic.

Is that how these "Christians" see faith? As a cloak of political convenience? It's OK to profess some kind of belief in order to achieve a secular gain? How does that attitude reconcile with the Christian Right seeing Obama as a poseur regarding his Christian beliefs? Why is it OK for Glenn Beck to be a "Mormon of convenience" and not so for Barack H. Obama regarding his professed Christian faith? And if Beck really is so shallow as to falsely profess a methodology of faith, how can he be given any credence in other matters? Further, if the "Christian" Right is so shallow as to accept all this, how can any American give them any credence in either the secular or spiritual? How can any of them be trusted in any matter if faith is as transient as a political viewpoint? Selwyn Duke calls this one's "cultural tapestry," in this instance simply that which we present as a front for others.

Beck was at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, at what can only be described as a political rally with religious overtones. Or was it a religious rally with political overtones? Is there a difference? Whichever it was, the Christian Right was sucking it up like a Sonic Route 44 during Happy Hour. Beck was playing to the crowd with another rant about "liberation theology", which he is now presenting as a Marxist conspiracy. That should scare the socks off any "real Christian", given that Jesus Christ clearly would have been a Republican in today's world, and Michael Steele would have been preempted by God long ago as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Nehemiah Scudder lives, in spirit if not in name.