Monday, April 11, 2011

Speak for yourself, Scott Walker

I have no idea how I missed this piece last month about Scott Walker's religious fervor, but it doesn't surprise me.  That's right, Governor Privatize Everything says he's doing what he's doing because Sky Daddy said so.
Walker said that God has told him what to do every step of the way, including about what jobs to take, whom to marry, and when to run for governor.

When he had first met his wife, he said, “That night I heard Christ tell me, ‘This is the person you’re going to be with.’ ”

He said he was trusting and obeying God when he took a job at IBM and then at the Red Cross. ““Lord, if this is what you want, I’ll try it,” he said. It was all about “trust and obey.”
Funny that he doesn't mention his decision to drop out of college before graduating.  But the piece gets so much more depressing.
He then qualified that statement a little: “I don’t mean that means it’s going to work out for a win. . . . I don’t believe God picks sides in politics. I believe God calls us to be on His side.”
This man is cleverer than I give him credit for!  Do you see what he did there?  "God didn't pick my side, but I just so happen to be on God's side!"  What a brilliant way to claim a divine mandate while making it appear that you aren't insane or the most arrogant creature on the face of the Earth.

Finally, there's the "turn your life over to [insert deity of the speaker's choosing here]" chestnut that those of us with respect for reason and human dignity find so incredibly conceited and offensive.
He urged everyone in the room “to turn your life over 100 percent to what Christ tells you what to do.”
Once you do that, he said, your life will be complete:

“The way to be complete in life is to fully and unconditionally turn your life over to Christ as your personal lord and savior and to make sure that every step of every day is one that you trust and obey, and keep looking out to the horizon to the path that Christ is calling you to follow and know that ultimately he’s going to take you home both here at home and ultimately far beyond.”

Fourteen months later, at his inaugural prayer breakfast, Walker said, “The Great Creator, no matter who you worship, is the one from which our freedoms are derived, not the government.”
Let's try to put these thoughts together in a little syllogism.  It doesn't matter which God you worship, but your life can't be complete unless you believe in Christ and blah, blah, blah.

I really shouldn't have to explain why statements like this are disturbing.  I shouldn't have to point out even that both parties pander to the religious impulse.  I shouldn't have to note that, despite our national Constitution's explicit enjoining of any religious test to hold public office, the idea of an unbeliever running for President is virtually unthinkable.

The simple fact is that a great and growing many of us (fact: "nonreligious or secular" is the fastest growing religious group in the United States today) do not require a "Great Creator" to explain our origins; we have science.  We don't need YHWH or Allah to explain from whence our freedom is derived; we have politics, law, and philosophy.  We have no need of a savior to take away our guilt; we have personal responsibility, restitution, and forgiveness.  All of these things can perfectly well exist without appealing them upward to a heavenly dictatorship.  As La Place told Napoleon Bonaparte when he presented his model of the solar system - which, Napoleon noted, did not feature God - "Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothese."  ("I did not need to make such an assumption.")

Of course, Scott Walker is, to make an oldies reference, the son of a preacher-man.  But that doesn't make statements like his any less offensive.

H/T: Capper.

Postscript: I am reminded of then-Attorney General Ashcroft's pronouncement some years ago that America had "no king but Jesus."  As Christopher Hitchens pointed out in his book God is Not Great, that statement was exactly two words too long.

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