Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is The Confederacy Endorsing Michele Bachmann?: A Minor Theological Musing

Even if I give Michele Bachmann a pass on being confused by John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy, she continues to confuse me.

Writing for The Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg reports
At Coburn, Bachmann studied with John Eidsmoe, who she recently described as "one of the professors who had a great influence on me." Bachmann served as his research assistant on the 1987 book Christianity and the Constitution, which argued that the United States was founded as a Christian theocracy, and that it should become one again. "The church and the state have separate spheres of authority, but both derive authority from God," Eidsmoe wrote. "In that sense America, like [Old Testament] Israel, is a theocracy."

Eidsmoe, who hung up the phone when asked for an interview, is a contentious figure. Last year, he withdrew from speaking at a Wisconsin Tea Party rally after the Associated Press raised questions about his history of addresses to white supremacist groups. In 2010, speaking a rally celebrating Alabama's secession from the Union, he claimed that Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than Abraham Lincoln.
Let's begin with the irony alert.  A woman seeking the nomination of the party of Lincoln claims that a person who believes that Jefferson Davis "understood the Constitution better than Abraham Lincoln" had a great positive influence on her.  Why would one become a Republican if one believes secession was the proper course?

Further, Bachmann and her influential professor seem to imply that the US government shares a unique relationship with God akin to that shared by Old Testament Israel.  At a simple level, what happened to Christ's injunction to render to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's?  That phrasing, taken at either a metaphoric or literal literal level, implies that both the secular state and the religious realm have divine protection.  Further, Romans 13 states,
1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For
 2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
I've always been confused by people proudly asserting that the US was uniquely established by God if there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."  It seems all governments come from God. I freely admit my finite human wisdom doesn't understand how that can be fact when North Korea exists, but  I'll accept Isaiah 55:8-9
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.   
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my  thoughts than your thoughts.
Still, doesn't the fact that the "powers that be are ordained by God" and whoever " resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God," imply that the Confederacy was resisting God when it seceded from the Union?  It seems that Bachmann and her professor are siding with sinners when they claim Davis and Calhoun were more correct than Lincoln, the elected leader of a divinely established government.

Writing in the New Republic, Ed Kilgore asserts that Republican leaders
will find another angle to go after Bachmann, such as her occasionally isolationist-sounding foreign policy views. But the bottom line is that Bachmann’s moment in the sun makes her vulnerable to attacks that are being formulated as we speak, and we’ll know soon enough who takes the lead in cutting her down to size, and whether it actually works.
Maybe Republicans should look to their first President for ways to put Bachmann's extremism in perspective.

1 comment:

yanktonirishred said...

Bachman actually scares me in the same way that our only little Dakota Deb Freshman Rep did when she was running against Stephanie.

There are way too many crazy people to discount Ms. Bachman.