Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fred Clark Tears Gospel Coalition a New One

At his Slacktivist blog site, Fred Clark suggests (tongue firmly planted in cheek) that it's certainly theoretically possible to side with ruthless dictators who have horrendous human rights records, and still happen to be on the right side of a discrete moral truth sifted out from said dictators' large legacy of murderous oppression of others. As Fred notes, the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong II believed, after all, that Elvis Presley was a musical genius and Japanese monster movies are great, and he was right!

And so it's theoretically possible that, in holding the very same position about LGBTI rights that Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe and authoritarian Russian boss Vladimir Putin happen to hold, the Gospel Coalition (see my previous posting for context) may have somehow hit on the one position in the two thugs' panoply of positions that's morally admirable: 

Sure, Putin is a vindictive thug and Mugabe is responsible for massive death, suffering and injustice, but perhaps on this one issue they’re both right. That’s theoretically possible, isn’t it? They’re both cruel, oppressive, self-serving men, but maybe in this one exceptional case their views are actually an expression of the deepest moral wisdom. We have to allow that such a circumstance, while highly implausible, is still possible.

But Fred's still, well, unpersuaded--just a little bit: 

Put yourself in their shoes [i.e., the shoes of the Gospel Coalition]. You’re operating a nice high-traffic Calvinist blog-cluster, posting all sorts of authoritative declarations about sexual morality and public order and the like. And then one day Vladimir Putin announces a new law in Russia embodying everything you’ve been saying for years about LGBT people. Vladimir freakin’ Putin – a former KGB honcho who acts like he’s still a Soviet boss. And all those policies you’ve been advocating for what sounded like high-minded reasons of fidelity to biblical authority are being implemented by Putin’s regime in a transparent effort to scapegoat vulnerable minorities and to distract the public from his ongoing kleptocratic looting of his country’s treasury. 
Wouldn’t that make you at least a little bit uncomfortable? Wouldn’t it make you at least question your conclusions a little bit and start to wonder about the theological and ethical and hermeneutical reasoning that somehow led you to the exact same place as an ex-KGB strongman?

Brilliant. As I just said (second link above), the centrist Christians who have entertained the idea that there's some "objective" common ground between the rabid gay-bashers of the political and religious right and the gay folks these bashers bash might have created a monster for their ownselves, mightn't they? Now they're locked into a centrist position that has effectively placed themselves on the side of the bashers and not those being bashed, and if they make any peep about wanting out of that position--about its possible untenability for a follower of Jesus Christ--they themselves become the object of said bashing.

Karma making house calls . . . . 

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