Wednesday, June 24, 2009

reflections on Gov. Sanford

1.) Wow. He's a professing Christian-- an Episcopalian. That said, I don't know if he's a disciple of Christ. Looking at recent fruit, one would bet strongly against that conjecture. In any case, he's a knucklehead-- and one who needs to establish or vastly deepen his relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior AND Lord.

2.) If he's active in a church, I hope they impose appropriate church discipline. If not, they should receive a swift kick in the shorts as well.

3.) Wow. Can you believe what he's done to his wife and four boys? And on Father's Day?!

4.) There is a question of "theodicy" here-- although on an angle not commonly pursued. People want God to intervene when evil occurs, especially when innocents are harmed. God could have intervened and had Sanford killed (e.g,. by a heart attack)-- to avoid a lot of harm. God allows divorce and adultery to occur. Since children handle the death of a spouse far better than adultery/divorce in a marriage, then those who complain about God's failure to act should want Him to snuff out the lives of people before they can engage in such behavior.

5.) Wow. Can you imagine that he was doing this in the middle of the 2008 presidential campaign and considering a role as vice-president?

6.) Wow. Can you believe what he's done to the Republican Party and "conservative" principles? On the latter, he seems to be more libertarian and fiscally conservative than socially conservative. Or at the least, his priorities seem to be fiscal and whatever social conservatism he has is more tacit.

7.) Wow. It's amazing how powerful sexual temptation can be-- for people to do stuff like this.

8.) After Senator Ensign's recently-announced affair-- and the shenanigans of Senators Vitter and Craig in 2007-- GOP personal/sexual ethics continue to take an incredible beating. In tandem with the paucity of positive ideas in opposition to President Obama-- as well as a mixed bag in the quality of their opposition to Obama-- it seems increasingly unlikely that they will be in a position to take advantage of any political weaknesses in 2010.

9.) As such, I feel sorry for the GOP House and Senate candidates who will probably be on the end of another losing campaign. Sure, they'll have a few winners. But on the whole, the probability of another 2006/2008-style beatdown just increased significantly.

10.) This harms local candidates as well-- as the GOP "brand" continues to be harmed. The damage here is less, but not insignificant.

11.) This will further reduce idolatry toward politics and government among some on the Right, especially Christians. Along with the impending reduction in idolatry among some of those on the Left-- as Obama continues to tread water and worse, this is a welcome by-product of unfortunate events.

12. [New as of Thurs AM].) He has to resign-- and should have done so immediately. (Why do most people think they're different?) He was negligent in his duties as governor, failing to formally transfer his powers when leaving the country and without any apparent way for his staff to get ahold of him. He lied about a public matter and has deservedly lost the trust of those he swore to govern. He's a hypocrite, voting to impeach President Clinton over "moral legitimacy".

13. [New as of Thurs afternoon].) This was the thing that most encouraged me to post, but then I forgot it until I was going through my emails again! Yesterday, I received one update from a concerned Christian group about Gov. Sanford. This was immediately preceded by an update from a concerned Christian group about an attack on marriage through "same-sex marriage". While the latter is an absurdity (see, perhaps, civil unions-- instead), it is far more absurd to miss the point that divorce and adultery-- and people like Gov. Sanford-- have done far more damage to marriage than "gay marriage" ever could.

Other thoughts?


At June 24, 2009 at 10:59 PM , Blogger Mike Kole said...

These are self-inflicted wounds to the GOP. I say, good if it drives people to the Libertarians

At June 24, 2009 at 11:05 PM , Blogger Doug said...

I'm not sure if I've come across the notion of the idolatry of government and politics. I take it this would mean that people are worshiping government and politics instead of (I suppose) regarding them as useful tools for various worldly projects. But, more importantly, people are allowing their devotion to politics and government to displace their worship of God?

This reminds me of (but is not quite the same as) the idea that people regard politics as a team sport or a form of tribalism where their side winning becomes the most important thing and being right or implementing good public policy becomes, at best, secondary.

At June 24, 2009 at 11:20 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Mike, I agree. But it is still worthy of pathos on many levels.

Doug, most people don't think about idolatry at all-- ironic, given its place within the 10 C's and its supposed role in a "Judeo-Christian nation"!

In a Christian worldview and with respect to govt, idolatry would involve moving beyond "tool" to expecting "too much" out of govt, "dependence" on govt for sustenance, security and solutions, and so on.

Idolatry leads to disappointment (govt cannot deliver on what it promises), bad policy (the ends begin to justify the means), failure to prioritize worship (govt elevated beyond God or at least to an inappropriately high level), and so on.

Whether Christian, theist, or other, the term idolatry is useful!

The Old Testament visits this theme often and explicitly-- in direct commands (e.g., don't trust in princes and horses) and narrative (in response to God's use of its enemies to chasten her, Israel would often turn to political allies instead of repentance and God).

At June 25, 2009 at 10:02 AM , Blogger Doug said...

When I think of the things you describe as idolatry, the word that comes to my mind is "fetish." I had never linked the two words before. Gives me something to think about.

As an aside, whenever I make a connection like this that surprises me -- even if it doesn't pan out into a strong connection -- I get sort of a giddy happiness. When I was a kid, I remember a sort of laugh that went with it. I was very amused (and happy) when I heard the very same laugh come out of my son when he learns something new and unexpected.

At June 25, 2009 at 11:25 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Glad to be provocative!

I think a fetish implies something more temporary and shallow. Idolatry can be a fetish (e.g., in many of the people who casually follow politics and are "in" to Obama) but is frequently deeper and more persistent.

enjoy! eric

At June 26, 2009 at 9:30 PM , Blogger Martina said...

I'm so disappointed in Sanford. Not sure if we had discussed him or not, but he was my leading candidate behind Ron Paul for the Presidency. And he had such good odds for 2012! He was doing much more on the talk circuit and becoming more known nationwide. Such a HUGE disappointment!

And I completely agree about how this just shows the blantant hypocrisy wrt the sanctity of marriage.


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