Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â CHRISTIAN VOTERS GRUDGINGLY EMBRACE PETER SINGER CAMPAIGNÂ
Â J.D. Salyer
Â INN Correspondent
March 26, 2007
The discussion about Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign has been swept aside by the startling buzz about the latest Republican candidate:Â Princeton philosophy professor Peter Singer.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â At first glance Singer’s announcement that he has become a Republican and seeks the GOP presidential nomination seems to make little sense.Â The eccentric philosopher does, after all, advocate granting silverback-gorillas with metaphysical and legal status equal to that of human beings, is openly contemptuous of the right to gun-ownership, and supports the ongoing extermination of 4,000 children per day via abortion.Â
Hence his stances on social issues stand in stark contrast to those of his more right-wing competitor Giuliani:Â The conservative New York City mayor has never once lent support to the silverback-gorilla lobby.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yet unlike Giuliani, Singer has yet to cohabitate with homosexuals — a fact that has attracted admiration from cultural-conservative circles and the various corporate-subsidized pundits who speak on behalf of God Almighty.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â On the grassroots level enthusiasm for Singer is growing as well.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œSure, I have my reservations about himâ€¦ he holds some troubling positions, like the legalization of infanticide,â€ says born-again Christian Larry Taylor from his backporch in Frederick,
In other words, Taylor goes on, if both the Republican and Democratic candidate were servants of Satan, the role of a Christian is not so much to get hung up on ideological purity, but rather â€œto discern â€“ with the help of the Holy Spirit â€“ which of the two candidates is less enthusiastic about that service.â€
Adds Taylor:Â â€œIâ€™ll wait till I find out how Singer stands regarding the War on Terror â€“ if heâ€™s strong on homeland defense then Iâ€™ll definitely vote for him, all other issues aside.â€
Not all voices are so enthusiastic, however â€“ some fanatical-extremists have argued that a Singer nomination might justify the perverse (and, according to Taylor, arguably blasphemous per sola scriptura theology) measure of casting their ballots for a third party.Â Taylor dismisses such radicalism.
â€œAs a Bible-believer I adhere to the Gospel, which means I canâ€™t in good conscience vote for a third party — because that means I would be turning my back on a potentially successful Republican candidate simply because his principles violently go against the teachings of Jesus Christ.â€Â
Patting his 6-year old daughter on the head, Taylor notes that in practical terms â€œthe Republican Party is slightly slowing Americaâ€™s ongoing rush toward Sodom, which means that the day of reckoning will be put off till after Iâ€™m dead, God willing.â€
Additionally, he observes that the best way to ensure the Republican Party remains true to its social-conservative commitments is for Christian voters to greet any and all Republican nominees with servile, unconditional support.Â It takes strong faith, but he contends that such faith is a duty:Â â€œVery, verily, how can I believe in the God I havenâ€™t seen unless I believe in the GOP I have seen?Â (Limbaugh 3: 22)â€
Taylor cites last yearâ€™s case of Republican governor Bob Ehrlich, who fired a state employee for having expressed the belief that homosexuality goes against Christian teaching.
â€œEhrlich only fired the man and went out of his way to condemn the homophobia of Christians,â€ he expounds.Â â€œSo itâ€™s not like he fed the guy to the lions in a Colosseum or anything, which is what one of those leftist liberal Democratic governors would have done.â€
Although deeply religious, Taylorâ€™s small-town common-sense is still alive, which warns him to avoid idealistic absurdity.
â€œItâ€™s one thing to believe in Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, or accepting the Trinity â€“ itâ€™s another thing entirely to listen to wild-eyed loonies who claim that there is an alternative to a centralized two-party system,â€ says Taylor, shaking his head in bewildered frustration at the weakness and folly of men. Â â€œSure, with God all things are possible.Â But that doesnâ€™t mean we should throw away our votes on some pathetic-quixotic loser.Â Give us Barabbas â€“ er, I mean Giuliani.Â Er, I mean Singer.â€
In contrast to
But in his own way Sneed is, like Taylor, just as committed to the Gospel. Â His fidelity toward the teachings of National Review is a striking contrast to the cynical skepticism so prevalent in mainstream American culture.
Unfortunately his busy vocation as a professional conservative of the Beltway leaves Sneed little time to follow the nuts-and-bolts of politics:Â His exhaustingly long workdays consist of nodding his head vigorously, taking notes of what Very Important People say, and diligently cleaning their boots with his tongue — which leaves the aspiring functionary with little energy for less-contemplative studies of culture and society.
Yet he is willing to make a few thoughtful, cautious reflections.
â€œWell, at least Singer has an Ivy League education,â€ Sneed observes as he sips a five-dollar cappuccino in a Georgetown coffee-shop.Â â€œSo from one angle his class interests are similar to mine â€“ er, I mean, his commitment to knowledge meshes well with the glorious cause of Christian tradition.
A tradition which — as anyone familiar with C.S. Lewisâ€™ thesis of â€˜Men Without Chestsâ€™ knows â€“ is centered upon the invisible hand of a detached and sequestered managerial-elite gently guiding benighted serfs and peasants from the cradle to the grave, guiding them toward salvation via mass-marketing and consumerism.â€
He admits, of course, that Sneed is not the ideal candidate from a Catholic perspective.
â€œBut then, who is?â€Â demands Sneed combatively.Â â€œWe canâ€™t let cafeteria-Catholics who rationalize heretical voting for pro-choice Democrats have their way. And they will have their way, unless we all learn to recognize that politics is the art of knowing which way the wind is blowing.â€
Sneed also notes that Singerâ€™s philosophy ultimately supports the progressive utilitarian theme of modern America, which makes him preferable to less grounded thinkers, such as those in the paleoconservative movement.
â€œAnd at least heâ€™s not some nutty devotee of the American South like Flannery Oâ€™Connor, or like some of the less reputable pontiffs of the Church,â€ he muses.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Deeply devoted to dabbling in the ornamental side of Catholic tradition, Sneed admits that Roman Catholicism has some historicalÂ ties to the Southland, but then explains that such tiesÂ should not be taken too seriously:
â€œOf course Iâ€™ve explored a lot of really challenging and revolutionary ideas thanks to, say, Pius IX â€“ like, â€˜religion is goodâ€™, â€˜gay marriage isnâ€™tâ€™, and â€˜art is niceâ€™, but â€¦. well, Iâ€™m afraid he also had a lot of wacky notions as well. He was definitely not 100% solid. He was bamboozled by experience â€“ having met Southern gentlemen, he fell under the delusion that Southern gentlemen exist.â€
The young man concedes generously:Â â€œBut itâ€™s hardly the fault of Pius if he didnâ€™t understand the right way to regard Southerners.Â He was a dreamer.Â He wasnâ€™t blessed with the wisdom and objectivity that comes from being a twenty-something member of an affluent and privileged circle of political operatives in C.E. 2007.â€
Both Taylor and Sneed are steeled for the possibility that the Democrats will win the next election regardless of who the Republican National Committee puts forward.
Yet regardless of doctrinal differences, both Protestant and Catholic are bound together by a creed of hope.
Ecumenically-united by their faith in GOP, they take the long-term, big-picture view:Â Whoever wins the next election, contends
â€œDinners at chic restaurants, big-name conferences, meeting people-who-matter at cocktail-partiesâ€¦ no matter what, we must preserve the precious â€¦ yes, we must, gollum, gollum,â€ concludes Sneed with pensive optimism.
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