Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Compulsory commentary on Sterling, Palin
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Donald Sterling’s comments on “Black people” were distressing, especially from the mouth of an “owner” buying and selling Black employees (and apparently girlfriends as well).

But what bothers me more than some guy’s inner stuff is that our culture wasn’t riled by his adultery, purchase of sexual favors and graceless aging.  We don’t care that an adulterer owns an NBA team, and uses his profits to buy paramours with whom to break his marriage vows.  We have no criticism when aging is associated with adolescent sex games instead of grace and wisdom.  We’ve added “Cougars” to dirty old men, and it’s all good.

The sanctimonious calls for Sterling to be stripped of his NBA franchise, based on his lame attitudes but ignoring actual behavior, strikes me as analogous to some guy breaking into your house, stealing lots of stuff, shooting you and kidnapping one of your children as a hostage - and only being charged with vandalism for breaking your window to get in.  But ain’t that America.  Posturing about opinions, rather than sober assessment of behavior squared with standards, is the new morality.

Then we have Sarah Palin’s laugh line at an NRA gathering, styling waterboarding as “baptism for terrorists.”  I’m so sorry she waited until after Easter.  How uplifting and edifying it would have been to work that into a sermon for the Great Vigil.

Mollie Hemnigway offers sober critique from an informed Christian and limited government perspective at The Federalist.
Now, it’s also true that Palin, from what we know of her congregational affiliations, is influenced by subsets of Christianity that take a different and far lower view of what baptism accomplishes. They say that it’s mere symbolism rather than means of God’s grace. In fact, that’s exactly what the web site of Wasilla Bible Church says. But I would hope that even these traditions wouldn’t take it so lightly as to joke about it in the context of waterboarding. Or even if it is considered OK to joke about waterboarding being baptism by these folks, I’d hope they recognize how blasphemous it sounds to the ears of Christians who retain the historic and high view of the sacrament.
There’s another problem with what Palin said.
Mary Moerbe, a diaconal writer at the Cranach Institute, notes, “Sarah Palin’s brash words portray herself to be a great and powerful baptizer, not bringing faith or the forgiveness of Jesus—or even the sympathy implicit in secular uses of ‘baptism by fire’—but crossing the line into government aggression, specifically against those already subdued and captive. She merged government with religion in one of the worst possible ways: by making herself judge and arbiter.”

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