Friday, December 10, 2010

More Compassionate Conservatism

Via Ed, I found out that Elizabeth Edwards passed away. I think she did a very good job of publicly dealing with the destruction of her marriage by an unfaithful husband, followed by showing a fantastic strength in dealing with the breast cancer that would eventually cost her her life. Elizabeth also made a final posting on Facebook that at least a handful of Christians have been skewering:

Edwards writes that she has "been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces--my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope."

"These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that," Edwards writes.

To any sane person, that sounds like a pleasant, honourable final farewell to offer a bunch of (mostly) strangers on a personal networking site. However, to the batshit religious, apparently even the period of time before her corpse has cooled is the perfect opportunity to condemn the poor woman.

I'm not talking about the perpetual evil morons of the Westboro Baptist Church, who have decided that this is yet another high-profile opportunity for them to protest and draw attention to their hateful, bigoted views, and announced they'll be picketing Elizabeth's funeral. Instead, other slightly-less insane wingnuts have determined that now is the time to dissect her recent (and not-so-recent) statements in search of the appropriate codewords in order to determine if Elizabeth was the Right Kind Of Christian. This sport needs to be played so that it can be publicly determined if Ms. Edwards will pass through the Pearly Gates, or be condemned to the horrors of Hell. Of course, to the hardcore right-wing Christian Taliban, anybody that hasn't learned that the Old Testament commands them to decapitate every person that holds any opinion that could be remotely considered "liberal" is not a True Christian Patriot, and deserves the worst torture that they can imagine the cruel little bronze-age god Yahweh can dream up.

Her crime, if you can't discern it yourself, was that she didn't show enough subservience to the imaginary sky fairy so popular with some 75% of the North American populace in her final public remarks.

This Christianity Today article was thankfully free of actual commentary on Elizabeth's beliefs, but it was obviously a "we report, you decide" bullshit article, designed to give only the "important" information necessary to allow the True Christian readers to determine that Ms. Edwards was not One Of Them, and must obviously now be realizing her mistake of not being sufficiently Conservative Christian.

Donald Douglas at American Power, however, was quite willing to "Go Ghoul", and feed upon Elizabeth's corpse the way Zombie Jesus would have feasted upon the brains of the living (had He actually existed):

Clearly Elizabeth Edwards wants to put her faith in something, be it hope or strength or anything. But not God. I wonder if it's just bitterness, that's she's been forsaken by more than just her estranged husband --- that's she's been forsaken by Him. And imagine if she'd have become First Lady. Americans generally expect outward expressions of faith in our presidents, Christian faith especially, and thus in our First Ladies as well. The Democratic base obviously doesn't care, as we can see in the "wow factor" expressed by the author at the American Prospect. Being anti-religion is cool, so Edwards' non-theological theology gets props from the neo-communists. Still, at her death bed and giving what most folks are calling a final goodbye, Elizabeth Edwards couldn't find it somewhere down deep to ask for His blessings as she prepares for the hereafter? I guess that nihilism I've been discussing reaches up higher into the hard-left precincts than I thought.

Thankfully, many posters at both sites have heaped much deserved abuse on the writers for attempting to use a recently-deceased public figure to grind their own personal religious axes. Much like running into actual Liberal Christians, it's nice to know that not all Bible thumpers are horrible, hate-filled assholes.

So, thank you to Elizabeth Edwards, for being an excellent example of grace and resilience under trying and deadly circumstances, and for indirectly exposing the cruelty of some religious extremists.


  1. I can't believe the fuckwittery of the Religious Right. I am entirely convinced that the abandonment by so many Christians of compassion, moderation, and respect will serve as the death knell of Christianity in the developed world. I'll make sure I write a similar eulogy when it happens.
    Not to pick on the dead, but Ms. Edwards was sort of asking for this reaction with her comments. When I started reading her quote, I was bracing myself for the shout out to the big J. Maybe Christians are more pissed off at her subverting their secret code to make a secular comment.
    Words like:sustained, saving graces, carried me...these are the secret handshake of evangelicals. By subverting them Ms. Edwards was reclaiming religious imagery for the secular. If this really does piss them off, maybe I should start peppering my comments with their code words too.... How about it Sinned? You up for some evil?

  2. George, I feel blessed by your suggestion that we deliver evangelical code words from their enslavement to the false prophets of Pat Robertson, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck! My soul aches for the freedom that can only be graced to us through fellowship with our brothers and sisters in secularism! Our shared values unite us in spiritual oneness, creating strong bonds of friendship and family, and breaking the chains Christianity has thrown over us! Only our testimony of deliverance from the darkness of religion has the power to spread the word of science and humanism to the lost, and redeem them to rational and skeptical thoughts!

    (How was that? It's been fifteen years since I left the church, so my EvangelicalSpeak is a little rusty.)

  3. That was further than I got. I actually tried to work one into the comment and drew a blank. I guess I'm a little rusty too. "How is your walk going?" I remember that one a lot.
    My pastor used "justified" to replace common words the way smurfs do. I hate that word....
    I think I'm going to try to fit some in next time I'm arguing with a creationist troll though.
    P.S.- The formatting of your blog looks like hell in firefox. I don't know why.

  4. "How is your walk" sounds familiar. I'll wager I heard it at least a few times. But, seriously? "I got to my justfied car to find out some justified neighborhood kids had thrown a concrete justified through my justified passenger window! If I justifyingly catch those justified kids, I'll justify that rock up their teenage justifieds!" I think I'd kill someone who talked like that, pastor or not.

    I have to admit, it was a little bit of work to try and recall the weird way that we spoke in my church days. The one thing that struck me while composing that post was that I felt like I was writing something almost uncomfortably close to homoeroticism. I have nothing against gays, but it just felt... odd writing like that.

    Thanks for the tip about the formatting. Trust me, it looks bad in IE and Chrome as well - I've just been too lazy to change it. I suppose I'll get around to it some time after I forward you that Intellivision stuff!