Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Messiah complex

It's just never good when a politician has a Messiah complex. Things get scary because the motivation for certain decisions become impervious to exigencies like responding to actual needs, cries, crises, or the voices of the people one is elected to serve. Religion compromises politics for a reason.  And these days within the US political culture, religion is playing one terrifying role, being used to justify assaults on basic human and political rights, to set folks against one another, to excuse even lying and manipulation in the name of God's purpose as one defines that.

Photo: Margaret Swedish
Religion sets people apart, fosters certain identities around a set of beliefs. Government needs to bring together, to represent all the people and to serve their needs. Democratic government must not discriminate among religious beliefs, or to argue about who has a hold on religious, dogmatic, 'truth.' It cannot 'rule' based on religious beliefs if it is to remain democracy. Rather, in a democracy, government must struggle to hold a balance of competing interests for the sake of the common good. When a person governing claims an exclusive mission from God, danger sets in, hubris, arrogance, intransigence.

And so our governor, Scott Walker.  I had been wondering about this for a while now, about his personal motivations for setting himself apart from the people he is supposed to serve, then came upon these recent stories which reveal that this guy really does believe he is serving God by his intransigent political positions. Worse, he believes he was chosen for this - and that is the scariest thing of all.

Check out this story, Why Walker won't back down from the Wisconsin State Journal.  An excerpt:

The governor gave a hint at how he looks at the world, and his place in it, in a speech he gave to the Christian Businessmen's Committee in 2009. Talking about his first, unsuccessful run for governor, Walker summed up his approach to life as "trust and obey" God.

Walker, the son of a Baptist minister, relayed to the crowd two anecdotes that he credits with giving him political perspective.

One involved the story of Jesus and Peter. In the story, Peter walked on water with Jesus' help, until he lost faith and sank into the water.

The other story involved two sailors, one of whom made the mistake of watching the waves break against the boat. Seeing his colleague was getting seasick, the other sailor advised the man to ignore the water and focus at a point on the horizon. That, he said, would help him ride out the storm.

"Keep looking out at the horizon, to the path Christ is calling you to follow," Walker told the crowd. "Don't focus on the waves, and choppy water."

When people start making personal comparisons like this, the way they see their role in this world, well, let's just say this attitude is not democracy-friendly; it does not respond to the mere presence of throngs in the streets trying to get their grievances addressed. Once a person believes 'God is making me do this,' that they can walk on water, how can they make a decision to let God down?

There's a reason a healthy democracy, especially one as diverse as this one, separates church and state, seeks to avoid imposition of religious belief over the body politic.

This, too, from The Progressive, Scott Walker Believes He's Following Orders From the Lord.  I had no idea God was so involved in balancing public budgets. I mean, if Walker was trying to rule the world or command armies, but really, gov...

"Walker said that God has told him what to do every step of the way, including about what jobs to take, whom to marry, and when to run for governor."

Oh God help us. Really. This is all way too small for God, don't you think?

What is NOT small is the suffering this causes, real human suffering, to God's children, if you will. It is interesting to me that in these protestations of obedience to 'the Lord,' pretty much all of the Gospel is left out. Don't hear much of anything from Luke, for instance, often called the 'Gospel of the Poor.'

But there are stories like this - that Walker's budget proposals will kick thousands of elderly folks in our state off SeniorCare prescription drug benefits and force them into Medicare Part D plans, raising their costs exponentially. Really, I can see God now going after the most vulnerable among us, saying, 'Woe to you poor who want the rich to pay their fair share for the common good; but blessed are you rich for finding ways to avoid taxes and other social responsibilities.' I can hear God saying, 'Let the rich get richer, for that is the way to enter the Kingdom of God.'

Photo: Margaret Swedish
Now here's the thing: Walker says this change will save the state $15 million.  $15 million.  That's it. The Koch brothers, his benefactors, have a personal worth of some $43 billion. They could write a check for $15 million and it would be pocket change for them.  But they get tax breaks and an easing of regulations for operating polluting businesses here instead.

This religion stuff is offensive and dangerous.  So I await some prophetic voices from the faith community to speak on these things, loudly.

Meanwhile, another article to make one take pause about what is going on now in the governor's house: Has Walker Become Unrecognizable?

Something is going on here, friends, that is deeply disturbing.

No comments:

Post a Comment