The Bible as Bludgeon

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YOU can make a successful run for political office in this country without an especially thick résumé, any exceptional talent for expressing yourself, a noteworthy education or, for that matter, a basic grasp of science.

But you better have religion. You better be ready to profess your faith in and fealty to God — the Judeo-Christian one, of course. And you better be convincing. A dust-up last week in the 2014 race for a United States Senate seat from Arkansas provided a sad reminder of this, showing once again that our ballyhooed separation of church and state is less canyon than itty-bitty crack.

The Democratic incumbent, Mark Pryor, released a television commercial. Yes, I know, it’s awfully early for this sort of thing, given that the election is 11 months off. But Pryor’s in trouble. His approval rating recently dipped below 40 percent. His state right now is much redder than it is blue. Republican strategists see his defeat as key to retaking the Senate majority.

And his Republican opponent, an up-and-coming congressman named Tom Cotton, is no slouch. Good-looking. Smart. Delayed a promising legal career to serve in the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. Makes the hearts of his conservative compatriots quiver and their wallets open like steamed clams. A profile of him in the National Journal last week called him “too good to be true,” noting his “perfect pedigree” and observing that his “timing couldn’t be better.” Arkansas, it said, is “a hellscape for Democrats.”

Written By: Frank Bruni
continue to source article at nytimes.com

10 COMMENTS

  1. “This is my comfort my North Star.”

    I wonder, does that mean that he’s going to give no thought to the future, leave his family and follow the Lord?

    There’s no money in that racket chuck!

  2. I think this is one aspect of religion that is overlooked sometimes. That belonging to a certain faith can be very good for business. I’m not talking about the megabucks preachers or the Vatican art collection, yes the overlap between money and faith is obvious in those ways but rather the more subtle networking and marketing opportunities. In business so much of what gets done happens informally, on the golf course and in the church. Mormons and Scientologists right now are amazingly good at this. I’ve heard people claim it can be very beneficial to your career as a rising actor in Hollywood to be a Scientologist. And the Mormons have been doing it since Howard Hughes used them to take over parts of Las Vegas. Another example is just in making movies. I’ve watched a few excerpts from Passion of the Christ and it made me sick, almost literally, that piece of torture porn would never have been a huge hit but Gibson knew that he had a guaranteed audience.

    It’s not a new phenomenon either. Robert Wright in his book The Evolution of God makes a pretty good case that commerce was a big part of what made early Christianity take off, that mercantilism and trading were really starting to become huge at that time in history and before a better business bureau, trade laws, etc. the church provided a builtin network of people you could trust to do business with and were less likely to screw you over. (Note: not because Christians were necessarily better but there was a network to support and encourage people not to cheat and to reward those that didn’t)

    • In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

      I think this is one aspect of religion that is overlooked sometimes. That belonging to a certain faith can be very good for business. I’m not talking about the megabucks preachers or the Vatican art collection, yes the overlap between money and faith is obvious in those ways but rather the more subt…

      Four legs good

    • Red Dog,
      In philly, we have no fewer than ten businesses that i can rattle off (but won’t) that have overt religious names or symbols on their vans/trucks. Good for business, indeed. One of the companies’ CEO was a deacon at my wife’s church and would actually deliver the homily (he was actually pretty charismatic) with his company logo (a very religious symbol — not a cross though) on his lapel and one of his work vans outside. He also had the contract for his particular service for most of the Catholic schools in the area.

      He could have parked one of his Maserati’s outside of church or invited the congregation to swim in his indoor pool (yes, i’ve been there… when his house went up for sale, my wife and I feigned interest in it in order to walk through)…. But, the work van, the symbol, the deaconship…. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

      I think this is one aspect of religion that is overlooked sometimes. That belonging to a certain faith can be very good for business. I’m not talking about the megabucks preachers or the Vatican art collection, yes the overlap between money and faith is obvious in those ways but rather the more subt…

    • I’ve watched a few excerpts from Passion of the Christ and it made me sick, almost literally, that piece of torture porn would never have been a huge hit but Gibson knew that he had a guaranteed audience.

      i sat through this awful awful piece of “cinema” with some family members. I wept the entire time. One of my family members thought my tears meant that I was “converted”.

      I told him that I’d weep for anyone who could do that to another human being, or even to a dog or cat or fucking roach for that matter. He was stunned.

      His slow stunned reply was “You were crying for the Romans?”
      Indeed. I was crying for the masses.

      In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

      I think this is one aspect of religion that is overlooked sometimes. That belonging to a certain faith can be very good for business. I’m not talking about the megabucks preachers or the Vatican art collection, yes the overlap between money and faith is obvious in those ways but rather the more subt…

    • In reply to #3 by Red Dog:

      I think this is one aspect of religion that is overlooked sometimes. That belonging to a certain faith can be very good for business. I’m not talking about the megabucks preachers or the Vatican art collection, yes the overlap between money and faith is obvious in those ways but rather the more subt…

      Indeed, the Romans wrote a business plan based on lies and fear that succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and is still, 1700 years later allowing religion, churches, people and businesses who play on the fears of millions of decent human beings to become immensely wealthy. It should be illegal.

    • He does HVAC and is wildly successful!

      In reply to #7 by SuzySpellcheck:

      I did this to a small extent as a small time concrete contractor church goer.
      I’m much an asshole to play along though even when I was holy.
      .Maserati:?!! that’s incredible

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