Love of God and Country

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by Reid Fitzsimons

Recently Rudy Giuliani suggested Barak Obama doesn’t love America, and predictable outrage and fireworks ensued. So, was he right or does Barak Obama love America? We can answer that question with a parable of sorts. A sensitive young woman gives herself sexually to an older man. Once he has been satisfied she anxiously asks if he loves her. He hesitates for only a moment then replies, “Of course I love you, now what’s your name again?” To this guy love is part of his thoughts as much as contemplation over whether Pluto is a planet or a lesser body, but he does love what he can take from her. The concept of love of country is more than foreign to progressives like Obama, it is anathema.

Love of country evokes images and feelings that appeal to rednecks and malleable yokels- freedoms and remembrances of those who died defending them, jets flying overhead in formation before a sporting event, patriotic songs. Love of country involves a chill going up one’s spine when the flag passes by and a choked up sensation when hearing the words of the founders when played against the backdrop of certain music. Ronald Reagan, with a lowly bachelors degree from a small regional college, loved America.

Progressives, especially one as sophisticated and nuanced as our president, apportion love differently. While nobody can claim they don’t love their children and perhaps even their spouses as much as anyone, their love is otherwise reserved for higher level entities- elegant dining, fine wine, celebrities, expensive clothing, exotic vacations, power and, of course, themselves.

However, a reasonable question can be asked as to whether love of a country is prerequisite to serve as its president. What is more important, sentiments or competence? To the progressive, governance is largely a technical endeavor. All one needs do is gather the best and the brightest from the most elite universities, form a committee, devise a formula, and societies problems are solved; the trains will run on schedule. This is not a new concept by any means and was a foundational tenant of the progressive movement going back more than a century. The paradox is, of course, governance by brain trust utilizing ostensibly scientific theories to order and regulate human behavior fails to take into account human behavior.

Technocracy, as it is often called, cannot accept the possibility that the scientific models are imperfect. I mention in my brief bio on the “About Us” page that I was the medical director of a clinic in remote Kenya for 11 months in 2002-2003. AIDS was a huge and terrible disease but malaria was our bread and butter, so to speak. Of course I had never seen a single case of malaria up until then but I had the definitive book, the 1,500 plus page Manson’s Tropical Diseases, to guide me. My edition stated that neonates and infants up to 3-4 months of age couldn’t contract malaria because they were protected by maternal antibodies. It sounded both reasonable and scientific. Early in my tenure one of the clinic practitioners mentioned something about a 2-3 month old baby with malaria, to which I confidently replied that was not possible because the authoritative text said so. Of course the young baby had malaria as did countless others I was to encounter. This was a humbling lesson for me, as it should have been. In the elite policy making and scientific world, however, where no one troubles themselves by actually interacting with beautiful little dying African children, the book of the moment will always contain inviolable settled science, at least until the latest revised edition is published.

I would go quite a bit farther than Rudy Giuliani and postulate that Obama and his fellow progressive travelers don’t just fail to love America, they loathe it. In many ways this is understandable- they were incubated figuratively, if not literally in some cases, in post-war, post-modern salons. With wealth unimaginable to prior generations and not burdened by mundane needs of subsistence, they could spend all day theorizing of a utopian world. They learned that great injustices had been committed in the 200 plus years of America’s existence, and most likely thought this knowledge was unique to them. The problem was, and is, the lack of maturity, wisdom, and deeper knowledge required to develop the correct, broader perspective- a truly appalling absence of life experience. They are steeped in affluence but don’t comprehend that at some point the wealth they enjoy had to be created, that multitudes of people had to get their hands dirty. It’s as if our president and his kindred progressives read a book on how to fly an airplane, played Microsoft flight simulator for a while, and now truly believe they not only are capable of piloting a plane but telling others how to do so as well. Unfortunately they are smart enough to know a limited amount of book knowledge, if exploited properly, can make them appear almost omniscient.

Several days after Giuliani’s comment Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin, was asked the obviously absurd question if he thought Obama is a Christian. He replied he didn’t know, and the media buzzer sounded as if he got the wrong answer on a game show. The poor guy had to contort himself to rectify this transgression- through a spokesman he informed the world he was not, in fact, doubting the President’s faith. I DO doubt his faith. Barak Obama is no more a Christian than I am: he’s an atheist. While he certainly positioned himself as a Christian (as a member of a nominally Christian United Church of Christ, led by Jeremiah Wright), that image was pretty much required to move up the political ladder. Similarly, he perceived it was necessary for him to be opposed to homosexual marriage leading up to the 2008 presidential election, so he pretended to be. In order for congress to pass his Affordable Care Act he perceived it was necessary to assure the ignoramuses known to him as the American people, “If you like you current plan you can keep it,” so he did.

There is nothing wrong, per se, with being an atheist: if someone doesn’t believe in God, stating so is more honorable than pretending otherwise. My complaint with atheists is that they make us agnostics look bad, what with the increasing demands that saying “Bless You” in response to a sneeze be an academically sanctionable offense and the like. There is an upside to our president being an atheist- it immunizes him against claims occasionally heard that he is really a Muslim. I am a non-believing agnostic but am inclined toward Judeo-Christian philosophy. There is no question in my mind that our president is also a non-believer but tends to be sympathetic to Islamic thought, which he seems to defend in all circumstances while having no hesitation to be scornful of Christianity. As he does in critiquing US history and tradition, he is quite facile picking and choosing talking points that align with his worldview in regards to religion and does not trouble himself with facts or truth, especially in perspective. It’s as if he’s acting in the manner of the stereotypical closed-minded redneck he deplores so greatly, but with nuance.

Whether pertaining to love of God or country, a progressive in the Barak Obama mold is about as likely to declare with sincerity that “Jesus Christ in Lord and Savior” as he is to shout “USA!! USA!!”at a NASCAR race, which is in fact very unlikely

4 thoughts on “Love of God and Country

  1. On the religious point, there is an odd double standard on the left: Bill Maher said openly exactly what you just said: "The President claims to be a Christian, but I don't believe it.", and no-one condemned Bill for that observation. However: let Scott Walker or (even worse) evangelist Franklin Graham allow that they don't know, which implies that they may have some doubts about it, like you and Bill Maher, then the sh*t hits the fan.

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  2. About the patriotism thing: there are international parallels. There are modern Europeans who hate their own countries for the history of European colonialism in Africa. They are now engaged in something like an "apology tour" about that in Africa, which results in some really bad ideas being circulated. I have a post in mind about that, based on some recent experiences here.

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  3. Hey Reid, quick question please. As you know, I claim to be a Christian believer, and I think you believe that I am sincere about that. Could you confirm (or correct) that, and then explain why you would believe that profession from me while doubting the same profession from the President?

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  4. Reid

    Barry:

    That is a quick question but it doesn’t readily lend itself to a quick answer. I think you know I am not a Christian, which does allow me to see things from a reasonably objective, outsider standpoint. Despite my non-believer status I interact with many Christians and even attend church with some regularity. This makes me think I have some insight into the Christian character, for lack of a better term. Having known you for some 28 years I can easily confirm you are a Christian, and I don’t mean in a pejorative way.

    In my mind Christianity can be categorized by several different methods, for example grace versus works, Trinity versus the much smaller in number non-Trinity believers, reformed versus non-reformed, Bible literalists versus those who view the Bible as more of a guide. Generally of more concern to me are the temporal aspects versus the sacred. In the latter I’m thinking especially of theology of salvation (I think the big word is soteriology); I find this interesting and even fascinating but intellectually so, not personally. If I am trying to determine in my own mind if a person is a Christian it is the secular behaviors that I consider. Overall I don’t contemplate if someone is a Christian and will generally accept someone’s declaration on face value- if someone is inclined to tell me they are a Christian my reaction is inclined to be favorable without much further thought. However I am also inclined to scrutinize a person’s declaration of Christianity if they are using it to advance something secular or apparently self-serving. This is not all that different from skepticism associated with being asked for a donation to the Human Fund (this is a reference to the classic TV show Seinfeld).

    My several years of studying theology (I mean self-study, not a major academic effort) have led me to conclude there are a finite number of absolutes in Christianity. I am not concerning myself here with the minutiae that I sometimes, as an outsider, find moronic- the Churches of Christ that disallow instrumental music, is full-immersion baptism required for salvation, should dancing be allowed, etc. Among the handful of absolute tenets of Christianity I find positives (mostly love your neighbor and do unto others) and don’ts (don’t steal, don’t covet, don’t murder, don’t bear false witness, a few others). Hence, if I find someone speaking or acting in opposition to these, my inclination is to disregard their claims to Christianity. I’m not talking about regular sin, for example the schmuck who gets drunk at the conference and messes around on his wife, but feels bad about it. I AM talking about the more sociopath person who achieves standing by virtue of the professions of Christianity but is a serial adulterer and whose only remorse is from being caught. One of the great photographic political images was Bill Clinton, after being fully “busted” over Lewinsky, walking into church with Hillary in one hand and a Bible in the other.

    It is easier to divine if someone is NOT a Christian as compared to if they are. Hate obviously is not compatible with Christianity, hence someone extolling hate is not a Christian. Racism, for example, is a practice of hatred so if the stereotype of the Southern Baptists spouting racism in the old days was true, those involved were not Christians. Similarly, if what we have heard from Obama’s former spiritual adviser, Jeremiah Wright, is in fact indicative of his overall message, he is not a Christian. I haven’t found that wealth itself is inconsistent with Christianity but the manner of how the wealth is used my disqualify someone from the body of Christianity. Opulent living is such a disqualification, as is the widespread raising of money in the name of Christ to support such lifestyles. This clearly includes many if not most of the televangelists. It’s quite entertaining to watch these people at work, from Joel Osteen telling people how wonderful they are to the Oral Robert descendants espousing the “seed-faith” idiocy. This doesn’t necessarily suggest their many dupes not Christians, just that they are suckers. I think there exists a standard of accountability in religion as elsewhere. For example, a pastor advocating hatred is the greater sinner, so to speak, than some guy falling asleep in his pew every Sunday. Nevertheless, for the most part Christians should have basic knowledge of right versus wrong and cannot be excused because a claim of ignorance.

    As far as our president goes, his endless claims to exceptional everything puts him in the category of a higher standard, despite his comfort zone “I only learned about when everyone else did” two-step. He’s pretty much either violates all of the basic Christian tenets or extols others to do so- covetousness, bearing false witness (i.e. lying, endlessly), hatred, division, etc- so it’s no great feat to disassociate him from Christianity. As for being an atheist, the depth and fervent brand of his progressivism is so egocentric that he elevates himself to the level of a god, precluding the existence of God.

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