Becky, every “Christian” and “Catholic” group and publication that you name has the same problem: a good number of their financial supporters supported the War on Terror and, especially, the Christian Bush as its immoral but moralistic leader. Your post goes to the heart of the matter: because the American people have turned against the illegal, immoral, and disastrous Bush-Obama wars, these groups and publications are over a barrel: the zealous rapture for Bush that buoyed them in their early days has now faded like seeds sown on rocky ground. So they can’t simply perpetuate the civil religion myth that the wars were the metaphysical epitome of the “good.”
But they can’t admit they were wrong, either, because some of their strongest financial supporters are the rump core of Bush apologists (many of whom profited enormously from federal defense and security spending), and to tell the truth now, in Christian humility, would threaten the continued existence of these organizations and publications. In fact, many financial supporters will no doubt cut them off because they are even willing to discuss the possibility that Bush’s perverse policies, carried on and intensified by Obama, could be mistaken.
So they hide under the rock of “let’s discuss” — it brings traffic to the site and attention to the group or medium.
However, behind all these very real concerns lies the nagging fact that good people can disagree about the wars and the national security state — BUT with the all too rare caveat that good people cannot lie, or break the other Commandments (e.g., “Thou Shall Not Steal,” with regard to defense and security contractors, lobbyists, and so on). So, in that light, most such “discussions” are bogus.
And good people can also disagree about obscenity, which is not merely “porn” but material so vile that, even today, federal law treats it as a felony. On this issue I support the right of a community to set certain standards, a position admittedly quite distant from that of some libertarians. In that regard, some of the most heated (to put it mildly) hate mail I receive comes from readers who object to my alleged desire to impose my Christian standards on others, or (in the extreme cases), to my being a Christian believer at all (especially one of those nasty Catholics!).
My explanation above of the dilemma faced by Christian groups and media regarding the war and the national security state is by no means a criticism of their Christian beliefs. Rather, it is merely a statement of the obvious situation faced by many “conservative” groups who backed the early post-9/11 Bush, only to find out that they’d been had. But their early support had brought them tremendous political influence and financial benefits, flowing from Bush’s most ardent, wealthy, and influential supporters. If they were to drop all pretense of “discussion” and blurt out the truth — that the Bush administration was a disaster, that Bush ruined the GOP, the country, and then handed it over to Obama to finish the job — they stand to lose tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars. They will be disinvited to meetings. Their influence with the new congress will be zilch.
As we have learned from LRC (and precious few other sources), the neocons are above (or below, take your pick) party, they are vicious self-dealers who will ride any horse of any color that furthers their private agendas, all of which are destructive to this country. But they are the Children of Darkness, and are wiser in the ways of this world than the Children of Light — and they will try to snooker the well-intentioned Children of Light whenever they have the chance.
All too often, they are successful beyond their wildest dreams. Alas.9:24 am on December 31, 2010 Email Christopher Manion