Friday, August 22, 2008

Pelagians for McCain!

Some careful readers may have detected a preference on my part during the primaries. And despite my pretence of careful neutrality as one of Her Majesty's subjects, I must say I was generally pleased with how things worked out in both major parties.

The general election is a bit tougher. I'm more with Obama on foreign policy (excluding trade) and more with McCain on domestic matters. My ideal world would probably have Obama as President and Republican control of Congress -- but that is not going to happen. In light of his age and the opposition's control of Congress, McCain would be a very weak president generally -- which is doubtless a good thing.

But theological issues are primary. And on those issues, McCain shows just what a crazy heretic he is. It is really unfair to Manicheans and Pelagians to compare them to him. Here's Obama's answer to the question of the existence of evil at the Saddleback Forum:

Evil does exist. I mean, I think we see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. I think it has to be confronted. It has to be confronted squarely, and one of the things that I strongly believe is that, now, we are not going to, as individuals, be able to erase evil from the world. That is God's task, but we can be soldiers in that process, and we can confront it when we see it.

Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for to us have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil, because a lot of evil's been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil.


OBAMA: In the name of good, and I think, you know, one thing that's very important is having some humility in recognizing that just because we think that our intentions are good, doesn't always mean that we're going to be doing good. `

Perfectly orthodox, and perfectly sensible. Here is McCain's demonic nationalist answer:

WARREN: How about the issue of evil. I asked this of your rival, in the previous debate. Does evil exist and, if so, should ignore it, negotiate it with it, contain it or defeat it?

MCCAIN: Defeat it. A couple of points. One, if I'm president of the United States, my friends, if I have to follow him to the gates of hell, I will get bin Laden and bring him to justice. I will do that. And I know how to do that. I will get that done. (APPLAUSE). No one, no one should be allowed to take thousands of American -- innocent American lives.

Of course, evil must be defeated. My friends, we are facing the transcended challenge of the 21st century -- radical Islamic extremism.

Not long ago in Baghdad, al Qaeda took two young women who were mentally disabled, and put suicide vests on them, sent them into a marketplace and, by remote control, detonated those suicide vests. If that isn't evil, you have to tell me what is. And we're going to defeat this evil. And the central battleground according to David Petraeus and Osama bin Laden is the battle, is Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and Iraq and we are winning and succeeding and our troops will come home with honor and with victory and not in defeat. And that's what's happening.

And we have -- and we face this threat throughout the world. It's not just in Iraq. It's not just in Afghanistan. Our intelligence people tell us al Qaeda continues to try to establish cells here in the United States of America. My friends, we must face this challenge. We can face this challenge. And we must totally defeat it, and we're in a long struggle. But when I'm around, the young men and women who are serving this nation in uniform, I have no doubt, none.

For McCain, evil is totally external. It can be defeated temporally, and by the nation state. In any well-ordered society, the Holy Office would say so and hand him over to the secular arm. The Applause just shows that many American evangelicals actually worship the state.

Update: The Lutheran Zephyr makes many of the same points, but better. It's spooky.

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