The Giuliani Christians

Lightning struck the Republican debate in New Hampshire last night, literally, and it had the pleasant effect of silencing Rudy Giuliani's microphone just as he was trying to explain his position on abortion. Clearly God has a sense of humor. Video

Regulars readers will know that the idea of Giuliani becoming president is anathema to me. Moreover, I'm mystified how otherwise conservative, pro-life, pro-family Christians can support him. Via Carl Olson, I found this enlightening article on the subject.

A number of Giuliani’s fans in the Fourth Estate, such as Cal Thomas, Richard Brookhiser, and the editorial writers for the neoconservative New York Post, have revealed some of the reasons for the Religious Right’s attachment. Religious Protestants have come to view the issues that Giuliani has emphasized, “national security” and “fighting terror,” as more crucial than those family issues they stressed in the past. Thomas, who is himself a professing Christian but with a neoconservative, Zionist twist, stated the opinion on March 13 that such prioritizing indicates a definite “maturing” among his coreligionists. This seems to be the general view of the establishment conservative press in the U.S., which remains agog over Giuliani’s candidacy and his stand on terrorism.

The problem is that nothing in Giuliani’s past, except for rhetorical posturing, would suggest that he is especially equipped to deal with international terrorists. Although violent crime in New York City declined under his administration, the same general trend could be observed in other American cities, and that trend might be related to demographic factors and to the building and use of prisons as much as to Giuliani’s vaunted toughness. And there is not necessarily a connection between getting criminals and derelicts off the streets in the Big Apple and apprehending international terrorists. The two would seem to involve different skills...

Since the younger generation of neoconservatives tends to be either on the Left on social issues or totally indifferent to them, and, like Giuliani, makes no secret of welcoming illegal immigrants into the country, Giuliani’s domestic stands pose no problem for them. The Religious Right is going with the conservative media flow by rallying around Giuliani, playing its long-established role as supplier of Republican foot soldiers and movement-conservative groupies.

But it must be stressed that the issue that has come to trump all other evangelical concerns is fighting the war on terror. Cal Thomas has extolled his fellow evangelicals to recognize the big picture: “Character is seen as less important than who can face the multiple challenges facing the nation”—specifically, the struggle against international terror. From the evangelical perspective, this confrontation with terror is so intertwined with other issues that it serves as a kind of shorthand. Israel, Zionism, and the glorification of American democracy as a world model are all at least implicit in the evangelical conception of the struggle against terror—one that Giuliani is imagined to be able to lead better than any other presidential contender.

I am deeply afraid that the Christians who think Rudy will keep them "safe" will turn out to be sheep led to slaughter. I recommend these people read Psalm 146:3. "Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation." As citizens in a democracy we are obliged vote for whoever we think is best qualified. Yet we must not fool ourselves into thinking that any earthly leader will be our savior.

Let's be blunt: why exactly does our nation deserve to be kept safe? Check out the Abortometer on my sidebar. Currently, almost 5.5 million babies have been killed in the United States since the beginning of the Iraq war. These are real deaths. They aren't hypothetical casualties of a war that may or may not reach our shores again.

If God wants to let Islamic terrorists to blow up a few American cities (which I think is entirely possible), neither Rudy Giuliani nor anyone else will be able to stop it. Conversely, if God chooses to spare us from destruction He can easily use whoever we put in the White House to do it.
This being the case, our goal as Christians should be to demonstrate that we as a nation have repented and should be delivered from the fate we really deserve. Is electing as our leader someone who is, like Rudy, morally confused about abortion, homosexual behavior, marital fidelity, torture, crime, and war, likely to convince the Lord to look with favor upon us? I think not.

What the Giuliani Christians are really saying is they put a bigger value on their own hides than they do the lives of millions of innocents. They are making the same mistake that the children of Israel made several times in the Old Testament. Every time, God found ways to get their attention.

He will do so again. Count on it.


Jennifer F. said...

It's interesting that Giuliani joked that "for someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that’s happening right now."

In other words, he knows he's doing the wrong thing. If he'd been talking about, say, how we can better feed the poor, he wouldn't have thought to make that joke.

(Also interesting that the other candidates subconsciously backed away from him after it happened).

Patrick said...

Giuliani had obviously been prepped to grab any opportunity to mention he went to parochial schools. There are plenty of cultural Catholics (the Sean Hannity types) who will feel some affinity with Rudy when they hear that line.