Friday, March 18, 2016

Socially conservative Republicans are capable of charitable forgiveness after all




When it comes to loving your enemy, Christian conservatives are not generally keen to take up the Good Lord on that command. It's one of the liberally, hippie type parts of the Bible that winds up the conservative trash bin, in favor of the more judgey, controlling passages. 

But, credit where credit is due, some Christian conservative politicians seem genuinely to have been moved by the spirit of forgiveness. Not too moved – if you’re transgender, female, gay, poor, African American, Latino, or non-Christian, you’re still not allowed in the GOP’s Big Tent. But when it comes to other conservatives, these moral stalwarts are able to muster a little forgiveness…for the right price, anyway.

For instance, there’s former presidential hopeful Ben Carson. Once a leading GOP star, he was recently reduced to choosing between the guy who had no chance (Rubio), the guy who no one had ever heard of (Kasich), the guy who sabotaged his first caucus with “dirty tricks” (Cruz), or the guy who likened him to a pedophile (Trump). How the mighty have fallen (though certainly not so far as Chris Christie, whose pain has launched a thousand schadenfreude-filled jokes).

Being a forgiving soul, Carson chose the man who had the best chance of winning the primary really earned his trust, and went for the Cheetos Monster. And, granted, certain promises were allegedly made:

Carson then said that Trump had promised him a role in his administration, "certainly in an advisory capacity."

 But, ultimately, Carson’s forgiveness was given because it was the right thing to do, not because of any promises of power that may or may not have been made. It’s right for America:

 Carson said he is supporting Trump for the good of the country despite the previous personal attacks. He told Golodryga: “It’s not really about me. If it were about me, yes, I would be outraged. I would say in no way can I support this, but it’s not about me. It’s about America.” Carson continued, “Unfortunately we live in a society where that kind of thing works, and people use things that work.”

But Carson’s not the only man of moral courage, willing to forgive past wrongs for the sake of the country. Lindsey Graham recently proved that he too is capable of loving his enemy, when he endorsed Senator Ted Cruz. 

And my use of the term enemy isn’t really exaggeration, either. He’s literally joked about Ted Cruz getting murdered on the floor of the Senate.

A few weeks later, he'd taken an even darker turn. "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate and the trial was in the Senate," Graham told a group of journalists, "no one would convict you."

 He’s also likened supporting Cruz to dying:

 If you're a Republican and your choice is Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in a general election, it's the difference between poisoned or shot—you're still dead.

 As it turned out, though, Graham in the end had to bite the bullet, if you will, and pick his poison: and, if it meant thwarting Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham could forgive the viper that is Cruz.

More than forgive, he could endorse his enemy. It's the kind of thing Jesus would be proud to see.

 

Ben Carson image: By Gage Skidmore - File:Ben Carson by Gage Skidmore 6.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45330471

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