The Evangelical Vote and Foley

The New York Times reported the other day that evangelical Christians blame Mark Foley for his failures and not the institution.  The article explains:

But in dozens of interviews here in southeastern Virginia, a conservative Christian stronghold that is a battleground in races for the House and Senate, many said the episode only reinforced their reasons to vote for their two Republican incumbents in neck—and—neck re—election fights, Representative Thelma Drake and Senator George Allen.

The piece continues by explaining that even though evangelicals may feel frustrated and some may likely drop their support for Republicans,  Democrats will not recognize a corresponding gain.

Then this key paragraph presents the categorical philosophical difference between the two parties in addressing moral issues:

But as far as culpability in the Foley case, Mr. Dunn (Dean of the school of government at Regent University) said, House Republicans may benefit from the evangelical conception of sin. Where liberals tend to think of collective responsibility, conservative Christians focus on personal morality. 'The conservative Christian audience or base has this acute moral lens through which they look at this, and it is very personal,' Mr. Dunn said. 'This is Foley's personal sin.'

The quizzical word 'sin' provides the infamous sword that draws the line in the sand. Evangelicals infer its reality.

Secularists and amoral thinkers often deride the concept as old fashioned scare language. They view wrong actions through the lens of social victimization.

The word 'sin' for evangelicals identifies foul behavior as both an anthropological characteristic and a targeted choice.  People commit evil acts because of a predisposition to do so. Sin, at its core, identifies the motivational warrant for this bent toward evil. It subliminally declares, 'If there's a god I'm it.'  I do what I do because I want to.  Everyone else be damned.

The Foley affair demonstrates this phenomenon. He is, he wants to, therefore he does.  And his baneful selfish (I'm god) actions, transfer a contagion that devastates even the innocent, including  the collective political party. The aftermath leaves scattered human debris for which no one claims responsibility. 

This irresponsibility is the telltale sign of sin.  Evangelicals predicate the solution on the assumption that Mr. Foley must accept personal responsibility for his actions, renounce his sinful life style, and entrust his life to a group of Christians who incarnate Christ.  Likewise, other individuals involved in Foley's 'sin' must do the same.

This explains why evangelicals continue to support the party philosophy.  They throw the dirty water out, and keep the baby.

Liberals, on the other hand, keep the dirty water — a water indicative of a tainted baby.

Jeffrey Taylor is a minister in the United Methodist Church.

The New York Times reported the other day that evangelical Christians blame Mark Foley for his failures and not the institution.  The article explains:

But in dozens of interviews here in southeastern Virginia, a conservative Christian stronghold that is a battleground in races for the House and Senate, many said the episode only reinforced their reasons to vote for their two Republican incumbents in neck—and—neck re—election fights, Representative Thelma Drake and Senator George Allen.

The piece continues by explaining that even though evangelicals may feel frustrated and some may likely drop their support for Republicans,  Democrats will not recognize a corresponding gain.

Then this key paragraph presents the categorical philosophical difference between the two parties in addressing moral issues:

But as far as culpability in the Foley case, Mr. Dunn (Dean of the school of government at Regent University) said, House Republicans may benefit from the evangelical conception of sin. Where liberals tend to think of collective responsibility, conservative Christians focus on personal morality. 'The conservative Christian audience or base has this acute moral lens through which they look at this, and it is very personal,' Mr. Dunn said. 'This is Foley's personal sin.'

The quizzical word 'sin' provides the infamous sword that draws the line in the sand. Evangelicals infer its reality.

Secularists and amoral thinkers often deride the concept as old fashioned scare language. They view wrong actions through the lens of social victimization.

The word 'sin' for evangelicals identifies foul behavior as both an anthropological characteristic and a targeted choice.  People commit evil acts because of a predisposition to do so. Sin, at its core, identifies the motivational warrant for this bent toward evil. It subliminally declares, 'If there's a god I'm it.'  I do what I do because I want to.  Everyone else be damned.

The Foley affair demonstrates this phenomenon. He is, he wants to, therefore he does.  And his baneful selfish (I'm god) actions, transfer a contagion that devastates even the innocent, including  the collective political party. The aftermath leaves scattered human debris for which no one claims responsibility. 

This irresponsibility is the telltale sign of sin.  Evangelicals predicate the solution on the assumption that Mr. Foley must accept personal responsibility for his actions, renounce his sinful life style, and entrust his life to a group of Christians who incarnate Christ.  Likewise, other individuals involved in Foley's 'sin' must do the same.

This explains why evangelicals continue to support the party philosophy.  They throw the dirty water out, and keep the baby.

Liberals, on the other hand, keep the dirty water — a water indicative of a tainted baby.

Jeffrey Taylor is a minister in the United Methodist Church.