Friday, July 13, 2012

Phoney baloney from the Teavangelicals

The article I wrote recently about the Romney campaign reaching out to evangelicals behind the scenes was based on reading something by a guy named David Brody who works for Pat Robertson. He has apparently coined the term "teavangelicals" to describe the christian fundamentalists who have joined the tea party - in other words, a new name for the Republican base.

I found this description (caution: wingnut link) about the teavangelicals to be laughable.
...they see our severe fiscal situation through a biblical worldview believing that that God’s Word speaks about the immorality of the debt
First of all, let me lay down my bonafides. I grew up attending a christian fundamentalist church at least 3 times a week. I attended a christian fundamentalist boarding school in high school. I graduated from a christian fundamentalist college. And I attended a christian evangelical seminary where I got my Master's Degree in Theology.

Never...and I mean never, did I hear anything about "a biblical worldview" that "speaks about the immorality of the debt." I cannot remember a time in all those years when this was brought up in a sermon, a lecture or even a conversation.

Not only have the fundamentalists I've known never talked in biblical terms about the federal debt, most of them are in hock up to their eyeballs in debt personally. My own family constantly scratches their heads trying to figure out how I turned out to be so fiscally conservative in my own personal and business affairs. I certainly didn't learn any of that from them!

This is nothing but phoney baloney bullshit made up on the spot to justify the teavangelical's paranoia about President Barack Obama. I think we all know the true source of that paranoia.


  1. I often think that I ought to get a job where I get--earn is too strong a word--a lot of money for coming up with new names for old things. I could have an NYT column or something like that. I could grow a moustache.

    Teavangelical. God WILL smite that man.

    I lived in an area with a very large evangelical/fundamentalist (not necessarily the same thing, as you know) population, and I was tight with a few. I asked one of my evangelical buddies what he made of what seemed to be the alliance between a lot of conservative and evangelical Christians and capital. He said it was indefensible.

    This stuff is all about earthly power.

    1. I'd love to hear any examples of new names for old things you come up with. That certainly sounds like a talent worth exploring ;-)

      One of the things that bugs me about Brody is his use of the word "evangelical" to describe himself and the people he's talking about. As you indicate, there's a difference between evangelicals and fundamentalists. He's clearly one of the latter. I suspect that at some level they recognize how closely christian fundamentalists align with islamic fundamentalists - and want to avoid that comparison.

  2. And "immorality of the debt." This is part of our problem--we talk about "economics" as a discipline but we really need to go back to the 19th century terminology: "political economy." This like is politics by other means.

    No modern state functions without floating a national debt, for all kinds of reasons. Just like no modern state functions without some social safety net, nor without redistributing income for economically stimulative effect. It simply has to be done if the system--capitalism--is to maintain itself.

    We have half our discourse premised on policy goals that are incompatible with modern capitalist economy, in the name of capitalism. At one point, the GOP made the argument cynically--taxes are evil, with the goal to lower marginal tax rates on the very wealthy, cut services so as not to produce a crisis of confidence in the dollar (and dollar-denominated assets). Our current crop of droolers, not being able to game anything out past the next election, imagines these platitudes to be real, permanent policy goals.

    If the US paid off its debt, it would be out of its current job as gendarme of capital. OK with me, I suppose, if we tax the rich to get there rather than gut the working class.

    1. To me this issue of debt is one where the traditional left/right divide begins to really fall apart. You've explained that all very well.

      I actually find that I come down as pretty "conservative" in my risk aversion to too much debt. But as you say, the remedies I would incorporate are totally different than what conservatives usually embrace.

  3. Smartypants,
    I went to a fundamentalist bible school in Canada a long time ago, and I never heard of any biblical world view about debt. They should not be able to get away with this!