Sunday, February 1, 2015

Jeb Bush the Fundamentalist

I'm really not concerned with what Jeb Bush was like in high school. We all did stupid stuff when we were young and many of us learned from those mistakes.

What disturbs me about the former governor has more to do with how he governed. For example:
Sitting recently on his brick back patio here, Michael Schiavo called Jeb Bush a vindictive, untrustworthy coward.

For years, the self-described “average Joe” felt harassed, targeted and tormented by the most important person in the state.

“It was a living hell,” he said, “and I blame him.”
That's the result. Here's one of Governor Bush's former colleagues explaining the cause:
“If you want to understand Jeb Bush, he’s guided by principle over convenience,” said Dennis Baxley, a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives during Bush’s governorship and still. “He may be wrong about something, but he knows what he believes.”
As someone who is a recovering Christian fundamentalist, I came to believe that this kind of approach to life is characteristic of the fundamentalists in any religion. It prioritizes rules, laws, principles over the welfare of people. At its best, that belief system is benign. But at its worst, it results in a complete lack of empathy for human suffering because the true North Star becomes adherence to the principles/rules. Notice how Baxley implies that responding to Michael Shaivo with compassion would have been “convenience.”

Interestingly enough, the Jesus worshipped by Christian fundamentalists had something to say about this. As the story is told in Mark 2:23-27, Jesus and his disciples were walking through the fields on the Sabbath and began picking grains because they were hungry. The Pharisees (the Jewish fundamentalists of Jesus' days) confronted them with the rule that it was unlawful to pick grains on the Sabbath. Jesus' response was: "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." I would suggest that he was saying that empathy for human suffering takes precedence over principles/rules.

That last sentence from Baxley about Gov. Bush is particularly disturbing. He seems to be indicating that Jeb would cling to his "beliefs," even if they led him to be wrong about something. That is an attachment to rules/laws/principles that is hard to comprehend. And it's downright scary to imagine in a United States president.

1 comment:

  1. All the people outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo lived and died - ALL of them - were part of the most extremist wings of the anti-abortion movement. When two doctors, a prochoice escort, and the escort's wife were killed and wounded in FL, one would THINK that Jeb would wish to be more careful in his choice of 'allies'. The picketers had been supportive of those who murdered doctors, utterly indifferent to those deaths. With Terri Schiavo they threatened the families of hospice patients, the staff, and Michael Schiavo with death for believing in and providing hospice care and for Michael's honoring his wife's rights. Jeb supported these vile faux Christians as they supported him in their theater of power and abuses of those not in perfect alignment with their heretical notions of 'religion'. Michael is correct to call Jeb out. Jeb showed his true beliefs, and they had nothing at all to do with faith. Only with power over others.

    Jesus wept.