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Sunday, January 22, 2006

More Groupthink, Obedience to Authority and Arrested Development

Must call attention to a noteworthy NYT editorial, likely to be either un-noticed or ridiculed by right-wing blogs/news/etc:

Wayward Christian Soldiers

By CHARLES MARSH
Published: January 20, 2006, NYTimes
The war sermons rallied the evangelical congregations behind the invasion of Iraq. An astonishing 87 percent of all white evangelical Christians in the United States supported the president's decision in April 2003. Recent polls indicate that 68 percent of white evangelicals continue to support the war. But what surprised me, looking at these sermons nearly three years later, was how little attention they paid to actual Christian moral doctrine. Some tried to square the American invasion with Christian "just war" theory, but such efforts could never quite reckon with the criterion that force must only be used as a last resort. As a result, many ministers dismissed the theory as no longer relevant.

The single common theme among the war sermons appeared to be this: our president is a real brother in Christ, and because he has discerned that God's will is for our nation to be at war against Iraq, we shall gloriously comply.

Such sentiments are a far cry from those expressed in the Lausanne Covenant of 1974. More than 2,300 evangelical leaders from 150 countries signed that statement, the most significant milestone in the movement's history. Convened by Billy Graham and led by John Stott, the revered Anglican evangelical priest and writer, the signatories affirmed the global character of the church of Jesus Christ and the belief that "the church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology."

...What will it take for evangelicals in the United States to recognize our mistaken loyalty? We have increasingly isolated ourselves from the shared faith of the global Church, and there is no denying that our Faustian bargain for access and power has undermined the credibility of our moral and evangelistic witness in the world. The Hebrew prophets might call us to repentance, but repentance is a tough demand for a people utterly convinced of their righteousness.

More evidence of what better intellects and thinkers have called: herd mentality, conformity, obedience to authority, groupthink, stunted, delayed, lower-level (appeasement to law and order, good girl-good boy, juvenile) incomplete and arrested moral development. (See Janis, Kohlberg, Milgram, Zimbardo, Whiteley, among others.)

Let us add: Fear of critical thinking, fear of independence, fear of being different, bloodlust, rage-a-holics, sadistic sadists, despising the weakest among us.... Even wingnut John Tierney of the NYTimes writes that the GOP is The Party of Pain:

As the baby boomers age, more and more Americans will either be enduring chronic pain or taking care of someone in pain. The Republican Party has been reaching out to them with a two-step plan:

1. Do not give patients medicine to ease their pain.

2. If they are in great pain and near death, do not let them put an end to their misery.

The Republicans have been so determined to become the Pain Party that they?ve brushed aside their traditional belief in states? rights. The Bush administration wants lawyers in Washington and federal prosecutors with no medical training to tell doctors how to treat patients.


That's the least of their transgressions.

They are supposedly 'pro-life' but without a doubt they are the party of decidedly 'anti-decent-good-healthy-prosperous quality-of-life' for anyone but the wealthiest and most powerful. In their world, them that's gots deserves the most and the best.


Tip o'the hat to The Era for the heads up on the Tierney column and the excellent Carlson cartoon above. Also, a Very Interesting, unstated (but obvious) comparison to the Imperial Prez in Dr. John Bomar's piece in The Era on Napolean's eventual capitulation to his own worst inclinations.

Here's but a snippet about Bonaparte:

Sharing the delusional path of most power filled men, he led his nation into multiple foreign misadventures of immense consequence.

Need one say more?

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