Bonhoeffer, The Tea Party and the Politics of Stupidity
This morning I talked to Amanda in Southern Baptist Trey Gowdy's D.C. office and jake in the office of Ok's James Lankford. Lankford is an ordained Southern Baptist minister now running for US Senate from Oklahoma. Billy Graham goes to Trey's church, FBC Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Amanda says she has read the Metaxas bio of Bonhoeffer.
On Page 341 of a Strange Glory we see the analogy: "...civil courage, the discipline of dissent had been trampled beneath the mobs and the masses. The issue of ultimate responsibility had in these dark circumstnaces, become a 'question not of how I extricate myself heroically from a situation but [of how] a coming generation is to go on living'. Then there is the seeming prosaic matter of stupidity, which in Bonhoeffer's estimation is as dangerous an enemy of the good as evil itself. One may wage protest against evil; evil can be exposed and, if ned be, overcome by force. But stupidity mounts a broad and insidious defense in this way: ' Facts that contradict one's prejudgment simply need not be believed...-, and when facts are irrefutablethey are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental' Great caution is needed to challenge stupidity....
Eric Metaxas biography of DB has been embraced by the Tea Party. www.ginnybrant.com reported to me Metaxas accompanied Rick Santorum in the S.C. PPresidential Primary of 2012 and spoke to Republican women in Myrtle Beach at the site of the great GOP debate there.
Metaxas , a devotee of Watergate's Chuck Colson and Southern Baptist fundamentalism, is the subject of a Christian Century piece of three or so years ago, easily googled Bonhoeffer Hijacked.
It is a travesty of Bonhoeffer's legacy to make him a tool of Roger Ailes and and the Koch Brothers, N.C "s art Pope's Tea Party.
A good bit of this as a careful reading of Molly Worthen's analysis of Francis Schaeffer--Apostles of Reason-- in conjunction with Joe Crespino's Strom Thurmond's America should be self evident to anyone but the borderline illiterate.
There is a spate of books recently including the two above that deserve careful reading, especially in the inner circles of folks like Gowdy and Lankford who espouse a "Christian World View". Others include Steven Miller's recent work on the Dangers of Reagan and the Evangelicals, and my friend Randall Balmer's new bio on the religious pilgrimage of President Carter
Bonhoeffer's said he heard the Gospel Preached in America in the Negro Churches.
I think Marsh is telling us Everybody Singing about Hebn Ain't going there.
I don't have the corner on the definitive interpretation of Marsh and Bonhoeffer for our current milieu. But here is an Altar Call, An Invitation to take s straightforward look at the Marsh biography, the Life of Bonhoeffer, A Strange Glory.
At a minimum folks like Gowdy and Lankford--Charles Pickering and his Alliance Defending Freedom, the BGEA, The SBC and their counselors, supporters should give it a thorough examination and soul searching.