God’s Wrath Poured Out on Satan-Infiltrated GOP?

I can’t understand why the only people who have been saying that God is judging the Republican party by throwing hurricane Isaac at their convention in recent days are people who are parodying conservative Christians’ typical rhetoric. Where are the actual conservative Evangelical Protestant Christians who are willing to at least try to give an appearance of consistency?

I mean seriously. Don’t most conservative Christians view Mormonism as a satanic lie, a distortion of Christianity? And given that Ayn Rand’s philosophy is Satanism without the ritual (to paraphrase the founder of Satanism, Anton Lavey – see the quote at the end of this post), shouldn’t conservative Christians at least be pretending to be outraged by not merely Paul Ryan’s love of Rand, but the entire party’s willingness to be influenced by her teachings? Is Joe Carter the only person calling attention to this among conservative Christians? And if so, why is he a lone voice? How can Pat Robertson not treat this as a sign?

I would love it if, as in the case of conservatives’ discovery of their confirmation bias in the case of David Barton, the quietness about the hurricane hitting Florida was an indication that a lightbulb had gone off, and all the rhetoric about Satan and storms was going to be revisited. Because personally I think such claims about divine judgment are misguided – spiritually, theologically, and meteorologically.

But I had a depressing feeling that as soon as a storm hits a gathering of liberals, or now that Isaac seems to be veering towards New Orleans, it will be back to business as usual. Is a little consistency too much to ask for?

  • EnopoletusHarding

    The Republican party is not influenced by the teachings of Ayn Rand at all. Ryan only uses Rand as a way to get libertarians’ attention; as he voted for the PATRIOT act, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Bill of 2008, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, there is absolutely no possible way Ryan can be considered a Randian.

    • Beau Quilter

      Paul Ryan, as quoted in Forbes Magazine:

      “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. The fight we are in here, and make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”

      “It’s so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand’s vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are.”

      “There is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works.”

      Yeah … no way Paul Ryan, can be considered a Randian …

      • EnopoletusHarding

        It’s fairly obvious from Ryan’s voting record he is lying when he says these things. It is just like George Bush stating Jesus is his favorite philosopher. I have read Atlas Shrugged (twice). By any reasonable standard, if Ryan was a character in that book, he would be a villain.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          At any rate, that isn’t my point. My point was that, if a Democratic candidate said, in essence, “I smoked the philosophy behind Satanism in college, but didn’t inhale,” and a storm was headed towards their convention, I don’t think that the opportunity to proclaim divine wrath would be passed up by those who usually offer it.

          As it happens, not long after I wrote this post, I saw a blog post another blog, saying that Pat Robertson attributes the veering of the storm away from Florida to God sparing the GOP convention…

          • Beau Quilter

            Yes, James, sorry for the tangent. I’m not really concerned about whether Ryan is a Randian or not.

            There was a lot of “guilt by association” that Republicans aimed at Obama four years ago. You don’t see the reverse nearly as often (though there a plenty of associations that could be made – both meaningful and meaningless).

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Oh, I don’t mind tangents at all – I just wanted to clarify what my point was, not prevent anyone from talking about other aspects of the topic!

    • spinkham

      Yes, Ryan was pro-big government when a Republican was in office, and recovered his anti-big government Randian religion when a Democrat was elected. Strange how that works…

  • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

    Speaking for myself as a conservative, I like to wait until the carnage and destruction numbers are tabulated before claiming a God victory against liberals, who inevitably cry out against conservatives for lack of compassion or acting too slowly when handing out government assistance checks. 65% of the people in New Orleans are on welfare. Let’s pray the tropical storm heads for a more conservative landing.

    Is that Satan’s stomach rumbling? Uh-oh.

    • Claude

      65% of the people in New Orleans are on welfare.

      Curious where you got that stat.

      • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

        I didn’t mention race or the sort of government assistance, but the stats are correct for the various wards within the city of New Orleans. Just type in “welfare state” in any search engine and N.O. pops up with stats.

        • Beau Quilter

          Took your suggestion and did a search, but couldn’t find your “’65%” stat anywhere. The brookings site you reference doesn’t have it either.

          Then I tried a more direct route and searched “welfare state New Orleans 65%”, and google found this comment page and your comment (above) as the source of the stat.

          What is your source?

          • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

            My sources are from people who work and live in New Orleans. Police and health service individuals. You try to find honest data from the democrat run agencies that lie about the data in the Obama Administration and you’ll be frustrated. The WIC program and Food Stamps distributed as welfare (my point) in 2012 New Orleans is way above the national average. I don’t trust the internet for my data, but know the people to trust for it.

            • Beau Quilter

              I’m not arguing pros and cons of any source. I’m just asking what your source is?

              “65% of the people in New Orleans are on welfare.”

              If true, it’s interesting. Who are these police and health service individuals? Where did they publish their statistics? Are these real population statistics based on verifiable data, or is it somebody’s “guestimate” ?

              • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

                I have a cousin who is a frustrated nurse, and a good friend who is a police sergeant working in Nawlins. I trust what they tell me about the city, the wards and the people. I love visiting and eating at The Court of Two Sisters and Arnaud’s. Never drink a Mint julep at the Sisters, it will fry your brain. ;-)

                They’ll say (what I don’t feel comfortable about saying), that the African-American population is so dependent on the government for support, that even a republican governor won’t be able to get them off it without trouble. A study in keeping people in poverty by taking away the incentives to be self-dependent. A liberal curse on mankind.

                • Beau Quilter

                  So, your police sergeant friend and your cousin told you that 65% of the people in N.O. are on welfare? Independently? Were they quoting a report or had they surveyed the population themselves?

                  • http://tunabay.com/ Keika

                    From their front-line experience, my sources say that the black community is 65% + on welfare. You can’t trust the democrats in office to give you reliable statistics. And when the republicans get in control and change the numbers correctly, the democrats squeal like pigs, as VP Biden says of the republicans. My cousin Debbie tells me the pregnant mothers she sees have valid WIC cards, signed authentically. On the government computers however, magically their ‘race’ is changed from Afro-American to Caucasian. How WIC children get voter cards is beyond understanding as well. My police friend is busy now getting his team ready for potential flooding rescues and isolated looting as Hurricane Isaac rolls into town. His stories about the New Orleans poor is terribly sad. But it’s the unemployment brought on by the Obama years that is to blame for that. If you can refute my stats, please do.

                    • Beau Quilter

                      Keika

                      I have to say, though your clearly have strong feelings, your a beginning to look dishonest.

                      You declared in your first comment. that “65% of the people in New Orleans are on Welfare”.

                      Now you say that “the black community is 65%+ on welfare.” Are you changing your original statement?

                      You still will not reveal your “sources” for such a number beyond a relative and friend – you have no studies to cite, no report.

                      You say that we “can’t trust the democrats”. Without judging the trustworthiness of either democrats or republicans, it is your trustworthiness that is in question now.

                      How can we trust any statements you make, if you can’t substantiate your claims? You have changed your statement substantially and cannot cite any reliable data

                    • Mary

                      Thank you for checking this out. Without hard proof these statements are only slander (especially when she brings out the race card.)
                      I did see on that website that the population in New Orleans is 67% black. However there was no mention of how many are on welfare.

                    • Claude

                      But it’s the unemployment brought on by the Obama years that is to blame for that.

                      This is the cheapest propaganda. The economy was in crisis–the worst since the Depression–before Obama was even inaugurated. Remember?

                    • Mary

                      She already refuted your stats because they don’t exist. The burden of proof is on you.

            • Beau Quilter

              I’m really not arguing with the point, Keika. I think anyone would concede that New Orleans has enormous problems.

              If you have a legitimate source for that statistic I’d quote it myself. I do, however, see an awful lot of bogus “statistics” circulating around the internet as “facts”, and so I always think it’s vital to question the source.

              • Claude

                Thank you for the follow-up, Beau.

                Looks like Keika’s assertion was dubious.

  • Beau Quilter

    James,

    Off-topic question, sorry!

    Every now and then, I enjoy browsing the “Interesting Posts Elsewhere” links on the right column of your blog pages. Do you create this list, or is it generated automatically by Patheos?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      That’s my own list of things that I have found interesting and think that others will too, on blogs I subscribe to the feeds of. Google Reader used to gave a “Share” button built in that made it convenient to create a list for a sidebar. Luckily someone came up with a Google Chrome extension which adds that function back, even though Google eliminated it from Google Reader.

      The other sidebar “More from the Patheos Progressive Christian Channel” is made by Patheos, not me, and the footer links are likewise not selected by me – I think those are added by Disqus.

      I’m glad you mentioned this, because if at some point I thought no one found that sidebar useful, I might have gotten rid of it. So I am glad that you let me know you sometimes click on those links! :-)

      • Gary

        “I’m glad you mentioned this, because if at some point I thought no one found that sidebar useful, I might have gotten rid of it.”…please don’t get rid of it. I like to look through the items I find interesting – usually always a few, at least. Good spot-on summaries too, when the mouse goes over them.

      • Beau Quilter

        Yes, I find your list interesting and browse it frequently. Thank you for keeping it. You’ve introduced me to a few other bloggers that I now follow regularly.

  • Mary

    Ayn Rand and Satanism? It has been a long time since I read her work but I thought her main purpose was to point out the problems of communism.

    • Beau Quilter

      It was a satanist who claimed Rand, not the other way around. James is using a little parody here. Showing how easy it is to create “guilt by association” as so many Republicans did to Obama during his 1st presidential election.

      • Mary

        Thanks. The joke’s on me then!

  • Kaz

    Interesting rhetorical point. It would not have occurred to me to criticize a group for not acting in a manner that I would criticize had they done so.

    I think the reason that many are rallying behind Romney and Ryan is because they fear that America will be Greece within a decade if Obama’s policies and the policies of those who think like him are to continue. America is spending 40% more per year than it’s taking in, and the current administration’s proposed first line of attack is to raise taxes on the rich, even though that would be like adding one kernel of sand to the riverbank in the hope that it will be enough to keep the floods back. In the GOP’s way of thinking, the primary problem isn’t that the rich don’t pay enough; it’s that the government spends too much, and often carelessly at that.

    I’ve heard it pointed out by more than one commentator that, historically, when U.S. tax rates are lowered then tax revenues increase. The logic seems reasonable, i.e. when you allow people to keep more of their money then they’ll be more likely to spend, invest, start businesses, take financial risks — in short, stimulate the economy and help it grow.

    • Kaz

      I had said:

      ” In the GOP’s way of thinking, the primary problem isn’t that the rich
      don’t pay enough; it’s that the government spends too much, and often
      carelessly at that.”

      I should have said:

      “Many conservatives think that the primary problem isn’t that the rich don’t pay enough; it’s that the government spends too much, and often carelessly at that.”

      Neither party is blameless for excessive spending.

      • Claude

        Oh yes, it’s the old false equivalency. They all do it, don’t they? Please note which party aggressively promoted the following budget-busters:

        1) tax cuts for everyone, especially the very rich

        2) two unfunded wars

        3) Medicare Part D

        4) deregulated financial markets

        That would be the GOP. Yes, Glass-Steagall was trashed under Clinton, but it was mainly a Republican initiative, and the Republican party reflexively opposes regulation except when it benefits the plutocrats who run the USA.

        Please note which party bequeathed a budget surplus to the next administration, which subsequently squandered said surplus on the above.

        That would be the Democratic Party.

        All the squawking from Ryan and co about the deficit is sheer ideological bluster; when their man is in the White House “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.”

    • spinkham

      “I’ve heard it pointed out by more than one commentator that,
      historically, when U.S. tax rates are lowered then tax revenues
      increase.”

      Unfortunately, most economists disagree. Lower tax burden in certain specific circumstances can help the economy grow, but there evidence suggests in most cases if growth happens it is not enough to replace the revenue lost, let alone increase revenue. Taxes are but one of a multitude of things that impact growth, and it turns out to be one of the smaller ones.

      I’d encourage you to look into the topic more. A google search like lower taxes increase revenue should be enough to get you started.

      • Kaz

        If the commentators I’ve heard are correct, this isn’t a case where we have to lean on the theories of economists who represent the current zeitgeist. Three or four historical examples were given, and in each case when tax rates were lowered, tax revenues increased. Lowering taxes can also help decrease the instances where people loose their jobs because they are transferred overseas.

        I take your point, though, and understand that getting an economy going is a multifaceted enterprise. The biggest issue the U.S. faces right now is the out of control spending. Just ask yourself how long you could spend 40% more than you earn before you would end up in bankruptcy. One of the early signs that trouble is looming is when your credit rating is lowered, which just happened to the nation for the first time in its history.

        Right now we have the opportunity to see two approaches in action. Just take a look at Illinois vs. Wisconsin. IL raised taxes; WI cut spending. IL is in terrible shape; WI has a balanced budget, has paid back debt, and most of those communities that took advantage of the tools Governor Walker made available to them have held the line on taxes, lowering them in some cases, not raising them in others.

        We also got to see a sort of character study unfold before us. In WI, the union thugs and others made an absurd spectacle of themselves in their effort to recall the Governor. Collectively they were the embodiment — even a caricature — of the worst traits that humans exhibit when they put their selfish interests ahead of the interests of others. It was an embarrassment to behold, right up to the bitter end when a woman slapped Tom Barrett in the face for loosing the election.

        • spinkham

          You might want to talk to some economists before you declare your anecdotes as reliable data.

          Accoring to the professionals, there are some circumstances where tax cuts can help, and some where they will hurt. There are often many other factors that make a larger difference than tax policy.

          That’s the problem with the Republican line, and why basically no economists support their take on it. Supply side economics has become dogma, rather than one tool that is useful in particular situations.

          • Kaz

            @spinkham: I’m not talking about anecdotes, but about historical examples of policy in practice that had the stated result. I’ll try and track down more precise dates and stats for you. In any case, you’re forgetting the context of the comment, i.e. Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on the rich, when the number crunchers will tell you that this won’t even dent the problems the nation is facing due to out-of-control spending, and could do serious damage by slowing a recovery that is already so tepid that it’s barely noticeable.

            • spinkham

              What makes you think it was the tax policy that is 100% responsible for all differences? What makes you think cutting taxes always leads to growth, and raising them leads to stagnation?

              You see, It’s just not that simple. You can read the some of the facts for yourself if you don’t trust the experts, but complex issues require expert understanding.

              • Kaz

                @spinkham: You keep focusing on the least interesting point: Raising taxes on the rich will be about as effective towards solving the problems the U.S. currently faces as throwing a single grain of sand on a riverbank would be in holding back the flood waters. This is a time when leaders should be coming up with serious solutions, not politically popular ones.

                Economists are like linguists, they disagree as often as they agree.

                • Kaz

                  I meant for that first sentence to read like this:

                  “You keep focusing on the least interesting point. The important point, at least in context, is this: Raising taxes…”

                • spinkham

                  “I’ve heard it pointed out by more than one commentator that,
                  historically, when U.S. tax rates are lowered then tax revenues
                  increase.”

                  That was your comment, it was flat wrong. There is no such correlation.

                  You say the Romney tax cuts are small. They are estimated by the tax policy center at 360 *Billion*, which is 20x NASA’s budget, or 1/2 the cost of our our largest budget item, the military. This is no small bet on this theory. People forget how much of our current debt is the continuance of the Bush tax cuts, which Obama has supported. So far those tax cuts have not lowered the debt yet, and we’re unlikely to do so by dropping taxes even more. They do stimulate jobs and the economy to some extent, just nowhere near enough to pay for themselves

                  Tax policy is but a part of the answer either way, that I will agree. However, the Romney plan is expected to drop revenue so sharply and economists are in almost universal agreement that that will not pay for itself, let alone raise revenue.

                  You want to play like economists are divided on this one: They are not, in the same way climate scientists are not divided on global warming, and biological scientists are not on evolution. I know there’s a segment of the media that wants to deny all these things, but they do so at the peril of our nation.

                  • Kaz

                    @spinkham: If you have nothing to say about the most important issue I raised, then I’ll let you have the last word, except to correct one point: I said nothing about the Romney plan. Don’t know where you got that.

        • Beau Quilter

          As for the Wisconsin recall election, the governor spent over 28 million in the most expensive election of Wisconsin history, and despite his personal win, Wisconsin lost their majority in the state senate.

          It was a Pyrrhic victory.

          • Beau Quilter

            I meant to say Wisconsin Republicans lost their majority in the state senate.

          • Kaz

            @Beau Quilter: “It was a Pyrrhic victory.” If the recall election had been just another election then that might have been true, but some conservatives considered the Walker recall election to be one of the most important elections in U.S. history. One recent event illustrates the point: Had Walker lost then it’s unlikely that Romney would have chosen Ryan as his running mate, because he wouldn’t have been confident that America was ready for someone who not only talks reform, but intends walk it. Had Walker lost then it would have added to the doubts people have about whether America is ready to make the hard choices that a growing number of people feel must be made very, very soon if the U.S. is to avoid becoming Greece. Greece may hang on with help from Germany, but there is no nation that has the resources to save the U.S. If America goes bankrupt, most if not all of the world follows after.

            • Beau Quilter

              Of course Americans are ready for reform.

              The problems is in thinking that they will get it from a Republican presidency. Look at the history of Republican presidencies – were these budget balancing terms? Or terms in which spending skyrocketed?

              • Kaz

                @Beau: “Of course Americans are ready for reform.” I mentioned what happened in WI with the recall election, and that suggests that there are many Americans who will not be ready for the sorts of reforms that many believe are needed. Just look at the jejune hissy fit and unethical practices that Wisconsonites had to put up with from those who attempted to recall Gov Walker, and his reforms were about as modest as could be while retaining the capacity to fix the problems.

                http://walker.wi.gov/Documents/Act_10_Success_Recap.pdf

                Try searching “Letter From a WI Taxpayer” if you want to see the level of disgust that the antics of the recall group incited from one person, which represented the feelings of many others who had to put up with it. I don’t endorse the tone of that letter anymore than I endorse the behavior that inspired it, but I can understand the frustration the writer expressed. I’m neither a democrat nor a republican, but I followed the embarrassing — even surreal ordeal — which showed once again how little it takes to get humans to exhibit the worst devils of our nature.

                • Beau Quilter

                  Do you remember our last presidential elections? The birthers? The candidates and pundits inciting hatred by “linking” Obama to Islam and to terrorism?

                  • Kaz

                    @Beau: So your response is to point fingers and say “They did it too”? What an unfortunate attitude. Obnoxious, spiteful, mean-spirited, jejune, unethical, immoral, and otherwise offensive behavior should be rejected regardless who does it and to whom it’s done.

                    One thing I do remember from the last presidential elections is the level of bias displayed by the mainstream media. If you need a reminder vis a vis specifics, check out Bernard Goldberg’s book,

                    A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media

                    I’d also recommend his earlier book,

                    Bias: A CBC Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News

                    • Beau Quilter

                      Excuse me, Kaz, but you were the one who pointed at bad behavior to make a political point in the first place – when somebody else does it, it’s “pointing fingers”? What an unfortunate attitude.

                      Ah, yes, the Goldberg book. Because Fox news pundits are the most unbiased source of news on air.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Now that the storm is veering away from Florida, Pat Robertson suddenly knows what to make of it:
    http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/we-knew-we-could-depend-on-pat-robertsons-cbn-to-say-something-about-hurricane-isaac/

    • Dr. David Tee

      I have come to the conclusion that Robertson has gone senile. Can’t prove it but he sure sounds like he has.

  • http://profiles.google.com/magistray Magistra Ygraine Mitchell

    Funny you should mention this. I am a Magistra in The Chuch of Satan and I said exactly what you clai was a parody:http://www.examiner.com/article/isaac-god-s-view-of-the-gop-or-nature-being-nature

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