Governor Christie said … What Did He Say?

Chris christie

Whenever political ambitions cut across Christian beliefs, the result is predictable.

It’s like watching one of those flickering silent movies of yesteryear as the train roars up on Little Nell who lies tied to the tracks. You just know that Little Nell is going to get out of the ropes and off the tracks before the train arrives, but it’s soooo fun watching her kick and mouth silent pleas for help as she awaits her rescuing hero.

When politicians get bit by the big-time bug, sincere Christian beliefs are kind of like Little Nell’s ropes, tying them down. Big-time national politics and sincere beliefs don’t mix. If you doubt that, consider what we’ve been electing these past few decades.

Once a politician feels the frisson White House Ambition running down his or her spine, all basic Christian beliefs become unnecessary ballast that may — probably will — need a heave-ho.

Some politicians handle this with a deft, even stylish touch. Some of them are stone, cold liars. Others flub their lines at first. It takes a while for them to get the hang of it. That, and if they’ve been around politics for a while (and most White House Fever types have) they’ve got earlier versions of themselves to sweep under various political rugs.

We used to call it flip-flopping. Before that, we called it lying. The new term is “evolve.” Today’s politicians don’t turn their backs on everything they told voters to get elected to earlier offices. They “evolve.”

The pull of White House Ambition signals that it’s time to Start Evolving.

It’s up to we the people to see if we can figure out what they are going to evolve into.

Because they won’t tell us.

Because they don’t know.

Until they read the latest polls.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, is, as everyone knows, a desperation hope for the Republican ticket for president in 2016. He put in a boffo performance during Hurricane Sandy, one that convinced a lot of people — including me — that he had an actual sense of responsibility to the people of New Jersey.

That alone was so refreshing — dare I say unique? — among today’s elected officials that it made him an immediate possibility in the upcoming fight for his very own front door key to the big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. It also, if his recent performance is any indicator, flooded his brain with political laughing gas.

Governor Christie is on record opposing gay marriage. He’s also on record supporting civil unions. So the water has always been murky in Christie land. But now he’s faced with running for nomination to the presidency in a Republican Party that is trying to “re-frame” itself on several critical issues. While the Rs have historically used the gay marriage issue as a vote getter in conservative states, they have begun to find it less than useful in certain big-state electoral vote mother lodes. Hence the “re-framing.”

As I’ve tried repeatedly to tell people on this blog, political parties are about getting and keeping power and everything else they say is a lie. That includes the lie of either party about supporting traditional marriage (or gay marriage, for that matter) if it becomes a loser in the vote-getting department. An internal report earlier this year recommended that the Republican party back off on its position against gay marriage.

The reaction of the party faithful was strong enough that the Republican National Committee approved a resolution reaffirming that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

But potential presidential candidates can and must be more coy than party committees. They’ve got to thread the vote-getting needle.

So, of course, there’s going to be some “evolving” taking place in their positions on hot-button issues.

In Governor Christie’s case, that meant signing a new law that would ban certain types of psychological therapy for children and announcing that being gay is “inborn and not a sin.” He even managed to conflate this statement with Catholic teaching.

The truth is, nobody really knows what causes homosexuality.  And of course being tempted to homosexual acts is not a sin. The next big leap into saying that actually going ahead and participating in homosexual acts is not sinful and that the Catholic Church teaches this is, well, just a Christie-ism.

News articles are now taking what the Governor said and putting it together with Pope Francis’ earlier statements to create a whole new teaching for the Catholic Church.

I wish the bishops would chime in with a correction. But until they do, I guess it’s up to us bloggers to do our best.

Here’s Catholic teaching as I understand it, which, since I am not running for president, is almost certainly going to be more accurate and less self-serving than anything Governor Christie will come out with.

As I said, it’s not a sin to be tempted to sin. If the sin is homosexual acts, the temptation is still not a sin. But committing the sinful act, even when that act is something as culturally sacred as having illicit sex, is a sin. Sex outside marriage is sinful. Period.

Second, Pope Francis did not say anything that contradicts this. He also did not overturn what Pope Benedict XVI taught.

Priests — both homosexual and straight — are supposed to be chaste, which, if you’re not married, means no sex. Both popes agree on that.

As for Governor Christie, my advice to him is to relax. It’s not anywhere near 2016. There’s plenty of time for him to “evolve” more gracefully than this.

  • FW Ken

    http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexual-orientation.aspx

    That’s the APA report the governor relied on, further evidence that the APA is an advocacy organization able to use lingo that sounds like science to advance it’s agenda. It’s clear that their unproven assumptions can lead only to one interpretation of data, if not a manipulation of data.

    http://nj.gov/governor/news/news/552013/approved/20130819a.html

    That is the press release from the governor’s office, with a link to the .pdf file of the governor’s actually signing statement. I wonder if the governor’s press officer meant for him to sound like a theological hillbilly by including the interchange with Piers Morgan in 2011.

    Rebecca, my question is whether the governor is ambitious, or just ignorant.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Ken, the two things hardly exclude each other.

  • BrandonDutcher

    Unfortunately, I fear he’s much more than a desperation hope to get the GOP nod. Let’s hope this wicked action helps to derail him.

    • hamiltonr

      Brandon, you know a lot more about this than I do. I find your analysis sobering.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Not close to 2016, I agree. This was for his re-election coming in this November. I get to watch Christie up close since I live in NYC and work in New Jersey. It is not easy for a Republican to get elected and have high positives in this area. Christie, say what you will (and i was disgusted with his embrace of Obama just before the presidential election, hurricane or no hurricane) is an excellent politician. He understands how to find the common ground across constituencies. This was not a high moment for him, I agree. There was no need to take a slap at the Catholic Church. If he hadn’t done that I think this would have gone relatively unnoticed. As to the merits of this legislation, I don’t know. Children shouldn’t be exposed to quackery. Is this quackery? I’m not a psychologist, but it sounds like it to me.

  • Sus_1

    No matter what reasons Christie outlawed this therapy, I’m glad and hope other states follow suit. I’m glad for the publicity about it so maybe parents who are thinking about it, discard it for a more traditional counseling situation if it’s needed.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      You are glad that a corruptible politician let himself be corrupted. This is not about your position being right or wrong: you are glad to hear that your side has the brute force and the money power to bribe and corrupt. That is the last thing in the world that any citizen of a free commonwealth ought to be glad, whatever her positions, because money power and brute force are always ultimately your enemy. And if you don’t think that is the case, ask yourself why you, as an American woman, have to hear this kind of simple if bitter truth – http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/08/201381615448464851.html – from Al Jazeera, while all the American media, including the supposedly progressive ones, cover it up with trend-of-the-week trash. It is because brute force and money power in America has resolved to squeeze the citizen dry, and the media are in on the game. If you congratulate Governor Creepstie for letting himself be bribed and threatened, you are working against yourself in a way as immediate as this. Try, for the love of your country and for your own self-interest, to think about it.

      • Sus_1

        Rebecca said “As I’ve tried repeatedly to tell people on this blog,
        political parties are about getting and keeping power and everything else they say is a lie. ”

        I believe this is absolutely true. My comment is reasonable based on Rebecca’s statement.

        My comment was about being glad that someone has recognized that the therapy is harmful to many people. It has nothing to do with whether women have a choice about working or not.

        As far as my side goes, I’m on all sides. The gay people aren’t going away. The people that think gay is wrong aren’t going away. All these people have to figure out how to share this country. I want that to happen without violence.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Let me rephrase that. You are so keen on achieving a certain goal that you don’t care what made a certain politician go back on his stated views and supposed beliefs. Since it is all too evident that his motives are corrupt, that means that you are happy to see corruption at work so long as it works in the direction you desire. I have news for you: corruption never works in the direction you desire, and to take it for a positive development is the same as to cuddle a man-eating tiger. If you can’t see the connection between corrupt press and corrupt politicians, you have a serious problem.

          • Sus_1

            My goals are to raise my 5 children to be happy and productive adults without harm coming to them through being killed at school or anywhere else and to not have our country go into a holy civil war.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              And you charge me with irrelevance? What on Earth is this about a civil war or being killed at school? Are you saying that ‘s what Catholics or pro-lifers want? Because if you are, I strongly suggest you get a therapist as a matter of urgency.

              • Sus_1

                It’s impossible to have any kind of discussion with you because of your rudeness.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  It was my rudeness that impelled you to bring in civil war and being killed at school? Because I can’t see any reason why you should bring in something so entirely beside the point.

                  • hamiltonr

                    Not rude Fabio. Just that not everyone here is gs or bill. Argue with Sus, but be kind.

              • hamiltonr

                Ease back Fabio. Be courteous and kind with Sus. She’s a good lady.

          • Sven2547

            Since it is all too evident that his motives are corrupt

            Go on? Explain what is “corrupt” about this.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              Well, it may seem to you that a man who makes hay of his supposed Christian principles to climb in his party and then discards them as soon as they become inconvenient is innocent, uncorrupt and a positive Socrates, but I fear I see things differently. In general, I only trust conversions if they are in unpopular directions; with politicians, that presumption is doubled.

      • Sven2547

        “Conversion therapy” is a dangerous and harmful regimen. Rather than address the issue at hand, you’re going on a nasty tirade about bribery and corruption. Did it occur to you that maybe Christie made this decision on reasoned principle?

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Of course not. And unless you show me your qualifications as a therapist and the papers you have written to show on what grounds (other than prejudice) you state this as fact, I will not be greatly impressed by your dogmatic pronouncements either. Incidentally, the fact that you seem to assume Creepstie’s behaviour is natural and unobjectionable places you beyond any argument I might make on morality, which is a matter of some importance in the real world.

        • FW Ken

          Heaven knows he didn’t make his decision based on objective science.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        That’s an interesting article. Thank you for linking it. I know some of the women who choose homebirth because hospital birth is beyond them financially. Since we live far from midwives too, this means husbands, relatives and friends stand in.

  • James1225

    “When politicians get bit by the big-time bug, sincere Christian beliefs are kind of like Little Nell’s ropes, tying them down.”

    Interesting analogy. It certainly seems that way. Will there be any more presidential candidates that make it through the primaries without seeing it that way?

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    My head hurts just contemplating the 2016 race. It’s too early!

    • FW Ken

      My head is still hurting from 2012.

    • Dale

      I live in Iowa, and presidential hopefuls are already roaming the state, lining up political allies.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        You have my sympathies. One of the advantages of living in Wyoming: presidential hopefuls rarely roam the state, even during an election year.

        • Dale

          I need to move. ;-)

          If you tell me that negative TV ads are also rare, then I will start packing!

          • Rebecca Fuentes

            Sadly, media has a long reach.

  • Dave

    I don’t know if Gov. Kristy Kreme is likely to get the GOP nomination or not. I would think not, but all I know for sure is that he will not get my vote in any election, whether primary or general.

    Basically I won’t vote for any politician any more unless it is someone like Ron Paul who states what he believes and then sticks to it. This tacking back and forth depending on the group of voters they want to attract shows that they do not have integrity to me.

    I used to like Sen. Wellstone. Now, I would never vote for him, but at least he had REAL BELIEFS and had the integrity to speak those beliefs and then let the voters decide whether to elect him. Granted, he had the luxury of doing that because he lived in a liberal state, but that’s what I expect of an elected leader.

    Politicians like Ron Paul and Sen. Wellstone (and you, Rebecca) are so rare…

    • FW Ken

      Gov. Krispy Kreme indeed! As a charter member of the G.K. Chesterton chapter of the International Brotherhood of Fat Guys, I resemble that.

  • FW Ken

    Right, like the bogus science that mis-informs the APA document cited by Gov. Christie. Propaganda isn’t science. When you’re conclusions depends on your premises, as in the APA position paper. That’s propaganda. When studies don’t consider alternative explanations for data, that’s propaganda.


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