Moral Accountability

This made me smile.

After almost all six presidential candidates at the Iowa Family Leader’s presidential forum had expressed fidelity to Jesus Christ and talked about rough patches in their lives, moderator Frank Luntz said, “You are so admirable in terms of character.”

It was an ironic remark given the forum’s theme of morality and Christ-centered values. And it shone a light on the elephant in the living room.

Of the six there, Herman Cain stands accused of sexually harassing four women and Newt Gingrich is on his third marriage, having admitted to extramarital affairs during his first two marriages. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Cain support waterboarding — widely believed to be torture — on people accused of having links to terrorism. Rick Perry supports the death penalty.

How do those positions conform to Christian values? And why was no one at First Federated Church mentioning them?

To not do so made a mockery of the whole premise.

We always hear from the ‘without god there can be no morals’ crowd: “Without the judgement of god, how can there be accountability?”  It’s a stupid question, usually delivered with enough sneering condescension to gag a maggot.  How can there be moral accountability when you believe that torture, dishonesty with your spouse, and literally any crime imaginable no matter how severe or malicious can be dismissed if only you believe a Canaanite Jew rose from the dead 2,000 years ago?  In that case, the only accountability left is your own conscience and human sense of compassion.  Without those things, you’re a monster whether you have Jesus or not.

You say “They’re good Christians”.  I hear “I’m a sucker, and I’m voting for these people who have ceased to be accountable to themselves and to humanity.”

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Rob

    Frank Luntz?! That’s laughable in itself!

  • Rob
  • julian

    Newt Gingrich failed (a term I dislike for relationships) marriages really don’t bug me. But the blatant hypocrisy does. Republican like to pretend they’re good people when they aren’t.

    They are, as a political group, dishonest, ego-driven, ignorant and malevolent hypocrits who have survived this far in American politics by capitalizing on racism, sexism and nationalism. The Republican party exists to cause confusion, discontent and strife.

    And to make matters worse it doesn’t tolerate any level of dissent within its ranks forcing even competent administrators to debase themselves just for a chance at advancing their career. Competence be damned! How often to do you pray with your children? Five? Hmmm, you’re not one of those moslems are you?

    Fuck the Republican Party.

    sorry for the mini rant

  • Anteprepro

    Chuckled a little at the idea that the death penalty isn’t consistent with Christian morality. Didn’t Jesus say something about OT law remaining in effect? And wasn’t the punishment for breaking any of the Ten Commandments (aside from coveting and theft, but including adultery, working on the Sabbath, and disobeying parents) stoning the “criminal” to death? Sorry, but it’s the Bible itself that is immoral on that issue, not Rick Perry.

  • Ani Sharmin

    From the article:

    While the moderator praised candidates for not attacking one another, he seemed fine with their attacking non-Christians, liberals and Democrats. When Santorum declared that the left has a “do it if it feels good” ethic — as if Cain and Gingrich weren’t even in the room — no one called him out on it. Luntz floated the view that “People who don’t attend church are the most unhappy and angry people” and asked Gingrich why he’s always under attack — to which the former House speaker responded, “Because they’re unhappy and they’re angry.” Everyone laughed.

    The predominant narrative of organizers and candidates was that Christianity should define public policy and those who disagree are attacking Christianity.

    That they do not even think to stop for two seconds and consider how they would feel if they were on the other side of this type of situation baffles me.

    • heather

      Funny. I don’t attend church, but I don’t think I’m angry and unhappy. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel obliged to wake up at the crack of dawn on Sundays to go listen to someone lecture at me like I have to 4 other days out of the week.

  • KLB

    Republicans know that nobody is going to support their ludicrous ideas so they raise the Jesus flag. Then the sheep file in silently behind their “good christian” candidates. I seriously can’t believe that so much as one republican would ever hold office if not for the religious right.

  • Psychotic Atheist

    @ Anteprepro

    Sorry, but it’s the Bible itself that is immoral on that issue, not Rick Perry.

    That should read “it’s the Bible itself that is immoral on that issue, AND Rick Perry”, surely?

    But according to the book of John Chapter 8

    The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

    They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.

    When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    This doesn’t appear in the earliest versions of John, but most Christians would accept this nevertheless – I think, and this does seem to suggest that the if we are to have a death penalty for sinning – everyone deserves to die.

    • suzysalaksartok

      In the communist society they set up after Jebus flew into the sky, the leader (Paul I believe) cast Power Word: Kill on people who held out on forking over their cash into the collective.

      So its not like the NT is all lovey dovey.

      Also, concerning the article, I really hate how “Christian Values” somehow = “Actual Values”

      Anything good is “Christian Values”, unless its not, but then it sometimes is, depends on who you talk to. Again the whole ‘gee, God sure seems to agree with whatever crap you already believe’ thing.

  • Janee

    I find it hilarious that Christians think they’re so superior and that God will judge us for not believing but that anything they do is okay as long as they admit that they believe.
    Also, I think it’s adorable you and your dad both used the expression “to gag a maggot” in your posts.

  • Roberto Griner

    Liking it so far – keep at it!