Discernment-free conservatism rejoices at the spectacle of Mark Sanford, who ditched his wife for a Latin American hottie on the public dime and lied about it, winning an election. Cue Sanford, spouting the rhetoric of Christian Tofu Moralistic Therapeutic Deism:
“I want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances but third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth chances, because that is the reality of our shared humanity,” Sanford said at his victory celebration after defeating his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch. “I am one imperfect man saved by God’s grace.”
Man. That dude must have gone through an epic Jean Valjean conversion, repented his manifold sins and changed completely right?
Well no. Actually, he ditched his wife and kids (though he did have the testicular brass to ask her to run his campaign–she declined) and has now taken up with the Latin hottie. Then his very next thought was “I want my power back.” Right wingers worried about “anti-family socialists” who steal your tax money to fund the breakup of families were thrilled and gave him that power–the power he used last time to use state monies to fly to adulterous trysts while lying to his family and to the people who just voted him back in. But who cares? A “family values” Republican has power and he does blather on about whatever focus-grouped culture war red meat plays with FOX watchers and talk radio drones, so that makes him an apostle of grace. The Conservative Anti-Charism of Discernment marches on!
Ross Douthat is absolutely right: “I’m a John Profumo guy living in a Mark Sanford world.”
And before anybody says it, refusing to vote for this man would not have meant compulsion to vote for his opponent. It simply means exercising some common sense and not bringing the gospel into disrepute, yet again, by letting some God-talking pol do a Bill Clinton Bible-totin’ photo op. Oh. Wait! I forgot. Bill Clinton actually stayed with his wife! He’s a better man than the GOP’s “family values” candidate in SC.