No joke: From the cathouse to the state house

No joke: From the cathouse to the state house December 12, 2017

The shorter, punchier version of yesterday’s post is this: A white evangelical preacher could survive the scandal of getting charged with running a brothel if that preacher simply turned into an anti-abortion white evangelical Republican politician.

Walter Eugene Brazington Jr.’s career as an itinerant revival/End Times preacher is probably doomed now that he has been arrested and charged with “attempting to encourage, induce or persuade women to become inmates of a house of prostitution” via the massage parlor he also owns. Competition is tough for itinerant speakers and the circuit of nondenominational independent Bible churches will likely decide to give their free-will love offerings mostly to guest preachers who haven’t been accused of having a double life as a pimp. If he manages to stay out of prison, Brazington might be able to restart his evangelistic career by moving several states away, outrunning his reputation, but the arrest likely means the end of his ministry there in Oklahoma.

Unless

Unless he decides to get into politics. If he declares himself a Republican candidate for the state legislature, Brazington can transform himself from white evangelical pariah into white evangelical hero.

Because of the Supreme Court. And the courts in general. Which is to say because of abortion and the paramount white evangelical imperative to combat it by electing politicians who will appoint and approve judges who will overturn civil rights laws, voting rights laws, and corporate regulations.

If you’re a Republican politician fluent in evangelicalese, and you vow to support such judges, then a majority of white evangelicals won’t care that you’ve also been arrested for being a pimp.

Sure, you may have to endure a sternly worded tweet from Russell Moore and from a handful of other white evangelical leaders who lack any significant number of white evangelical followers, but other than that, you’ll be embraced and celebrated as a champion of Christiananmerica. Whatever past sins or crimes you may have committed — no matter what — will be dismissed as meaningless, just like the crimes of King David himself. (Hey, if you want to make an omelet, you’re gonna need to murder a few Hittites to cover up your rape of their wives, amirite?)

The problem with this shorter version is that it sounds like a joke. It’s constructed like a joke — like a comically exaggerated claim. And in the past, I’ve presented this argument as something like a dark joke:

White evangelicals are soooo monomaniacally focused on preserving their self-conception as righteous combatants against imagined Satanic baby-killers.

How monomaniacally focused on preserving their self-conception as righteous combatants against imagined Satanic baby-killers are they?

They’re so monomanically focused on preserving their self-conception as righteous combatants against imagined Satanic baby-killers that they’d even support a child-molester if he agreed to indulge the pretense of their fantasy!

Rimshot. Ed McMahon chuckle.

But it’s not a joke. The reality allows no room for comic exaggeration, so it can’t be a joke.

And it really isn’t funny.

 

 

 

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