Posted by: readerjohn | March 22, 2010

Culture war update

My posting that used my spiritual doppelganger Frank Schaeffer as a launching pad was in the works for several days, but coincidentally, the AOI blog featured Schaeffer’s odd behavior as its centerpiece just a day later.

I underestimated the depth of the problem, having only sampled what Schaeffer offers to wallow in. There’s something seriously wrong when an Orthodox Christian of Schaeffer’s reported status can write this generally and this in particular:

The [Manhattan] declaration was the brainchild of a far right Reconstructionist extremist, Roman Catholic scholar, Robert P. George. George is a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and probably the most influential Reconstructionist thinker to try to derail our democracy … Of course George would disavow being called a Reconstructionist. Rather he would claim he’s an advocate of the so-called Natural Law school of Roman Catholic theology.

Well, yes, Frank: George would deny being a Reconstructionist. Because he isn’t one. And he’d claim the Natural Law mantle. Because it fits.

And if you don’t know that, I’ve got bad news for you: you’re an idiot. (Shall I write that slower? You. Are. An. Idiot.)

Or as George put it:

I remember meeting him [Schaeffer] only once. Admittedly, it was a memorable experience. We were on a panel together at Princeton discussing contemporary politics in the midst of the 2008 presidential election. I knew nothing about the man, but he immediately struck me as an odd and, frankly, somewhat creepily emotive character who, as they say, “had issues.” He seemed pathetically desperate to be important or, at least, to be regarded as important in elite intellectual circles. I’ll leave it to the psychiatrists to decide whether this had to do with his being reared by fundamentalist Christian parents, a fact which, for some reason, he insisted on making a very big deal out of in his remarks. His speech was an emotional tirade that was perhaps the most self-referential piece of oratory I’ve ever heard. It was, you see, all about . . . him! We were supposed to be talking about the election, but what the audience got from Frank Schaeffer was autobiography—an account of the life and deeds of Frank Schaeffer. (Evidently, he was once himself connected to those dreadful right-wing fundamentlists until he “realized just how anti-American they are,” which led him to forums like the the Rachel Maddow Show and the Huffington Post where he warns the Enlightened about the nefarious plans of his former comrades in arms “to derail democracy.”)  It was so painfully embarrassing that even people on his side (that would be the pro-Obama side) were rolling their eyes to make clear to the rest of us that they found his behavior as peculiar and embarrassing as we did.

Schaeffer once said Orthodoxy was his last stop in Christianity – as if he’d apostatize entirely if Orthodoxy didn’t suit him. So as a litany in the St. Ambrose Prayer Book has it:

On those who at this moment are in danger of losing Thee forever, Lord have mercy!


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