The Dumbest Thing I Heard This Week — Return of Eric Metaxas

Dunce_cap_from_LOC_3c04163uHey there’s a new Eric Metaxas article! Eric Metaxas is an Evangelical author who has the honor of being one of the original “Dumbest Thing I Heard This Week” honorees. Well he’s back with another ill-conceived rant on CNN.com.

Metaxas uses empty platitudes to religion to cover from vicious attacks on President Obama. He’s basically the Will Ferrell character Ricky Bobby, just instead of closing his insults with “with all due respect,” he says, “hey, I’m just telling you what God says.”

By the way, I disagree with the president in some important ways. But as a Christian, God commands me to love those with whom I disagree, to treat them with civility and respect, as creatures made in God’s image. That’s a command, not a request or a suggestion.

This sets up the article. Make sure to remember this command of love and respect as we go through.

I also joked around a lot, because as any of my friends will tell you, one of the ways I show love is by joking and teasing people.

Oh that’s super convenient that teasing people is an expression of “love” for Metaxas. I have nothing against joking and teasing, but someone saying, “I am a good person because I love and respect my enemies” and immediately follows it with, “mocking people is my way of showing love and respect” you know they’re trying to cover for being a total dick.

So then he starts explaining that he gave a speech in front of Obama all about his peculiar concept of “love.” One example he gives is:

I also said that those of us with a traditionally biblical view of sexuality are sometimes demonized as bigots, but we must love even those who call us bigots.

Putting aside that this is a misunderstanding of the Bible, this is a common tactic of prejudiced people — draw a false equivalency between “trying to outlaw people’s very humanity” with “telling me I’m wrong for trying to outlaw people’s very humanity.” Metaxas, who fancies himself open-minded because he’s written books about how white Christians tried to help blacks AND Jews, should recognize that this sentence is the equivalent of saying, “people say owning slaves makes me a bigot, but really YOU’RE the bigot for telling me I shouldn’t own slaves.” And that doesn’t even require Metaxas to view gay rights on par with racism…it only requires him realizing that it’s complete bullshit to say, “calling out prejudices is the real prejudice.”

But the reason I’m writing now is that during the past election I was disappointed to see the president’s campaign utterly abandoning these ideals of treating your opponents as you yourself would wish to be treated.

So after detailing that President Obama’s supporters were bigots, he’s disappointed that Obama ran a campaign. Well, let’s see exactly what he’s annoyed with.

Good people with principled and profound convictions about when life begins were cynically demonized as “enemies of women.”

He's just misunderstood...

He’s just misunderstood…

Look, the whole “war on women” line was an empty buzzword used for a campaign, but Metaxas is less irritated with the hyperbole than he is that someone would deign to criticize Richard Mourdock for proposing that he should be a legislator so he could ensure that raped women fulfill God’s will. Metaxas seems to think that argument is a violation of God’s will. Perhaps he should re-read his Bible because Jesus didn’t look at the money-changers and say, “you know, I can’t tell you that you’re wrong because that would be disrespectful.” Now Metaxas may reply that he just objects to over-the-top epithets like, “enemies of women,” but then he might want to read a little further in Matthew when Jesus labels a currency exchange as a “den of thieves.”

Americans who had worked hard to build businesses, and who had given millions to charity and to the government, were denounced as fat-cats who weren’t “paying their fair share” and whose wealth was ill-gotten gain.

Don’t remember anyone saying their wealth was “ill-gotten.” I do remember hearing that wealthy people paying lower rates than the rest of the country should pay a little more. That seems like a policy dispute rather than incivility. It’s also hard to have a lack of civility when a lot of the business builders they’re talking about are all for the policy.

These scorched-earth tactics were not presidential…

“Scorched-earth” eh? How is this opinion piece even masquerading as fair when it rips Obama and implies that Romney (or any Republican) never sunk to a dishonorable tactic all campaign. Romney earned the “lie of the year” for blaming Obama for Jeeps being built in China…when they aren’t for heaven’s sake. Is lying not a much more direct sinful act? Weren’t there some Commandments about that? But by never mentioning the other side, Metaxas implies that Obama acted alone, at least as Metaxas understands “love and civility.”

…much less Christian, and because the president openly professes a Christian faith, I feel I must speak about this.

THERE IT IS! Obama’s a secret Muslim. Well played, Eric.

For one thing, our children are watching and listening. We tell them it’s less important who wins or loses than how we play the game. Is there no truth to this at all? Do we not see that this behavior erodes faith in the very political process and in democracy itself? Do we not see that by doing this we encourage our opponents to do the same – and worse – the next time around?  Shouldn’t we care about that?

Then maybe Metaxas should aim his ire at the campaign whose top surrogate used every opportunity to slander the President to score cheap points with racist conspiracy nuts.

If he is to succeed in the tremendous challenges that lay ahead, he must repent of these tactics and must make amends with his opponents, if it’s not too late.  Or else he will face gridlock and more gridlock.

I saw the movie Metaxas is pitching last term. Obama seeking bipartisan cooperation and I remember some gridlock.

But that’s because I’m taking this article seriously, and I shouldn’t. Metaxas isn’t pitching a solution to gridlock, he’s tossing vitriol and closing it off with an obligatory, “with all due respect.”

Leave a Reply