We need a Pharisee Purge, in the church, and the public square
Picture a man—let’s call him Jeff—who toils, cleaning up after the abortion industry, clearing away its human carnage. Jeff makes a fortune quietly disposing of babies, or selling their parts. His human resources department profiles employees who can sweep up arms, legs, and little faces into canisters, as though they were cleaning up a deli counter. Human beings, to these people, are something like sliced tomatoes. Jeff needs soul-dead techno-temps who can be counted on not to take pictures, or publicize the holocaust. In the modern world, this is as close as we might reasonably come to Molech worship or Aztec temple sacrifice. It’s a huge, bloody, daily mess made clean with sanitizer and incinerators.
But Jeff compartmentalizes. His wingtips bear no blood when he goes to church. He wears starched shirts to work and smells nice. In his daily life Jeff is an absolute gentleman. He would never grope a female staff member, never tell an off-color joke. Politically, he is scrupulous in his bipartisan sensibilities. He’s meek and mild and makes a very fine Sunday School Teacher. He’s established a tradition of doing the dishes for his wife.
Picture another guy—let’s call him Don—who likes to talk. He makes deals. He defends himself when wronged. Some people even think he’s surly and childish at times. Don appreciates beautiful women. You might see him at a beauty pageant or a prize fight. He’s on his third marriage. He’s declared bankruptcy a few times, and he’s built a rather sizable empire, and Don has more than a few enemies. Don is not without principle though–he loves his country, and the ideas that made his country great. Don is fairly simple: he likes things that actually work; he operates on the basis of simple optimism. He wakes up every morning more or less confident he can make the sale, and that everybody will benefit from that sale.
When fatherhood caught Don by surprise, he came to appreciate how ugly abortion really is, and he changed his mind about it.
Jeff sanitizes baby killing everyday, but his cuff links are polished and he would never say a mean thing about anybody. Don can be insulting, but he’s got your back.
About fifteen months ago, I wrote a blog called Donald Trump and the Pharisees. It’s been read and shared more than 1.5 million times. Erick Erickson of RedState and The Resurgent ridiculed me for it and Richard Painter, George W Bush’s ethics attorney at the White House identified it as a “Jesus Play Book” for Donald Trump.
I haven’t changed my basic conclusion. Both many American conservatives in the #NeverTrump category, and of course many liberals, value appearances over conviction. If they were facing the third Reich, today, they would choose Orrin Hatch over General Patton. These are the sort of people who glowed about George W Bush never responding to his critics, as though there were something “Christ like” about allowing falsehood to go uncontested. These are the sort of people who cringe whenever Donald Trump bitch-slaps an enemy on Twitter. In their value system “being presidential” is far more important than “being truthful.” Words simply can’t convey my utter contempt for the Max Lucados of the world (the “Jeffs”) who enable baby killing and Islamic butchery and wince at a few uncouth words on Twitter. They are the very picture of men who choke on gnats and swallow camels without so much as chewing.
A friend emailed me this morning: Jeff Flake and Mitch McConnell continue to lament the senate candidacy of Roy Moore. They continue to trot out four decade old rants that continue to be discredited with each passing week. According to Flake, “If the choice was between Roy Moore and a Democrat, I would vote for the Democrat if I lived in Alabama.”
Jeff would rather have a baby killer in office than a bold, if flawed, Christian, and he has lots of company all around the swamp.
That should tell you something about both their political principles, and their faith. Jeff Flake, like his friends, is a spiritual corpse, walking around in a highly polished coffin.