I spent a good deal of yesterday chastising myself for thinking about the politics of the Boston Marathon bombing. The human tragedy is is immense. I prayed and I prayed. Not only for the victims and their loved ones, but for myself that I could resist the temptation.
I was not really tempted to “make political hay” of this, but I found myself planning political defenses. I EXPECTED the political opposition to be opportunistic. I was pleasingly shocked when the presidents statement was, at least in words, an apolitical statement of sympathy and resolve. But this president has made so much political hay out of so much tragedy that I could not help but note that his tone and demeanor while delivering those words did not necessarily match them. Therefore, I expect the hay making to begin soon and in earnest. This is after all, the administration that famously holds, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
I then I ran across a piece from Warren Rojas @ Roll Call under the headline:
No Separation of Church and State When Tragedy Strikes
The piece reprints eight tweets from Congressman, some of them famously left wing, calling for prayer in the aftermath of the bombing. There is, of course, no dearth of church-going on the left, they just claim to keep it in “its proper place.” No doubt these Congressmen will claim they were not acting as representatives of the government, but as individuals moved by what they were witnessing – but these were all on Twitter accounts bearing their offices and titles. The old adage about there being no atheists in foxholes comes to mind.
From this there are two important lessons that I think we must make note of right now, if only to preserve them for our future political use. We are swimming in a political sea; I do not think it can be avoided. I do not think we can afford to grant our opposition momentum here.
Lesson 1 – For our political opposition, religion is a target of opportunity, not conviction. This means that they often are not attacking religion, but simply attacking our specific religious convictions, often in an effort to divide us one from the other and gain political advantage. This is bait we swallowed whole in the last election and they reeled us in like catfish. We have got to get smarter.
Lesson 2 – There is room to appeal to all but the most hardcore atheists through religion. But it has to be the right appeal and it has to be sufficiently religiously generic so as to have broad appeal.
I will not go on about this at length – I will return to praying for those directly affected by this heinous act. But I will hold onto these lessons.