Liberals are tarred on a daily basis as anti-religious. Those doing the tarring are generally conservatives, since the liberal religious actually spend time with liberals who aren't religious and know that they aren't bands of raving, hostile atheists.
I'm not particularly religious, though I used to be. And I harbor a deep respect for people of faith who live that faith. But I harbor antipathy for those who wear their faith as a cloak, as a get out of
jail hell free card, as a trump card that's supposed to make a person's other qualities (like ethical lapses) irrelevant.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) chooses "faith as a trump card" when he makes this comment about DeLay's continued ability to strong arm the Republicans in the House into supporting unpopular legislation.
"It's not popular to say, but one reason is that he knows Jesus personally. When the chips are down, you usually start looking up."
I read this and grimaced. Not only because it ignores DeLay's sins, which in my opinion includes abuse of power. I also grimaced because it's fundamentally arrogant to say that someone knows God personally.
Yes, I know he means that DeLay has "accepted Jesus as his personal savior". But that's not what he said. And it annoys me. It's like those Christians who say "Jesus is my best buddy". To me, it reduces the majesty and mystery of God, of God as man, of the resurrected Christ.
And it's bad theology. Christianity isn't a deal with God where you promise to follow Him, to accept Jesus as the savior, and God promises you a good life. There's no deal here, no promise that your faith will be rewarded with anything but the comfort of being loved by God and the promise of heaven. There's certainly no promise of temporal success. Instead, we're all promised that "rain will fall on the just and unjust", that we should "bless those that persecute you". Not that we'll get what we want.
I would have an easier time respecting the faith of these political leaders and their friends if they didn't beat me over the head with it, respond to criticism as though they've been truly persecuted, if they didn't act as though their faith was the equivalent of a secret password that gives them access to the halls of power and worldly success. And I'd respect it more if they actually held each other accountable to living up to the precepts of their religion:
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2)
Bless those that persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Not minding the high things, but associating with the humble. Do not become wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil; providing that which is good before all men. If possible, as much as depends on you, keeping peace with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy should hunger, feed him; if he should thirst, give him drink; for by doing this, you will heap coals of fire upon his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12)
That's not quite aligned with the "wanted dead or alive" or "hunt them down and kill them" . And the "knowing Jesus personally" just isn't enough.