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January 10, 2008

Return to the Mind of a Huckabee Supporter

When last we left him, Joe Carter was spinning Huckabee as the One, True Conservative in the presidential contest. I objected, pointing out the key issues on which Huckabee is not conservative.

But as I wrote then, I'm not just interested in seeing Huckabee defeated for his faux-conservatism. I'm genuinely curious about what his supporters are thinking. Happily, Carter has started a new, "infrequent" series in which he explores "the contours of conservatism."

I'm already underwhelmed. Some of it is pretty standard and I don't disagree with it. Some of it I simply do not understand. And then there are the parts that I find downright disturbing.

His first installment is instructive. While I agree, generally, that the family is an important component of our society, he elevates it beyond the rational (more on this later). Before he even gets there, however, he makes this curious statement:

I believe that while ultimate sovereignty belongs to God alone, He delegates authority throughout society to various institutional structures (i.e., churches, businesses, the state, etc.). Naturally, these institutions are not immune to the effects of sin or human depravity but they still retain the legitimate authority given to them by our Creator.

Have Christians really adopted this post-modern version of the Divine Right of Kings? I'm astounded to discover that he believes that churches and states have a "legitimate authority" from God to conduct their affairs. The entire American experience is predicated on the belief that the authority of our state is derived from its people. I wonder if this disconnect between Carter's belief in divinely delegated authority and this simplest facet of American democracy is the point at which we become so foreign as to be incomprehensible to each other.

As a Catholic, I agree that the Church possesses delegated authority from God. But I have sound biblical and apostolic tradition backing me up on that point. On the other hand, I am just flabbergasted to discover that Carter thinks that businesses have delegated authority from God to go about their affairs.

Here again, I thought that economic activity was a "bottom-up" affair, with concepts like legitimacy, success, and failure derived from the activities of the participants. How unusual, how medieval, to think that God delegates "authority" in the business world.

To be honest, I'm not even sure what "authority" means in that context, and I'm sure that's keeping me from getting Carter's point. He cannot really mean that God delegated to Donald Trump the authority to be a successful jerkface, can he? Wal-mart as the divinely legitimate authority on bargain prices? I don't think so.

I know we have evangelical Christian morons here, so you folks get back to me. If you put some knowledge to me, you'll get full credit for it in my next post on the topic. And there's plenty more to discuss, especially Carter's conservative creed, but I've got to run to a meeting now. More later.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:38 PM

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