Jeb Bush Accuses Sheldon Adelson of Lacking Moral Fiber. Or of Being a Closet Christian. (Not sure which, but it’s one or the other.) — [UPDATED]

Jeb Bush’s graduation address last Saturday at Liberty University is absolutely breathtaking, and I’m betting that it will backfire significantly.  Whatever the religious views of the likes of the Koch brothers, those folks surely will recognize that a candidate who throws down the Christian-moral-superiority gauntlet and accuses non-Christians of lacking a moral compass, or of borrowing one from Christians, is unlikely to appeal to a majority of voters in a presidential election.  And that anyone so brazenly craven as to invite religious strife in this country in an attempt to garner his party’s nomination for president will trigger revulsion in a substantial percentage of the public.

So beyond the pale are his comments that they disqualify him as a potential commander in chief. This guy’s dangerously lacking in the judgment and temperament required for the job.

Anyway, Marco Rubio must be smiling about it all.  Bush just lost the Jewish Republican vote, in Florida and elsewhere.

What a vile candidate.


UPDATE: Reader Jack and I exchanged the following comments in the comments thread to this post today:

  Jack

May 13, 2015 12:25 pm

“No place where the message reaches, no heart that it touches, is ever the same again. And across our own civilization, what a radically different story history would tell without it. Consider a whole alternative universe of power without restraint, conflict without reconciliation, oppression without deliverance, corruption without reformation, tragedy without renewal, achievement without grace, and it’s all just a glimpse of human experience without the Christian influence.”

I’m curious to ask where exactly is it that this “whole alternative universe” is located? Has Jeb not noticed that the past two thousand years or so have seen a persistent and constant series of the worst examples of man’s inhumanity to man in spite of the existence of organized religion, both Christian and otherwise? And does the name Torquemada ring a bell from the past? What part of human history demonstrates that organized religion of any form serves to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

  Beverly Mann

May 13, 2015 1:38 pm

What part of human history demonstrates that organized religion of any form serves to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Modern political history, Jack! Notably, the part about obsessively trying to keep many millions of Americans who have or had no access to medical care from having, or now that they final do have it, keeping it. And the part about barring people (including kids) on public aid from paying for admission to a swimming pool or movie theater, and people on food stamps from using the program to buy seafood or steak.

Then, of course, there’s that matter of police officers arresting people for being black, and maybe giving some of them “rough rides” in the backs of police vans while shackled and leg-ironed. And arresting kids, shackling and leg-ironing them, and sentencing them to prison for school fights or petty shoplifting. And of course there’s also that little matter of funding your town’s and county’s government with obscene fines and court fees for minor traffic violations.

And then there are those state and local government contacts with private prison companies in which the government agrees to keep each of the prisons full or mostly full and to pay the company as though operating the prisons at full capacity even if, heaven forbid (pun intended), a prison here or there is not quite at full capacity. (THIS is something that I didn’t know about until I read a jaw-dropping article about it a few days ago.)

So, obviously, Jack, you’re just unaware of modern American history and the role that Christian values play in it.

In the speech, Bush attempts a remarkably obvious sleight of hand, conflating Christianity’s precepts of compassion—e.g., “The last shall be first, and the first last”; “‘unalloyed compassion, such genuine love, such thorough altruism,’ as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described Christianity.”—with actions that are unrelated to compassion and are claimed as the free exercise of religion.  Such as—and Bush does make clear that he has these specifically in mind—the claimed right of people who own secular businesses to discriminate at will by invoking some supposed dictate in the bible, or invoking religious dogma as an excuse by a secular corporation’s shareholders to exempt itself from a mandate of law.

I have not read or listened to the speech, and took those quotes in that preceding paragraph from a column by Kathleen Parker in today’s Washington Post, which is titled “Jeb Bush’s eloquent defense of Christianity.”  Presumably, then, Parker knows of instances in which Christianity is being attacked by liberals as too compassionate—as just going toofar with that “the last shall be first, and the first last” thing. In which event I respectfully ask that she specify what, exactly, she has in mind.

Bush doesn’t defend Christianity, much less does he do so eloquently. He erects an elaborate strawman.  He accuses non-Christians and non-religious Christians of attacking Christian tenets of compassion, in the service of advancing both his own political ambitions and an obscenely uncompassionate political ideology; an aggressive lack of compassion is its very hallmark.  There is indeed an attack an attack underway by a segment of America against unalloyed compassion, and altruism, and in fact any semblance of human decency.  But it’s not non-Christians and non-practicing Christians, nor liberals, who are at its vanguard.  And, seriously, there probably aren’t very many people who will be fooled about that.

Bush is currently in the speedy process of exposing himself for the ridiculous idiot that he is, and the so-called establishment Republican kingmakers (billionaire donors, of course) soon will be on the hunt once again for a new hope.  The Kochs will prop up some new puppet and hope that New Hampshire cooperates.  Maybe it will.  And maybe the candidate will avoid insulting the character of many Americans and the intelligence of most Americans.