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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Joe the Theologian

I realize I’m writing too much about Republican foibles this week, and I also understand that making fun of Joe the Plumber is like shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel. But, sorry, I can’t help but recommend for your reading pleasure an interview with ol’ Joe in none other than Christianity Today, the venerable evangelical publication. It’s a beaut; almost every line is a classic.
Joe’s social policies seem to be based on the idea of peaceful coexistence based on strict segregation: he wants states to determine abortion policy and gay marriage, but allows as how he’d only want to live in a state that bans abortions. And he seems to accept that gay people are “going to do their own thing,” but since they are, after all, “queer,” he doesn’t want them anywhere near his kids. Now you’d think there might be some tension between his concepts of truth and freedom, insofar as he thinks “God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do.” But for Joe, freedom means Christianity, because “the Founding Fathers based the Constitution off of Christian values.” Similarly, his state’s rights view of what should and should not be allowed is based on this insight: “We’ve lost our American history. Every state has ‘In God we trust’ or ‘With God’s help’ in their constitution. God is recognized as, if you will, America’s religion.” That clears it up for me. But probably not for the guy that Joe singles out as an “emerging Christian leader,” one James Dobson.
Now some of Joe’s fans would probably accuse me of sneering elitism in making fun of his pithy thoughts; he is, after all, a regular guy, not some pointy-head with a string of degrees. But I dunno: he’s now a published author, and spends his time trotting around the globe opining on everything in sight. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of plumbing in his life these days. And for that matter, I’ve never noticed him expressing any regrets about being converted into a national celebrity by John McCain, not that he expresses any gratitude either (he’s strictly a Sarah Palin guy these days).
So if Samuel J. Wurzelbacher insists on playing politics and journalism–and now, God help us, even theology–then he’s subject to the same scrutiny and same standards of performance as anybody else.

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