Scott Walker: A Bad Christian?


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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a bad Christian for standing up to government unions, according to the Religious Left.

Religious Left author Diana Butler Bass, writing for The Huffington Post, is the most explicit in faulting Walker’s ostensibly simplistic evangelical beliefs.  Butler revealed that Walker belongs to a nondenominational church with “boilerplate” evangelical theology about sin and salvation, with apparently none of the statist political demands that the Religious Left believes are more central to faith.

Bass derisively described Walker’s one-time testimony to Christian businessmen in which he shared the Gospel story of the Apostle Peter sinking into the water because of doubt.  She also mocked his favorite hymn of “Trust and Obey.” According to Bass’ breathless analysis, Walker believes only in blind “obedience,” just like the terrifying “evangelical spirituality” of George W. Bush, which resulted in two wars.  “In this theological universe, hard-headedness is a virtue, compromise is the work of the Devil, and anything that works to accomplish God’s plan is considered ethically justifiable,” Bass explained.  Walker is listening only to Jesus and ignoring the wise spiritual voices on the Religious Left he should heed, Bass fretted. “Jesus speaking directly to him,” she alleged.  “God, evidently, has directed him on his current path.”  And not just Jesus, but also Libertarian philanthropist David Koch,” Bass sarcastically quipped.

Since Walker is not under the “authority” of a church defending the government labor unions, he has no “moral culpability in this situation,” Bass discerned.  “And this is why Scott Walker’s religion is actually dangerous in the public square,” she warned.  “Because it lacks the ability to compromise, it is profoundly anti-democratic.”

Anti-Catholic bigots once argued that Catholics had no place in American democracy because Catholics were beholden to their church’s “authority.” Now Bass, a liberal Episcopalian, insists it is independent evangelicals who are dangerous to democracy because they have no church authority directing them politically.  This argument represents a new, different sort of bigotry. “Many faith traditions actually possess deep spiritual resources that allow them to participate in pluralistic, democratic, and creative political change,” Bass concluded.  But not independent, evangelical faith, whose practitioners evidently should be excluded or at least distrusted. “’Trust and Obey’” is not the best way to govern a state,” she opined.

The spiritually authoritative voices that the Governor should “obey,” as Bass would insist, are the United Methodist, Episcopal, and Evangelical Lutheran bishops in Wisconsin. The Lutheran bishop has urged the Wisconsin State Legislature to: “[A]ct with compassion and find solutions to the budget deficit bill that would not eliminate workers’ rights and medical care for the most vulnerable.”  The United Methodist bishop told Governor Walker:  “Because of my belief that far more is accomplished for the best interests of all those we serve when employers and employees work together, I am writing to ask you to reconsider your initiative which I believe would end the possibility for those who are government employees here in Wisconsin to negotiate settlement of labor and management disagreements.”  The Episcopal bishop noted:  “We have also seen democracy at work in Wisconsin as thousands gathered in Madison in response to the Governor’s Budget Bill. Regardless of our individual positions on the bill before the Legislature and what steps are necessary to build a stronger and better Wisconsin, I believe we can all agree that our baptismal vow to ‘respect the dignity of every human being’ is not served by a majority simply pushing through legislation because they have the votes necessary to do so.”   The local Presbytery urged “Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s other elected representatives to enter into good-faith negotiations with Wisconsin’s public employee unions to deal with Wisconsin’s current budget issues and to respect the rights of all workers to collectively bargain for wages and benefits.”  And the local United Church of Christ official warned:  “The right to negotiate is at the core of Wisconsin’s history, and tough economic times are not a moment to turn away from these essential rights that provide for fair and just decision-making.”

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    The tone of the Left is growing ever-more hysterical as the battle for fiscal sanity progresses. And just as the Obama agenda galvanized the birth and growth of the Tea-Party movement, should Walker, like-minded Governors, and a future US President succeed in drastically curtailing spending entitlements, we'll witness a corollary galvanization of the Left (we're seeing it already). But unlike the Tea-Party, anticipate at least a faction of this newly galvanized Left to emulate Leftists of old and engage in organized violence.

    One tack might be the mob violence and vandalism of the anti-globalist movement. Another may be the terrorism reminiscent of the Weather Underground and the Black Panthers. And surely count on the mainstream Left decrying the violence on the one hand…and rationalizing it on the other, ala the same "what do you expect of people who have nothing else to lose" argument they use to justify Islamic terror.

    IF we (Republicans) win, it's going to get increasingly ugly, folks. But over time, the new reality will hopefully effect a cultural transformation…and the meritocratic work ethic will be restored in America, giving us the chance to be a great country once again. Conversely, if we cave…or the electorate grows weary and betrays us in 2012 and beyond, the status-quo will be maintained and America's slide into bankruptcy will become inexorable.

    • Jim_C

      You want to talk about tone, if things keep up the way they've been in terms of conservatives showing their true attitudes toward their neighbors, look for the electorate to "betray us" in 2012.

      (Framing a democratic election as a "betrayal," by the way, is a sure fire way to keep it up).

      I'm not sure who Republicans run that isn't either stupid/crazy/self-destructive in the Palin mold or deadly dull (whoever the GOP governor "hero" this week is). But all things being equal it comes down to jobs. If people start going back to work, Obama gets re-elected. If they don't, voters may blame him. So the proper conservative attitude would be to hope job growth continues to stagnate.

      • Chezwick_Mac

        "(Framing a democratic election as a "betrayal," by the way, is a sure fire way to keep it up)."

        Not at all. There is no law in the universe saying an electoral majority is innately "right"…just look at the folly exercised by the American public in the last presidential election. The betrayal – if it comes – will be one of flight from the awareness and responsibility the public showed in the recent mid-terms. It will be a message of incongruity and selfishness: 'We acknowledge the imperative of getting our fiscal house in order, but when the Republicans actually started making the hard decisions, they lost us.'

        Hopefully, it won't come to this.

        As for your final paragraph, I too am concerned about the quality of the personality Republicans nominate to represent us in the presidential election. And while I acknowledge that job-growth is important, I disagree that it is EVERYTHING. Furthermore, if Republicans play – or are successfully painted by the mainstream media as playing – a deliberately obstructive role in the attempt to revive the economy, they will pay a price at the polls.

        Personally, I think we're headed for a double-dip recession. Oil prices alone are sapping Western growth prospects. But beyond that, Greenspan just promulgated yesterday that Obama's hyper-regulation and interventionism into the economy is putting a damper on business confidence and choking off the plans of many businesses to expand. The proverbial chickens are coming home to roost.

        • Jim_C

          Good post. It's true job growth isn't the be-all end all. But getting people back to work should have been Obama's message from Day 1. He wanted to get health care out of the way (which I understand, but….) You may be right about the double dip, and that won't be good for any incumbent, whether we're talking the Dem Exec or the GOP congress. I understand Greenspan's point about the fast pace of regulation in the financial sector but these things are needed. Obama has been pretty thoughtful about rethinking regulation regarding the business community though.

          • Chezwick_Mac

            JIM: "…getting people back to work should have been Obama's message from Day 1"

            RESPONSE: Couldn't agree more.

            JIM: "You may be right about the double dip, and that won't be good for any incumbent, whether we're talking the Dem Exec or the GOP congress."

            RESPONSE: I think the Dems have more ownership of the economy now and should the double-dip occur, they'll be hurt more…(again, excepting the PERCEPTION, real or invented, that the Republicans are being obstructionists).

            JIM: "I understand Greenspan's point about the fast pace of regulation in the financial sector but these things are needed."

            RESPONSE: A matter of opinion. Certainly SOME regulation is not only needed, but must be vigorously enforced. How much is the million dollar question. Excessive regulation of business and industry can be stultifying.

            JIM: "Obama has been pretty thoughtful about rethinking regulation regarding the business community though."

            RESPONSE: I disagree. He's paid lip-service in this regard, but little more. His first term could hardly be characterized as 'business-friendly'.

            I appreciate your input and welcome a reasonable voice from the other side of the isle. I'm curious though, why FPM, considering the gulf between its ideological content and your own leanings? I would think you'd feel much more at home commenting at a liberal blog (though I'm in no way implying we wouldn't value your input here and I hope you'll continue posting….I'm just curious).

          • Jim_C

            Rather pit myself against the other side. I also harbor a few conservative bones in my body, mostly concerning defense (I'm hawkish–though we need to get out of the ME yesterday) and maybe to some degree, economics. And there is nothing better than learning something from someone who you disagree with. Actually started here years ago because I was curious about David Horowitz. Radical Son is a great book. There's an awful lot of wackos here so that sort of tickles my curiosity. I have a begrudging admiration for the way you guys "play" politics–much saavier than my crowd.

    • Phil

      Open your eyes, its already ugly. You Republicans/Tea Party/Evangelicals are all a bunch of hypocrites. You say one thing, believe another and then rationalize it all through G-d’s will. How convenient.

      Take the Newt, born again Christian, divorced twice, from first wife while in hospital with cancer, is now on his third. He has seen the light and all is well.

      Huckabee, release a prisoner because the prisoner said, “He found G-d. Never researched case, but if he was found, then he is no longer lost, only 4 policemen lost their lives because of his belief in G-d and the power of religion to conform a man.

      $50,000 for a family of 4 is too much if you are a teacher, $250,000 is not enough for a family of 2 to raise the tax?

      Republicans feels the cost of heal care is increasing because of the health care law and gas is increasing because Obama is pushing for greater EPA and green technology.
      Well most of the health care law has not been enacted.
      Have they bothered to see what is going on in the Middle East and Northern Africa?

      Too much religion and not enough logic.

  • HDThoreau

    These communists are insane. Fire them all.

    • Pall Leosson

      Save us from the socialists and left-liberal Godless moonbats. And Saint Benedict pray for our protection from the Evil One.

  • davarino

    Bass and those like her are infiltrators and collaborators. They are hardly religious, they are wolves in sheeps clothing. Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal churches are being taken over by pretenders.

  • ronb

    Perhaps one thing we might be able to get the religious left to agree on would be the immorality of incest. Once understood, if there is a will for such a thing, it becomes clear that the relationship between public unions and the politicians with whom they negotiate contracts is clearly "incestuous". Case closed!

  • georgepwood

    Diana Butler Bass signed Jim Wallis's "A Covenant for Civlity" (http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=action.display&item=100308-civility-covenant).

    • Rifleman

      Not surprised, but thanks for the info.

  • USMCSniper

    THese leftists are Altruists who hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: “No.” Altruism says: “Yes.”

  • The Joke's On You

    A bad Christian? I don't think he's a Christian at all. Just another rightwinger hiding behind its banner of respectability. No real Christian would threaten to take away the livelihood of 1500 state workers if he didn't get his way right now. No real Christian would brag about a baseball bat he keeps with his name on it. No real Christian would refuse to speak to workers, but break a leg instead in a rush to speak with a billionaire. No real Christian would consider planting agitators in a crowd of demonstrators.

    And no real Christian would be defending this fake Christian, either.

    • Lee Poteet

      Since he is out after destroying the power of the thugs, and that is precisely what public employee unions are, he is probably a much better Christian than all of those Religious leftists whose gospel is taken from St. Marx rather than from St Mark. The persons taking away the livlihood of 1500 state workers are the Democrat senators who have fled the state rather than do the work they were elected to do. It is Walker who has attempted to keep these people employed albeit under conditions which imply that the rest of the community has rights equal to theirs.

      The criminal demonstrators did over seven million dollars worth of damage to the capital and that should come out of the wages of the union workers before they get another dime. Did I say "workers?" My mistake. My won experience is that most of those people simply don't work and won't which is why so many of them seem to be required.

      • The Joke's On You

        Teachers and social workers and firefighters and administrative personnel and street cleaners are not "thugs."

        "Thugs" are people who are hired to disrupt real protests. And for that matter, the people who hire them. As in, your hero Walker is a thug who considered hiring thugs.

        Also, the damage to the capitol lie was debunked days ago. Try to keep up.

  • Deacon Jim Stagg

    My! My! We certainly leap at the prospect of judging another’s soul, don’t we? Especially when our political feathers get ruffled.

    Shame on you who refuse to give this man his opportunity to do justice for taxpayers! Shame on you who think it proper to feed at the public trough! Shame on you who question his motives without looking for the “common good”. Shame on you who broker children’s future for money-in-hand.

    God BLESS America! God BLESS those who strive to work for equitable balance! God BLESS those who have to endure this sort of persecution!

  • Jim_C

    This Bass sounds like kind of a knucklehead. I'm not a fan of the "Who's a real Christian" game. People say Obama's not a "real Christian;" I don't know, but he's at least as Christian as Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, and that works for me. This is politics and Walker is doing exactly what he was sent by his donors to do. I just don't see how he wins this one (at least without compromising), but it will be extremely interesting.

    • JaneEire

      He is doing what the VOTERS sent him to do!

  • Voltimand

    Ideology = flight from reality.

    Wisconsin is 3.6 billion in debt due to democratic-produced economic illiteracy. The money isn't there, ergo need for drastic cuts. As a Wisconsin taxpayer I'm amused at the pontifications in the article and from the lib-trolls on this thread. The cuts in state employees is part of a budget-salvaging program that is it not an option. The fact that the protesters in Madison apparently can't grasp this simple economic fact is testimony to their light-weight mentalities. As for the public unions, Michael Barone's and Charles Krauthammer's outing of the union-democratic party scam of Wisconsin's taxpayers 'money is another in-your-face-fact that both the lefty protesters and the present commentators apparently can't seem to get their minds around. What's left is the truly mind-blowing liaison between economically-challenged union goons and morally-posturing liberal intellectuals. You want to live politically with such trash, be my guest. But Walker got a significant majority of the vote and that constituency–always slow to move and always in the end slow to give up–has yet to be significantly heard from, though local Wisconsin news outlets are by now hearing a level of voter outrage against the union-democratic party cartel unlike anything I've ever witnessed in Wisconsin for half a century.

  • The Joke's On You

    Voltimand: "Wisconsin is 3.6 billion in debt due to democratic-produced economic illiteracy."

    It is comments like this that are exactly why no "banker" will go to jail for betting on crappy housing loans. Rightwingers can't even remember that just two short years ago, we and a lot of other countries "had" to bailout banks all over the world because they gambled their capital away on what should have been outlawed bets.

    I doubt any rightwinger is still following what I"m saying, but my point is that these psychopaths derailed our economy which drastically cut state revenue. Thus, state budget shortfalls.

    But you keep blaming teachers if it makes you feel better.

    • Lee Poteet

      Our economy bottomed out because of the policy of the Democrats in Congress who forced banks into giving housing loans to those who would never have the ability to pay them off. It wasn't the bankers, although most of them are stupid enough to support the left and Obama. It was the anti-capitalist mentality of the Democrat Party and their goons that did us all in while the "bailout" was actually simply another way of paying off the usual suspects, the union thugs who used public money to bankroll Obama's campaign.

    • JaneEire

      Look into the "creative" accounting of WI's previous governor, Democrat Jim Doyle. He shuffled things around and played games for years. Walker is trying to get us back on track.

  • Voltimand

    "I doubt any rightwinger is still following what I"m saying, but my point is that these psychopaths derailed our economy which drastically cut state revenue. Thus, state budget shortfalls"

    So the purpose of "our economy" is to support "state revenue"? I follow you quite well, and so would a majority of Wisconsin voters who voted for Walker. It is precisely that notion that these voters rejected. Your condescension is intended to be cutting, but it simply ends up being irrelevant. If a majority of voters decide to keep their money as their private property, then they will vote for people who are willing to let them keep their money as their private property. You may not approve, but who the hell are you? Such decisions by way of majority voting are known as democracy. The trouble with such democracy is, apparently for you, that it doesn't allow state confiscation of private property. The trouble with "leftwingers" like you is that you are not-so-cryptic state fascists. This country has fought wars to avoid being controlled by people who think like you,

    • The Joke's On You

      Les, no one forced mortgage brokers to give out loans, and no one forced the banks to create derivatives out of these loans. Please try and remember that the housing boom really gathered momentum and peaked under Bush and (until 2006, a largely Republican controlled legislature.)

      Voldimer, we're talking about why there is a shortfall in state revenue. Not the purpose of state revenue.

  • http://www.lisastewartlaw.com High Point

    I can't say what is in his Walker's, but I've not seen anything that would cause me to doubt his faith or the sincerity of his convictions.

  • http://www.lisastewartlaw.com High Point

    Sorry. Long day.

    *I can't say what is in Walker's heart.

  • Lee Poteet

    I used to believe that the Episcopal Church was the center of all good, but it has become the new center of evil and perversion in the last forty years. The Episcopal bishop quoted should be asked just when as the Episcopal Church treated those who found themselves no longer able to share its disregard for historic biblical Anglicanism with the respect which he asked for the leftist thugs in the unions and the Democrat party? The same should be asked of the Methodists and the Lutherans as well.

    Since Bass has been identified as an Episcopalian I can well understand the origin of her idiocy.

  • sodizzy

    One of the saddest things to me has been to watch the commie rat fink pinkos take over the formerly quiet and sublime Christian churches with their liberation theology.

    The way to tell is Are they shaming people into action, or do they teach the gospel from the inside out, as Jesus fought for and gave us? If there is shame and blame, then I do not believe it is of God.

    He came to lift us and encourage us so we could prosper and naturally take care of those less fortunate.

  • sodizzy

    Excellent article by Mr. Tooley.

  • John H.

    I'm amused by "Christians" who's only answer to economic hardship is to wish that hardship on others. The Right is invariably punative by nature. You just love to punish other folks. Dare I say, it appears to get you off. Most of you are the ones who voted to reinstate the death penalty in Wisconsin, I'd wager.

    How you folks who claim to love the giving nature of Jesus more than anyone else expect to benefit from taking money and rights from 300,000 fellow citizens that you rely on every single day is beyond me.

    I keep hearing about this unholy alliance between unions and the Democratic party. It's true, there is an alliance. But it's entirely transparent and every single dollar is accountable with an open-records request. Can the same be said about the billions of corporate dollars that flow into the Republicans campaign coffers? No it can not.

  • John H.

    As an atheist, I have no use for Jesus. I am also a pubic employee. It might shock you to learn that despite being a hellbound slob, I work very hard every single day and I love my job. I love taking care of my fellow Wisconsinites. I put a great deal of effort into streamlining my day so that the taxpayers get the most for their dollars. I strive to avoid waste and I do my best to get by on the resources I have.

    Most of you people have no idea what public employees do or how hard we work or for what amount of money. You just know that we get certain benefits that some of you have to pay for. It matters not to you that those benefits are only part of the total compensation package. And it matters not that the total compensation I receive is anywhere from 18-25% LESS than a comparable private sector employee (I have a bachelor's degree…check out the Economic Policy Institute's survey for that figure).

  • John H.

    Scott Walker and the Tea Party have lost this war. Complain all you want, but the values he represents are not Wisconsin values. He overreached and in 20 years, he'll be sharing the same pages in the history books as other political stains like Joseph McCarthy. If what Scott Walker has been spouting the last 2 months seem like good ideas to you, I suggest you move about 1000 miles south where the intelligence level is more on par with yours.

  • Paolo Pagliaro

    @John H.,
    writing from Italy, what I gather about your intelligence – as distinct from the southern troglodytes’ – is that when you disagree with someone, you have to frame him as a monster. This is also the case with many on the opposite side, of course, still it’s the worst in the political life.

    Your reference to “McCarthy” seems, to me, more apt to describe your side’s style in demonizing the Koch brother or Gov. Walker himself as a Nazi.

  • socal

    I don,t have any clue what Wisconsin VALUES are, but whatever they are, they have managed to put your state in the RED! Perhaps ,Mr Hellbound Slob you think you work harder than those in the private sector who are also trying to make ends meet and plan for retirement!! I suppose your Wisconsin values suggest that your fellow Godless lefties make up the shortfall on the backs of the private sector. That constitutes Stealing!! If theft is part of your Wisconsin Values STAY THERE!! Don't infect the rest of the nation with them.

    • Jim_C

      I do think it's unfortunate that this has to be seen as a "private sector vs public sector" thing. Nobody should kid themselves that we don't need both.

      At issue is essentially the ability to make adjustments to state employee pensions–something that NEEDS to happen one way or another, but also something Walker engineered himself by cutting taxes. Now if Walker compromises, he takes a short term hit for long term gain and I think becomes a model for republican governance. If he does not compromise, he takes a pyrrhic victory and will indeed become infamous and despised. That probably won't matter, because he'll be well-compensated by his donors.

  • joe

    What does this say about christians who have a quiet faith and follow no church rules? Are they anarchists who should be forced into organized religion?

  • Bruce427

    I have to smile when an Episcopalian offers advice to Governor Walker on "compromise." The Episcopal church's hierarchy has compromised on so many essential Biblical doctrines that they are now, essentially, a secular religious organization. They have lost about 40% of their membership over the past several decades (down from about 3.5 to about 2 million, and the loss seems to be accelerating). Episcopal Bishop Katharine Schori (with head in the sand) attributes the decline to, "Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at a lower rate than some other denominations" — when the truth is, there is scant difference between the Episcopal church and the political far-Left. Furthermore, Schori's comment begs the question: even if your members are not reproducing, are you not making converts? Rather than "abiding in the true vine" (Christ), the Episcopal "church" is dying on the vine.

    • Brian

      Bruce, the reality is that EVERY U.S. church is in decline. A few have shown small gains in the past year, but that is the exception. The hard reality is not a left vs. right argument, but rather, as I phrase it, a outward or inward view. Evangelicals, ( and unfortunately many mainliners ) for all their "family values" and cries that the country is going to hell in a hand-basket, look only inward. Programs for those that are the in-crowd. Progressives, from all areas of the Christian church, look out. Progressive are not focused on another damned make your marriage good program. Progressive look to changing the root reason society is fracturing in the first place. It means confronting those individuals, organizations, and laws that favor the rich, that favor destruction of the environment for short term wealth to a few, confronting societal blindness to the poor, the ill, the immigrant. Being a progressive means sticking your neck in the noose, under the guillotine, or walking to a cross.

  • Brian

    Historical Christianity was not defined by "belief" ( intellectual assertions ) but rather an allegiance to a way of life as advocated by Jesus of Nazareth. The first and foremost principle of this way is justice, especially for the down trodden, the poor, the marginalized, the orphan, the widow, and the immigrant. Walker's history (Baptist and now non-denominational-translate-Baptist without the courage to claim it ) have unfortunately long ignored this teaching and sadly, have virtually always been on the wrong side of justice and history.

  • guest

    God and religion should have no part in politics – morality does not come from relgion. I have seen and read about more abuse/deception from religious people especially when it comes to power, control or money issues. Nonbelievers, such as myself and my family are generous and giving of our time and money to help others, no religion needed.

  • J Guentner

    Union busting according to the Catholic Church is a mortal son.

  • J Guentner

    Excuse me, I mean mortal sin.