I occasionaly tune in to programs on conservative Christian TV, so I like to think I'm pretty familiar with the various players and themes. But I was surprised to read this in yesterday's Wash Post Style section on religious orthodoxy and divorce:
Southern Baptists launched their own debate about divorce in 2000 when Charles Stanley, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and a popular television preacher, got divorced.
Charles Stanley is one of the old-timers. He preaches with his Bible in hand, a rarity in today's evangelical world. He's been around forever. He's also your standard Republican Party apologist, America Firster. Yeah for the Iraq war, our cause is just, pray for the troops, etc. Anyway, I didn't realize this annoying blowhard was recently divorced. But let's keep reading:
Long-standing tradition in that denomination holds that men are disqualified from being pastors once they divorce, based on the biblical mandate that ministers be "blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior." But some questioned how to apply those words, and an official at Stanley's church in Atlanta said to loud applause that Stanley would stay in his position, his "personal pain" having validated his ability to minister.
So all that stuff about family values...moral absolutes...they don't really mean it. Well, I should say, they mean it for you, and for the Hollywood elite, but it doesn't apply to them.
As Lance Mannion said a few weeks ago:
What most contemporary Republicans call conservative in themselves is really just authoritarianism. There is nothing conservative about that because of how easily they exempt themselves from the rules they lay down for others to follow.
Divorce is wrong, except mine which was necessary and proves my last marriage didn't count.
Mothers should stay home and take care of the kids, except my wife who is bringing in 6 figures and so we can hire a really good nanny who is not a person in her own right, merely the incarnation of our love for our kids, and so we get credit for being involved parents through her.
Homosexuality is wrong and gay marriage a threat to society, except for my brother and his partner, who aren't really gay.
Duty comes before self, which is why your kids should be proud to die in Iraq but my kids have the opportunity to go to law school so leave them alone.
All the supposed "traditional" values the Right preaches are rules for keeping the plebes in line.
Real conservatives do not exempt themselves from the rules. In fact, they believe in holding themselves to a stricter standard---real conservatives believe that it is the job of the elite and the privileged to set an example not just to make rules.