Tom Maguire of Just One Minute opined today that the left was typically making a big deal out of nothing for objecting to Michelle Bachmann’s remarks, also today, to the effect that God was speaking through earthquakes and hurricanes to express his displeasure with Democrats for not supporting tax cuts and spending cuts. Tom finds such objections ridiculous for the reason that Bachmann said she was joking when heavy criticism started to come down on her for saying what she said:
Michelle Bachmann draws predictableprogressive ire by linking Hurricane Irene with God’s wrath and Washigton’s spending. Anyone watching the video would know she was kidding (the crowd’s laughter is only one clue), but that would be too much reality for the reality-based.
Just to help our friends on the left – we aren’t imprisoning the Israelites, either.
Ignoring my better judgment, I posted a comment saying that it’s obvious from her actual words (not to mention her history of making numerous outrageous statements in the past) that Bachmann was not joking. Here is what she said:
“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people, because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet, and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
That is not a joke. A joke would have been, “Hey, maybe God sent the earthquake and hurricane because the Democrats are opposing tax cuts.” Or similar words, to the same effect. Of course, this statement would be just as moronic as the statement she actually made, and coming from her, it would almost certainly not be meant as a joke. But the point is, nobody goes on in such detail and at such length and with such emphasis just to make a joke.
Having said this, the larger point (as I went on to say in my comment at Maguire’s blog) is this:
Even if she WAS joking — actually, especially if she was joking, it’s sacriligious to say God sends messages about TAX CUTS via earthquakes and hurricanes. What a worm’s-eye view of God. I actually happen to believe God exists, and I find her “joke” offensive in the extreme.
A couple of readers responded to my comment, and there ensued a brief back-and-forth. I am reproducing it here because Maguire deleted part of the exchange (a response I made to a rather insulting comment from one reader, who calls himself “H Salt Fortescu Esquire”). Since Maguire deleted my final response, I cannot copy and paste it in here, so I will paraphrase it as accurately as my memory serves. First the part of the exchange that remains in the thread:
Kathy, you seem to be a member of the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” branch of Christianity, which doctrine seems a tad contrary to the Big Guy’s.
To which I replied:
There is nothing in what I wrote here that conveys the meaning “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” If you think there is, perhaps you can show me where it is, as opposed to just asserting it?
H. Salt Fortescu Esquire’s reply? He pasted in my initial comment, with bolding added, and then added his own comment:
And if you actually read her actual words, it’s obvious she’s NOT kidding, audience laughter or not. Maybe they were laughing AT her — at her moronic, childish view of God.But there’s a much larger point. Even if she WAS joking — actually, especially if she was joking, it’s sacriligious to say God sends messages about TAX CUTS via earthquakes and hurricanes. What a worm’s-eye view of God. I actually happen to believe God exists, and I find her “joke” offensive in the extreme.
If she isn’t joking she has a moronic, childish view of God.
If she is joking she’s sacrilegious.
Either you couldn’t see that because you’re stupid or because you’re dishonest.
See how it works, dear?
I was rather put off by this reply, especially since I had not provoked it with ad hominems of my own, so I wrote that she was being sacrilegious whether she was joking or not joking. What makes the statement sacrilegious is her suggestion that God is small enough to be concerned with American partisan politics. I find this at best a deeply insulting view of God. An insult to God, obviously, not to me. Now, if I were not religious this aspect might not bother me. But since I do happen to believe God exists, and since my understanding of God is that God is far beyond what any of us can understand or adequately articulate, I find Bachmann’s statement that God supports Republicans in their opposition to taxes and public spending to be egregiously offensive and yes, even sacrilegious. Does this mean she does not retain her First Amendment right to open her mouth and remove all doubt that she is a damn fool? Of course it doesn’t. She retains that right. But I am offended, as a person with strong and deep spiritual beliefs, at her making God into just another narrow-minded, petty, punitive right-winger. I would be just as offended if some Democrat were to say that God is sending earthquakes and hurricanes to punish us for sending more troops to Afghanistan, or for not making the stimulus twice as large as it was, or for not allowing same-sex marriage.Whatever one’s convictions about those issues or policies, that is an incredibly small and limiting view of how God works in the world.
We can disagree about whether Bachmann’s remarks were sacrilegious, but whether she meant to be serious or humorous in making those remarks is completely beside the point. If it is sacrilegious to put specific words in God’s mouth, to directly “quote” God — as if anyone knows the mind of God and as if God, whatever or however one conceives God to be, does not transcend petty and narrow human arguments and disagreements — then it is sacrilegious whether intended seriously or as a joke. It’s not the presence or lack of a humorous intent that makes what Bachmann said sacrilegious, it’s what she said.
I also think, quite aside from the substance of this issue, that it’s a very, very small-minded person who has no other way to express disagreement with or anger at another point of view than to say “See how it works, dear?” Whether the parties involved are male or female, doesn’t matter. It’s unfortunate that Tom Maguire chose not to allow these points to be made on his blog, but as it IS his blog, and as I do have my own blog, I shall use it to say what needs to be said.