Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Politicking, Faith and Forgiveness

In the hours before the Iowa Caucuses were held, CNN reported an odd story about the unconventional campaign of Dr. Ben Carson.  CNN reported that Carson was not immediately going to New Hampshire or South Carolina after the Hawkeye Cauci but would be heading home to Florida.

Campaigns on the ground in Iowa took that Carson curveball as an indication that Carson might be withdrawing from the nomination race. The Cruz campaign passed word out to their grassroots to use this news as a selling point in the caucuses.

In the end, Dr. Carson came in fourth place, with the same percentage of support that was indicated by the later polls. Yet the Carson campaign is crying foul that Cruz cheated.  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) offered an apology.  

Yet that uncommon political humility seemed insufficient for Dr. Carson.

Ben Carson on Forgiveness

Much of the impetus for the Carson campaign is evangelical Christian fervor.  It is curious how Dr. Carson is quick to label himself as a Christian but be parsimonious about forgiveness.  Carson later demanded his terms for forgiveness-- heads in the Cruz campaign should roll.

Several realities impact Carson's sanctimonious tact.  Firstly, his strategy of not rushing off to the campaign battlegrounds was giving a false flag. This was compounded by pushing back on the withdrawal rumor by claiming that Dr. Carson needed fresh clothes.

Secondly, the Cruz campaign was not the only one to seize upon reports of the Carson campaign's premature demise. Rubio ran with it too. So why the selective outrage? Might it not be due to faith principles but the cold calculation that Cruz and Carson campaigns are competing for the same slice of voters?

Thirdly, Dr. Carson is allowing himself to be used by Donald Trump.  After ingesting a brief serving of humble pie the night of his Iowa Caucus second place showing, the bombastic attack is back with the Donald.  This time, Trump is championing the cause of  Ben Carson, who was supposedly cheated by Ted Cruz, so there should be a do over in the Iowa Caucus.  Sure.  This "help" for Dr. Carson is coming from a good friend who compared the neurosurgeon to being pathological like a child molester in November.

The 2016 Republican Presidential primary process has hosted a half dozen religiously oriented candidates:  ex Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR); ex Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA); ex Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LS); Gov. John Kasich (R-OH); Dr. Ben Carson and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Others have tried to ingratiate themselves to evangelicals.  But we will know them by their actions.

 Referring to Two Corthinthians at Liberty University is a clue of being disingenuous. But what is more telling is candidate who does not want to bother God by asking for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a vital part of walking the path of Christianity. Carson claims that he accepts Cruz's apology but it hardly sounds like it from his initial quote. The subsequent call for heads to roll sounds like conditional forgiveness.

But will that standard be be equally applied to all supposed wrongdoers? Should it matter that others are conflating this supposed harm to be a cudgel for their own purposes?  Was this stiff necked notion of mercy applied for someone who slandered you?

Jesuits have the concept of presupposition-  meaning that one gives another the benefit of a doubt unless proven otherwise.

While this conservative appreciates the constitutional and faith driven campaign of Dr. Carson, I have been unimpressed by the manner which he campaigns.  It is more than making rookie mistakes.  When he is in the spotlight, he seems to whine. What is more disconcerting is the duplicitous demonstration of faith, in which Carson embraces his duty of forgiveness as a Christian then makes stipulations on a sincere apology.  All the while, this kerfluffle is being exploited by someone who thrives in insults and acrimony. 

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