The canonization of Ken Lay
And then the coup de grace: the white-collar convicted criminal was compared to an innocent black man, James Byrd, brutally lynched in Texas not so long ago, tied to the back of a truck and dragged through dirt roads until his body split in two.
“Ken Lay was neither black nor poor, as James Byrd was, but I’m angry because Ken was the victim of a lynching,” the minister said to huge and hearty applause.
Welcome to the strange new world of conservative evangelical Christianity, where government torture is no big deal, Lay is a martyr, and the death penalty is God’s will. In this version of Christianity what matters is not so much what you do — but what’s in your heart. And if you have committed to Jesus Christ and attend the right church, a little corporate larceny is no big whoop.
First of all, this wasn't "a little corporate larceny". This was one of the biggest and most devastating series of corporate crimes ever committed, in terms of dollars bilked, pensions destroyed, jobs lost, etc. I'm assuming Sullivan knows this and was being ironic.
I think this canonization of Lay is similar to the Christianists easy forgiveness of Bush for his past use of alcohol: everything is OK if you're one of us. This kind of thinking, that someone can be "intrinsicly good", regardless of their actual behavior, drives me nuts. It's like there's a single bit in each soul, that's set to 1 if you're saved, 0 if you're damned. And no other information (like, oh say, what they've done) is necessary to determine if someone should be supported or attacked. And of course, Christianists can read the "salvation bit" unfailingly, just like Bush can look into Putin's eyes and see his soul. This kind of thinking is juvenile and ignores the enormous complexity of actual human beings. But ignoring complexities is something that these folks are well trained to do. The rest of us just need to learn not to respect this way of thinking. We must spit on it and hurl derision on it. We must do this not despite the fact that it comes as part of a religious belief, but especially because it is part of a religious belief. Idoicy with a crucifix is no different than garden-variety "secular" idiocy, but because it cloaks itself in the pretiege of religious tradition, it deserves to have even more rotten vegetables thrown at it. And I'm more than happy to oblige.
"By their works ye shall know them." How about that as a standard by which to judge Bush and Lay? There's actual wisdom in the Christian religious tradition. Repent, Christianists!