Wineke: Politicians look foolish by resorting to religious explanations
C3K columnist believes prominent Christians could be embarrassing the faith
MADISON, Wis. — And just about the time I think I have run out of politicians to poke fun at, along comes Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz.
Yeah, his dad was vice president and everyone poked fun at him, too. The younger Quayle was elected to the Congress in 2010 and just last summer joined a group of fellow Republicans on a trip to Israel. As the trip waned, some of them went to a restaurant on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, some of them got drunk and went swimming, and one of them went skinny dipping.
This, apparently, outraged House Majority Leader Erik Cantor, though I’m not quite sure why. Give politicians free booze and they often do tacky things. I haven’t read anything to indicate the congressmen did anything illegal. The press seems convinced the Sea of Galilee is sacred water, but it isn’t.
In fact, one prominent historical figure who most likely went skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee was Jesus.
I mean, think about it. Jesus hung out with fishermen. There were no public showers 2,000 years ago. How do you think he bathed?
So why am I picking on Quayle, especially since there isn’t even evidence that he was part of the group that boozed and dove?
Because Quayle defended his actions by explaining he was swimming in the Sea of Galilee to collect water for his daughter’s baptism.
“I was able to go in, properly attired … and swim very briefly in the Sea of Galilee and was actually able to take a little vial of water home to baptize my daughter with water from the Sea of Galilee,” Quayle told an Arizona television reporter.
That explanation is so cheesy that I have a sneaking suspicion it might even be true.
Most of us, however, would just go to the water’s edge and scoop up a little vial. And if Quayle wanted real baptismal water, he might have done better with the River Jordan.
I just wish prominent Christians would stop embarrassing the faith with weird evasions of what they are really trying to accomplish.
That goes double for the Roman Catholic Bishop of Madison, who has taken to writing weekly messages exhorting his flock to divide politicians into two groups: those who endorse policies that are “intrinsically evil,” including “abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, same-sex marriage, government-coerced secularism and socialism” and those who are on the right side of intrinsic evil but who might disagree on how to carry out other church teachings.
I’m not sure how socialism fits into that list; it might come as a big surprise to Milwaukee Catholics who elected Socialist mayors year after year.
But if one wants to label Democrats as intrinsically evil, one ought to just say so.
For example, I think Mitt Romney’s energy policy, a policy that would end subsidies for alternative sources of energy and double down on drilling for oil and mining coal, are intrinsically evil because the resulting global warming threatens — at an extreme — the ability of the human race to survive and, more likely, the resulting rise in sea levels will wash entire island nations out of existence.
I have no biblical or theological basis to call that policy intrinsically evil, but I do think my position is one you can come to without resorting to religion. I guess that makes me less sophisticated than the bishop. But, then, I haven’t been invested with teaching authority.