Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Prodigious Anger

And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

It is hard not to be terribly depressed after watching last night's Republican/Tea Party debate. Rage is the one emotion that emanates from this crowd, blind rage fueled by ignorance and bigotry and a seemingly religious hatred of anything they naively deem "socialism." Perhaps the standout moment (and one that's making waves in the blogosphere) is the point at which the audience cheered the prospect of letting a 30 year old uninsured man die if he found himself in the position of being unable to pay for a needed medical procedure. At least one, perhaps two members of the audience, taken by much the same fervor with which the evangelical shouts "hallelujah" in church, could not contain his fury and screamed out loudly "Let him die!"

It was an amazing moment, to be sure. Yes, Wolf Blitzer's hypothetical involved a healthy young man who foolishly and irresponsibly chooses to forgo purchasing health insurance (presumably to spend the money on more pleaasurable pursuits). One could well argue that the audience would have reacted differently to the example of an individual too poor to afford health insurance (though in arguments that I have personally engaged in with conservatives, let me assure you many would have reacted in exactly the same fashion).

Still, for an audience supposedly so reverent of "Judeo Christian values" it is astonishing that they would react so violently to a hypothetical that is merely a variation on the New Testament parable of the Prodigal Son, as recounted in Luke , Chapter 15: 11-32 --a classic tale illustrating the virtue and praiseworthyness of compassion and forgiveness.

Maybe they just didn't see it. Maybe it takes a liberal atheist such as myself to make the connection.

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