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David Brooks, the reflexively moderate New York Times columnist, is at it again, this time lamenting those poor, confused Iowa Christians who believe that the Bible’s injunction “Do not show partiality to the poor” means, well … not showing partiality to the poor. According to Brooks, this idea should extend to both policy and political discourse, but the parlance employed by the likes of Ted Cruz is deemed un-Christian by the pant-crease impresario.
Brooks finds evangelical support for Ted Cruz inscrutable. They are supposed to respond to the reassuring tones of Mike Huckabee or the pleasantly sleep-inducing Ben Carson. This is why Brooks — whose column is characterized by his unfunny and, apparently, unself-aware tendency to lecture Christians about how they should comport themselves — is confused by Cruz’s lead in Iowa. These Iowa Christians don’t seem to know their place anymore. Trump? Cruz? Please! It’s not like Iowa evangelicals have witnessed much undesired change during Obama’s tenure.
Brooks sees little in America that has changed in Obama’s tenure for evangelicals to complain about. Why don’t they simply roll with it now that divorce law is deemed fit for basket cases likes Oregon and Illinois while while marriage be defined once-and-for by one man in a robe? It’s a play so absurd, Harold Pinter and Harold Becket together couldn’t have conceived of it.
President Obama arrived unfashionably late at the marriage-rights party, though his fellow partygoers didn’t much seem to care. Future histories will show the president as characteristically behind the times, knowing that it took his vice president’s coming-out party on the issue to make him realize he was the last man in the room to get the joke. (Imagine, for a moment, being deemed less-hip than Joe Biden.)
For Brooks, it’s a given that Christian values like fairness and love are inherently progressive values and he cases his argument in a Third-Way-Al-Gore vein for added annoyance. And it’s not just social issues that have Evangelicals nonplussed. At any rate, these social-issues ingrates don’t seem unduly impressed by the managed loses of both the “bad” war in Iraq and the “good” war in Afghanistan. They don’t seem to marvel at the apparent ingratitude from the Libyan people, Congress, and NATO for their special brands of magic.
But don’t take my word for it, read Brooks’s latest column, “The Brutalism of Ted Cruz.” In Cruz’s speeches there is “not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy.” Brooks continues:
Traditionally, candidates who have attracted strong evangelical support have in part emphasized the need to lend a helping hand to the economically stressed and the least fortunate among us. Such candidates include George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.
That no misprint: George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum all cited positively in a single sentence. In the Times, no less!
None of this would matter were Brooks not routinely identified as conservative among conservatives who should know better.