How not to go to hell: An election day primer

FOX News posted an article yesterday, Rev who gave Obama’s inaugural benediction reportedly says he thinks whites going to hell:

The Rev. Joseph Lowery spoke at a rally Saturday in Georgia. According to an account in the Monroe County Reporter, Lowery said that when he was a young militant, he used to say all white folks were going to hell. Then he mellowed and just said most of them were. Now, he said, he is back to where he was, according to the newspaper.

I’ll be honest: framed the right way, I’m not entirely sure why this is news. Given how much it gets talked about, I was always under the impression that just about everybody is headed for hell — whites, blacks, Asians, Mexicans, Jews, Mormons, and especially Muslims. So as a prediction, what Lowery said is unobjectionable: we’re all going to hell.

Still, his remarks are troubling. The prospect of hell is clearly not a pleasant one, and invoking it to condemn ‘the other’ is despicable. But do you know what else is despicable? FOX News.

FOX isn’t concerned with the allegations of damnation as a matter of principle — it’s just trying to stir up trouble by linking President Obama to the Reverend’s impolitick and racist opinion. If that isn’t self-evident from the formulation of the headline, I present for your consideration this commercial voiced-over by FOX News employee Mike Huckabee:

It’s very well done, but in case you don’t feel like watching, here’s what he had to say:

Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty for the government to force the Church to buy the kind of insurance that leads to the taking of innocent human life.

Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire.

Recorded in eternity? Test of fire? These phrases constitute (thinly veiled? – just kidding, not really all that thinly) threats of eternal damnation for anyone who might choose to vote for a Democrat on Tuesday. Considering that about half the country is going to do so no matter what Huckabee says, if FOX were truly concerned with the wanton condemnation of ‘the other’ to burn in a lake of fire, it would have run a headline along the lines of FOX News contributer who endorsed Romney says he thinks Democrats going to hell.

Something tells me that’ll happen just as soon as pigs fly and hell freezes over.

But more interesting than any double-standard on Bullshit Mountain or the threat of eternal damnation? How about the original version of Huckabee’s ad?

As you may have gathered, the ad was released in early 2012, and was specifically targeted at Catholic voters. The most obvious change from that version to Huckabee’s is the replacement of the word ‘Catholic’ with the more general ‘Christian’. But you have to watch more carefully to track what happened to some of the quotes. For instance, here’s the language of the original ad:

The protection of life… from… conception, until natural death.

And here’s Huckabee’s version:

The right to life from conception to natural death.

The missing ellipses stand out – but there’s an obvious explanation for their absence. The first formulation is presented as a quote belonging to one ‘Pope Benedict XVI’. The second quote is seemingly attributable to Huckabee alone. And a separate quote from ‘Cardinal Dolan’ was excised entirely.

While it’s understandable that Huckabee did not want to acknowledge his Papist associations, I’m pretty sure there’s a specific term for repeating someone else’s words without attribution. And I’m pretty sure FOX knows it.

Let me take you back to August. FOX had no hesitation running the headline, Time, CNN suspend Zakaria for plagiarism. I look forward to the follow-up, FOX suspends Huckabee for plaigirism.

Probably also not going to happen.

I was going to conclude this post with a discussion of whether plaigirism is a damnable offense, but then I realized it doesn’t matter: Mike Huckabee is white, so he’s probably going to hell anyway. And that brings me to what I promised in the post’s title: it seems your only option is to vote Republican, and be black.

Herman Cain, big smile.


6 thoughts on “How not to go to hell: An election day primer”

  1. “Will your values stand the test of fire?” Hardly a question of eternal damnation. With all of the blacksmith imagery, the question is whether these decisions will be able to withstand hard times. Not being an expert in Christian theology, I refer to the common Midrashic metaphor that Egypt was the furnace in which the Israelite nation was forged. The test of fire is not hell; certainly not explicit enough about hell to warrant a Fox News headline.


    1. By itself, I think you might have an argument. When it comes right after, “your vote will be… recorded in eternity,” I think that’s harder to argue. As for the Midrashic argument, “For that day [of Jesus return] dawns in fire, and the fire will test the worth of each man’s work.” [I Corinthians 3:13]. OK so maybe Armageddon instead of hell. I’m also no expert in Christian Zviology.


      1. That verse is a good reference though we both know how many times we can find Biblical verses in support of opposite assertions. The fact that it’s at least potentially ambiguous distinguishes it from the Lowery quote.
        The notion that a vote is recorded in eternity is saying that it’s important long-term. I think you may be coming at this from a preconceived conclusion (cough HuffPost cough).


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