Effect Measure

Was John McCain really getting into the religious weeds when he announced “we are all Georgians” and noting that Georgia was “one of the first nations on earth to convert to Christianity…it’s been part of the grand sweep that compromises Western civilization”? Or was it just an addled and clueless persona, yearning to breathe free? Here’s what Mark Silk had to say about it over at Spiritual Politics, a blog from Trinity College on religion and the 2008 election:

But seriously, as long as we’re choosing allies based on their priority in embracing Jesus, can I put in a good word for Armenia, the very first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion? On the other hand, the Armenian Apostolic Church is mired in monophysitism–you know, it’s non-Chalcedonian, which means those folks didn’t join in the condemnation of those who rejected Christ’s two natures. So to hell with them. While the Georgians are good old autocephalous Orthodox Christians, or at least since departing from the patriarchate of Antioch they’ve always wanted to be autocephalous, but the Russian Orthodox Church has in modern times kept butting in, although the Georgians were recognized as such by the Patriarch of Constantinople after the end of the Russian Empire, ah Soviet Union, in 1990. So maybe McCain thinks we need to speak up on behalf of Georgian autocephaly. Or maybe, in the grand sweep of things, we’re too compromised to do that. I dunno. (Mark Silk)

Well, I dunno either. But even from the fairway, this is a pretty outrageous statement. As Steve Waldman observed over at BeliefNet, it simultaneously put forth three ideas:

  • I [John McCain] think having Christianity as an official religion is a fine idea in general
  • This is just like the Cold War when the forces of Christianity are at war with the forces of Atheism
  • I view the protection of Christians from attack worldwide as an important goal

(Steve Walman, Beliefnet)

Good this really be a fair characterization of the Senator’s beliefs? Let’s let the man speak for himself:


  1. #1 C. Corax
    August 24, 2008

    I have to take another shower after watching that video! What on earth does “we’re all Georgians” supposed to mean? Seriously, what idea was he trying to convey with that statement?

    I read somewhere that both Obama and Biden have taught Constitutional law. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an Administration that know and respect the Constitution?

    And thank you for the Mark Silk quote! I’m sending that far and wide.

  2. #2 K
    August 24, 2008

    Jesusssssssssssssssssss. I wish we were a Christian Nation – that is a nation that took seriously the morals and values of Jesus Christ (or attributed to him as the case may be). Then we would kick out Capitalism based on greed as a guiding principal. We would look to heaven as our home and eschew the wealth and pleasures of the world in favor of heaven. We would treat each prisoner and hungry person as if they were Jesus himself. We would not care what government we were ruled by – if the Ruskies took over we would carry their packs not the required mile but 2 as Jesus told the Jews to do for the occupying Romans. We would turn the other cheek when attacked by anyone. We would not fear dying and would welcome martyrdom. THAT is what Jesus taught – 99.9 percent of Christians in this country don’t have a clue about following Christ. Just a nice little tableau in their mind meaning about as much as Jesus Christmas scenes do to the Christmas shoppers.

  3. #3 Phila
    August 24, 2008

    I wish we were a Christian Nation – that is a nation that took seriously the morals and values of Jesus Christ (or attributed to him as the case may be). Then we would kick out Capitalism based on greed as a guiding principal.

    Maybe we could even outlaw usury and profiteering, like the Puritans….

  4. #4 K
    August 24, 2008

    Phila, that’s the spirit. They want a literal reading of the Bible lets start with the words of Jesus. After all he is supposed to be God himself incarnate, son of the father, savior of mankind. His words should supersede the rest of the Bible. Surely no mere prophet or evangelist has more true saying than the son of God, god incarnate.

  5. #5 HennepinCountyLawyer
    August 24, 2008

    “Seriously, what idea was he trying to convey with that statement?”

    Roughly the same thing that JFK was trying to convey when he declared himself to be a pastry, probably.

  6. #6 Pierce R. Butler
    August 24, 2008

    … the grand sweep that compromises Western civilization…

    Western civilization has suffered too many compromises already. If only it seemed possible that Obama (even if he does know the word “comprise”) wouldn’t compromise further steps toward actual civilization almost as much as McCain…

  7. #7 Victoria
    August 24, 2008

    Multi-coloured Yawn!

  8. #8 Victoria
    August 24, 2008

    In other words give McCain the BIG V.

  9. #9 pft
    August 24, 2008

    Actually, the first Jewish state was Khazaria, which included parts of todays Georgia, Chechnia and the Ukraine.

    In the 7th through 10th centuries it was a major buffer state between the Christian and Islamic world.

    But this is an Orwellian world. So Georgia is the first Christian state.

  10. #10 CAP
    August 25, 2008

    Since McCain is probably senile and forgetful of high school history, it would be noteworthy to point out that in 313 A.D. the emperor Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the fallen Roman Empire. It was Rome, not Georgia, that was the first Christian state. Rome then spread Christianity at sword point across the Baltic and further into Europe. Historians estimate that Georgia was converted between 319 and 337 AD (reference: “Sketches of Georgian Church History” by Theodore Edward Dowling).

    John McCain /fails Christianity. I am quite certain that Jesus would denounce him as a terrorist based on McCain’s notorious singing of his remix, “Bomb Bomb Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran” at Murrells Inlet VFW Hall in South Carolina.

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