Rabbi Bret may be surprised to learn that he is a sissy because he is supporting Ron Paul. That is the testosterone filled conclusion of the Brothers Bayly who in a recent post have asserted that two-kingdom advocates and Ron Paul supporters share a similar trait — distaff cowardice. (I am not making this up.)
Ron Paul is to national politics what R2K is to the salt and light of the Church. Both Paulites and R2Kites have never seen a battle they want to fight. So instead they come up with sophisticated reasons why Little Round Top is the wrong hill to defend and Colonel Chamberlain’s bayonet charge was over the top. The wrong man led the wrong troops in the wrong charge using the wrong weapons at the wrong time and the wrong location.
In fact, watch these men closely and you find the only battle they’re willing to fight is the battle opposing battles. But of course, I use the words ‘battle’ and ‘fight’ quite loosely because both require courage. I don’t write this to demean them, but so readers will see the connection between their techniques, commitments, and character.
They’re the skinny boy in the corner of the schoolyard shouting “Nanny nanny boo-boo” at the real boys over on the baseball diamond trying to catch the ball, swing the bat, hit something, and run. Over in the corner of the playground with his back to the wall is R2K’s favorite cultural icon, Woody Allen, making jokes about how he refuses to play baseball because baseball is a stupid game with stupid rules played by stupid boys. But of course, he did try to play baseball once, and when the ball was flying toward his face, he misjudged where to put his mitt, he took his eye off the ball, and the ball hit him square in the face, and it really really hurt. He’s never forgotten it and now he makes fun of boys who play baseball.
All the boys who play baseball think he’s a coward, but he’s always surrounded by the other boys who got punched in the face with a baseball and decided never to play baseball again. They laugh at his jokes. Then there are the girls who never wanted to play baseball and don’t know a coward when they see one, and they think he’s kinda cute and sweet. They pity him for being an outcast and one day that pity will cause them to allow him to kiss them.
On the level of politics, the Baylys are clueless and always have been since they supported George McGovern in 1972 (though Ron Paul is closer to McGovern on foreign policy than the Baylys know — talk about not fighting battles). They are less interested in resisting tyranny than they are in establishing a regime of justice and morality. They don’t mind ignoring the distinct responsibilities of institutions and the separate spheres established by documents like constitutions and confessions in order to apply their moral truths justly everywhere. This puts their moral idealism much closer to the French Revolution than to the American, and makes their he-mannish bravery sound more like Robespierre than Madison. To justify the reign of terror, Robespierre wrote: “Terror is only justice prompt, sever, and inflexible — it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country.” Manly? Sure. Cruel? You bet. Despotic? No doubt.
On the level of biblical interpretation, I continue to wonder where their unrivaled affirmation of macho Christianity finds a warrant in Scripture. Was Jesus manly when he submitted to an unjust verdict and execution? Was our Lord feminized when he told his followers to forgive seventy-times-seven? Was Paul light in the loafers when he counseled moderation, self-control, and submission to authorities?
I get it. Jesus is going to return and will judge sins and the sinners who commit them. But the Baylys’ antics suggests yet another form of immanentizing the eschaton — a rush to judge, confront, and topple in the name of Christ here and now. They don’t seem to understand the inverse logic of the gospel. Christ defeats Satan by dying. The kingdom of grace beats the kingdom of Satan by forgiving sins. I don’t particularly understand what chromosomes have to do with this.
Postscript: I linked to one of the Baylys’ posts about men singing and how the church needs hymns on judgment and justice triumphing over wicked men for men to sing with gusto. This points to another part of the Baylys’ errors. They are also clueless culturally. They have never witnessed big, beefy men — namely, Welsh rugby players — while singing their national anthem.