Saturday, October 31, 2009

Secretary of State Rokita Channels Reverend Lovejoy

This is the second in a three-part analysis of the recent activities of Republican Secretary of State and gubernatorial hopeful, Todd Rokita.

After landing a solid redistricting jab, Rokita came over the top this week with a clever, new public service announcement warning people of the dangers of "faith-based affinity fraud."

My issue is not with necessity for this ad, as I recall a case in Sullivan County of an ex-pastor operating a faith-based ponzi scheme. There are numerous, tragic examples across the country of people who take advantage of the trust built up through shared faith.

What struck me was when Rokita says it’s hard to detect fraud “especially when it's done in the name of the Lord.” Notice how Rokita doesn’t say “in the name of religion” or “in the name of faith” or “even in the name of God." He specifically refers to “the Lord,” an undeniable, not-so-subliminal statement of his Christian faith.

Lest some contend "Lord" is probably intended to refer generically to God, recall that the "Our Father" is also called "The Lord's prayer" because it was conveyed to the apostles by Jesus. In addition, a common refrain at most Christian churches, including mine, is "our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ." Non-practitioners and practitioners alike may refer to the Deity as "God," but in my lifetime, I'm never heard any non-Christian (be (s)he Jew, Muslim, Hindu, pagan, agnostic, or atheist) refer to God as "the Lord," except ironically.

If you're a guy who wants to create a psychic connection with Republican values voters without using campaign funds, this is a great way to do it. Will Rokita be the GOP nominee? Can he prevail over Becky Skillman? Who knows. But nobody can say he isn't getting the most out of the hand he's been dealt.


1 comment:

Doug said...

Yes! That bit about faith-based fraud struck me as gratuitous and transparent.

But, it also reminded me of a line in Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven." He was talking about how a certain, especially Mormon part of Utah also had the highest incidence of white collar fraud in the country. The grifter would almost inevitably tell his mark to "pray on the decision."

The attorney general there, or someone similar, said something about how they warned people that whatever his strengths, God wasn't an investment adviser.