Secret of my success: I'm going to succeed because I'm crazy enough to think I can …. / Motifake.ComNote: There’s been some news about this story; please see below.

I assume a lot of my readers will have heard about Michigan Republican legislator Todd Courser who came up with a truly bizarre plot to deflect criticism which would come over an affair he’d been having with fellow Republican legislator Cindy Gamrat. This crazy scheme involved releasing a phony story that he’d met with male prostitutes, and — has says — had been intended to “smoke out” someone who’d been blackmailing him (WebCite cached article). I haven’t figured out how planting a “false flag” story would have done this, nor has anyone else … but since news of this broke, Courser has been petulant and defiant about it.

Given how wingnutty this scheme was, I’d assumed that mental illness somehow figured into Courser’s plans. I mean, it really is so astonishingly crazy that no person in his/her right mind would have cooked up such a scenario. So as with most cases of religiosity entangled with mental illness, I hadn’t planned to blog about it.

But Courser posted a response to the scandal raging around him on Facebook (cached) that — while it’s long and rambling and still may evince just a little mental instability — is coherent enough, and aligns well enough with Christian thinking, to indicate that the man knows what he’s doing and is motivated more by his religiosity than any mental illness he might have. The idiot begins with a statement which makes clear he intends to use his religiosity to rationalize what he did:

My lack of righteousness does not negate God’s righteousness –

From this point on it’s mostly a self-serving and self-pitying ramble of how he’s a sinner and all of that bullshit, interspersed with Bible quotations:

There has been nothing more humbling than to know each and every day that I am a sinner and need a savior – nothing in my actions negates Him or His promises. What my actions showcase are my lacking and how far off the mark this man’s condition is from God’s Holiness.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”…

In my life sin had its root and it worked to undo so much and has yet to undo so much more; my life, my reputation, my relationship with my wife and children and my extended family; not to mention my relationships and reputation around the world. This sin in my life has been and will continue to reap its reward. In all of this many have commented publicly and have enjoyed the spectacle of watching a man burn and have reveled in the joy it has brought in themselves, but all of this has also brought so many who have been absolutely encouraging and supportive.

He also wants us to know he’s not alone, and how reassured he’s been by knowing it:

A special group has been of those men who have come forward to express their own failures to me in fidelity and what guilt and shame they have felt for their own failures in their own faith and faithfulness to God, His holy word, and to their wives and children. Just having heard their stories has been some of the most humbling experiences of my life; with several have come forward to share their pain for participating in/and addicted to pornography and what that has wrought in themselves and their families. And finally a couple have come forward to express their guilt and shame for being faith filled but struggling with how to reconcile that with having homosexual tendencies and trying to reconcile that with their faith. In every one of these experiences it has been an incredibly humbling to me.

He also complains that he’s been criticized, and punctuates this whine with a Bible quote that implicitly threatens his critics with his God’s judgement:

It is mystifying to be in the middle of this hurricane and to be totally here and be present and feel the full fury of so much condemnation. It seems to have brought out the best in some and the most vile in others; so many words of encouragement and yet so many people who revel in piling on and watching another burn alive. I hope all of you who read this can live without having to live thru this personally and I hope that in your lives you have no sin to be held accountable for and so do not need a savior; I am just clearly in need of one; my life and my actions in no way diminish Him, or His plan, or His hope and sacrifice for all who have sinned.

Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

That’s about all of Courser’s pathetic, whining spew I can stomach repeating here. But it’s enough to make clear the theme of his argument, which is that, like everyone, he’s a “sinner”; that all he did was “sin”; that his God is great; in the end, that’s all that matters; and so he’s certainly not going to do anything like resign over it.

This ridiculous screed immediately reminded me of a common Christian slogan: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” It’s a convenient rationale for not having to accept the consequences of their own bad behavior or their failure to live up to the standards that they believe their own Jesus taught. They can just do anything they want, any time they want, to anyone they want, and no one’s permitted to say anything about it, because after all they’re just “sinners” and can’t help themselves. He even cited John 8:7, which is the part of the story of the woman taken in adultery in which Jesus says that “He who is without sin may cast the first stone.” Courser, thus, is telling his critics that they’re just as bad as he is and therefore are not allowed to criticize him any more.

As I said, this Facebook post is long — perhaps a lot longer than it needed to be — but it was composed with a clear argument in mind, and it makes that argument quite readily. What’s more, that argument is one that a lot of Christians make when they’ve been caught doing things they shouldn’t … so it’s not really all that novel or unusual (at least, not anywhere near as unusual as the scheme Courser had been plotting which led up to it). So, contrary to my initial impression of Courser, I no longer believe he’s so mentally ill that he’s not aware of what he’s doing. He does understand what he did, and he’s doubling down on it rather than making any concessions.

This dual Christian principle … i.e. that everyone sins all the time so Christians can’t be expected to behave themselves; and whenever they do cross the line, no one is allowed to point it out, because everyone’s a sinner anyway … makes that religion one of the most dysfunctional and amoral philosophies one can imagine. And honestly, it really needs to just fucking stop. If Christians really are following the true religion taught by the true Almighty, one ought to expect that, as a population, they’d behave better, collectively, than everyone else. That they cannot or will not exhibit better behavior than the rest of humanity tends to discredit the supposed divine nature of their religion.

Update: After a strange and convoluted legislative proceeding, Rep. Courser finally resigned, and Rep. Gamrat was expelled, from the Michigan legislature (cached). He quit in spite of insisting that he hadn’t done anything wrong, but if he did, it was OK because other people have done it and he’s a sinner anyway so the poor little thing couldn’t help himself.

Photo credit: Motifake.Com.

Hat tip: Raw Story.

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  • pondering

    This is the rotten fruit of the false Protestant gospel. The doctrines of John Calvin teaches that all men are Totally Depraved (wicked sinners, intrinsically evil from the womb to the tomb) before and after one is (saved) justified. We hear "Christian's" say all the time they are "not perfect", and nor are you – boasting in sin all the time. Have you ever heard of Tullian Tchjvidjian, Billy Graham's grandson? He and His wife both committed adultery, recently, at the same time (take a look at his twitter account and look at the self loathing). He had boasted that both he and his church were '21 century sinners'. My question is, why was he fired……when this "pastor" simply lived out what he believed.

    Protestantism/Calvinism/Lutheranism/Evangelicalism created a determinist god. A loveless, lawless false gospel – an ideology which has served the tyrants well throughout history and continues today.

    • I suppose in today's Christianity this perverse philosophy owes a good deal to Calvin and his determinism. But it really did predate him … by a long way. Various Christian sects have been accused of "Antinomianism" (or the presumption that grace frees Christians to do anything they wish) going all the way back to the 1st century (e.g. the Nicolaitans, whoever they might have been, condemned by Jesus in the opening of Revelation). It's by no means an old notion within Christianity, even if a lot of Christians deny being antinomianists.

      I've heard of Tchjvidjian but not about his and his wife's mutual adultery. I believe his ministry has (supposedly) focused on ferreting out abuse of various kinds in churches; I'm not sure if that relates at all, but it's there.

      I suppose it's all well and good that there are Christians out there who object to this approach to Christianity, but honestly I don't see any of them getting worked up about it. Quite the opposite, people like this are getting elected to office … and remaining in office once there … having been voted in by a population which is majority Christian. I can't help but figure, based upon this, that most American Christians do not, in fact, object to this "anything goes for us Christians" philosophy. If they do, they're going to have to be a lot more explicit about it; they're going to have to get off their lazy rear ends and drive people like Courser from office rather than leaving them there; and they're going to have to stop electing people just because they pepper their speeches with a lot of references to God and Jesus.

      But hey, what could this cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about such important sacred matters as making sure one's fellow Christians are protected (presumably just in case one likewise needs protection at some point)? Obviously I haven't the proper divine insights to understand it all.