Thursday, August 31, 2006

hurricane harris

US Representative and Senate candidate Katherine Harris is under fire again, this time for her baldly stated views on politics and faith, which she shared with Witness, a Florida Baptist publication. The transcript of the interview is an excellent resource on the cumulative effect of a Christian-right aproach to american politics, evidence of how in moving from one hot-button issue to another-- gay marriage, Terri Schiavo, stem cell research-- the long-term implications for governance become ratcheted up, how advocating for a US theocracy has become a normalized part of the political debate.

Harris after all is a sitting member of Congress, a woman who has served in government for many years, who attended Harvard and who was speaking for the record. Yet the interview reads like a madras manifesto, where secular is equated with evil, where only the faithful are qualified to serve the public, where individual citizens would submit to a moral and religious code outlined and enforced by the government-- because "nonChristian citizens don't know any better"-- and where lawmakers who don't support such views are "legislating sin" and so must be replaced.

There is plenty of conviction on display, and plenty of confusion, too. God chooses our leaders, she says, yet she's also encouraging the faithful to get them out of office. There is also an endtimes-style preoccupation with "taking the country back," as if Gore and then Kerry and all the defeated Congressional Democrats of the past six or more years have been running the country, going to war, appointing Supreme Court justices.

A bonus of the transcript is Harris's sidelong, hesitant, semiconscious admission of her role in the "stolen" presidential election of 2000. Witness asks her "Why should Florida Baptists care about this primary election?" To which she says:

"… Florida is the forerunner state. What happens in Florida sets the trend for what happens nationally. And with this election, if Bill Nelson wins, it’s going to be a very frightening proposition in 2008, in the presidential elections, because whoever wins Florida will win the presidency. And [Bill Nelson] will be in a position to largely influence…"

Ha! She should know!

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