The Spectacle Blog

Renewing Pascal’s Gambit

By on 2.4.08 | 1:27PM

Over at Captain's Quarters, Ed Morrissey accuses me of suggesting in this piece that Jimmy Carter has been "lamenting the weird Millenium of a Jesus-led kingdom of atheists " and "wishes that Jesus and the Devil had reached across the aisle, found room for compromise, and created a bridge between Heaven and Hell!" In the spirit of bipartisan outrage at the sheer unfairness of it all and in order to maintain the reputation of the "normally reliable" American Spectator, Morrissey thinks I owe "readers a correction and Carter an apology."

Well, bless his heart. Actually, what I was getting at was not that Carter was cheering for Jesus accept Satan's offer as he read the Bible, hoping the phone would ring and it would be the Messiah calling in from the distant past to ask Carter's advice on his answer to the Devil, like he was a contestant on Who Want to be a Martyr? using his lifeline. Nor do I believe if Carter received such a call he would say, "You know what, Jesus? Forsake your Heavenly Father. This is an awesome deal Satan's put on the table. You gotta go for it!" To say such a thing would have been, to stay with today’s motif, divinely stupid.

I assumed when I wrote, "to Carter's mind, the biggest trade-off of the Crucifixion may have been gaining eternal salvation while losing a potentially great bureaucratic overlord," readers would recognize "eternal salvation" in any trade-off is the more attractive option. Yes, yes, hellfire is bad and so is just being plain dead. Even the most partisan Republican wouldn't call Jimmy Carter "pro-damnation."

I was mocking WHY Carter thought the offer was so deviously attractive. And mostly it was because, as the quoted section clearly shows, Carter wagers Jesus would have enjoyed a chance to be like the 39th president, i.e. building Habitat for Humanity houses in Israel, fighting for the little guy, etc. In turn Carter would have had a solid endorsement of his domestic policies when the people failed to understand his brilliance in the future. So much for Jesus’ “singularity,” although having a 2000 year reprieve from a Jimmy Carter-like figure ruling the world is probably the most convincing argument I’ve seen yet for the existence of a Supreme Being.  In Everything to Gain Carter talks about having to lean on God to get him through watching what Reagan was doing to the country--his great Commiserating Buddy in the Sky, this is part and parcel of Carter's much-heralded faith.

I further encourage anyone with the stomach for it to read Living Faith or any of Carter's Christianity-themed books. Case studies in megalomania, justified by a faith he interprets into a truncheon to be used against his political adversaries.

As for my heartfelt apology to Jimmy Carter…well, I’ll issue it on Judgment Day or at the tail end of the UN-sanctioned world election during which Jesus chooses Carter as his VP running-mate. Deal?

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