Meanwhile, Back at McCain Headquarters . . .

Barack Obama, that spry Prometheus of the Religious Politicking Heavens, graciously offers observers of Faith and Values outreach something to … Continued

Barack Obama, that spry Prometheus of the Religious Politicking Heavens, graciously offers observers of Faith and Values outreach something to write (and even think) about nearly every day.

He commandeers pulpits and makes inspiring speeches. He schmoozes with fence- straddling Evangelical and Catholic clergy. Without any prompting, he offers to play out George W. Bush’s third term by expanding his program of faith-based initiatives.

But what about John McCain? When it comes to politics and religion demonstrably less writing and thought have been devoted to him. In what follows I will present what I see as The Wonky Consensus regarding the Maverick’s F and V outreach. In order to balance things out, I will then discuss The Counter-Intuitive Wisdom.

The Wonky Consensus: John McCain is in big trouble. For starters he has neither the ability nor the desire to engage in the types of God Talk that Evangelicals expect from a candidate. Greatly exacerbating the problem is a campaign apparatus that seems to lack coherent leadership, let alone vision and expertise, for engaging in complex cross-country, multi-denominational, religious outreach.

It emerges from all of this that he is not only losing religious voters, but Enthusiastic Religious Voters whose pilgrimage to the election booth marks the last of a thousand sacrifices they make on a candidate’s behalf. Obama, for his part, does have ERVs in the form of Progressive Evangelicals who are busily converting small, but crucial, percentages of their co-religionists to the Democratic Gospel.

Having fumbled away his ability to exploit Obama’s Wright/Pfleger associations by catastrophically hitching his wagon to Hagee/Parsley, McCain is now backed into a corner. He is forced to find a running mate with major street cred’ among conservative Evangelicals and Catholics.

The Counter-Intuitive Wisdom: While Obama’s gold-tongued homilies mesmerize the punditry, a stealthy campaign of social conservative outreach is starting to take shape. On abortion, on (state) amendments pertaining to gay marriage, and on the question of United States Supreme Court appointees McCain offers the policy product lines that conservative Evangelicals and Catholic consumers crave.

Even better: Florida and California have anti-gay marriage initiatives on the line and where there are anti-gay marriage initiatives there are ERVs clutching bullhorns and working the phone banks for the GOP.

Best of all: Two stories in the Associated Press and Washington Times point to Conservative Evangelicals breaking the huddle and shouting “McCain on (November) 4!” (Though these articles are referring to the Senator gaining support among the most conservative faction of Evangelical America, not all of Evangelical America).

Last, there exists the possibility that Obama’s aggressive religious outreach may be alienating small, but potentially significant constituencies. Look at the exit polls from the Democratic primaries and you will see that the Senator from Illinois went to town among the No Religion People and believers who were neither Jews nor Christians. If they become concerned about Obama futzing with Church/State boundaries they might conceivably help undermine the wonky consensus.

For more information about religion and the candidates check out Faith 2008 by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
July 9, 2008; 9:58 AM ET


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  • Anonymous

    I’d think most fundamentalist Xians would be put off by McCain’s divorce and the adultery that preceded it. Most people have forgotten that McCain denounced the USA three days into his captivity in Vietnam, even though the bushistas launched a stealth campaign among the rabid right in 2000 to get the word out. Most reasonable people realize the stress that McCain was under at the time. Many US servicemen in the same situation did the same thing. And even the biggest knuckle draggers now realize that the “McCain has an illegitimate black child” meme was an overtly racist attack by the same bushistas.But many Xians – notably those who post at On Faith – take observance of the Ten Commandments as something of a litmus test, especially this year, when religious beliefs are front and center. Yes, I know that the Xians held their noses and voted in droves for Reagan (to date, our only divorced president), but times have changed in the ensuing 28 years. I don’t know if they’re willing to give McCain the same pass, especially when his first wife, Carol, waited patiently for him during his captivity, and more-especially as her disfigurement in a car accident contributed to McCain’s philandering and their eventual divorce.But, we’ll see. The 10 Commandment-thumping Xians may well be able to compartmentalize McCain’s admitted infidelity, even as they cling to imagined “sins” of Obama.

  • Reasonable not hateful

    Basically, Anonymous underestimates evangelicals, and his terminology “fundamentalist Xians” illustrates either a disdain or a misconception of who the evangelical community is. Christians FORGIVE… that is the first thing. But they don’t look beyond things that Obama supports. Abortion, Gay marriage, etc etc. All you have to do is look at the alternative- Obama- and its VERY easy to vote for McCain. Given McCain’s tough life- and Obama’s obvious association with his strange church, and his voting record that reveals his leftist leanings(far left, I might add) Christians will hold their nose and vote McCain.The choice is clear. Experience – with a moderate, or vast inexperience- with someone that is attempting to move to the middle….. (Obama)…

  • Daniel in the Lion’s Den

    McCain’s wife is too young for him. Surely, I am not the only person who has noticed that. I would not judge a person on something like that, but then, I am not a Republican.

  • Paganplace

    “Without any prompting, he offers to play out George W. Bush’s third term by expanding his program of faith-based initiatives.”Hey, I’m not tremendously-comfortable with the Church-state issues of faith-based initiatives, but why is the press ignoring the fact that Obama’s version represents a *reform* of certain Unconstitutional practices in a Bush version that McCain would maintain? The press is supposed to be *informing* us, not telling us what we think about things a lot of us haven’t even seen. As fun as merely polarizing us must be. Faith-based initiatives were a bad idea in the first place, but this constitutes *fixing* them, not leaving the poor even worse off, and I think a lot of people could reallize this if we got to the issues and proposals. Guaranteed that the Bible-thumpers will ignore McCain’s flagrant ‘adultery’ even as they try to cast ‘doubt’ on Obama’s character.

  • Anonymous

    “I’d think most fundamentalist Xians would be put off by McCain’s divorce and the adultery that preceded it.” Anon forgets even President Jimmy Carter by his own admission was guilty of “New Testament” adultery :“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”Matthew 5:28

  • Mr Mark

    Dear RNH -Looks like you’re one of those Xians for whom compartmentalizing comes easy.As far as McCain’s stand on abortion – until May of this year, McCain wanted to change the Party’s platform on abortion. He was against a proposed Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a man-woman proposal and broke very publicly with bush and the Rs on the issue in 2004.Perhaps you find McCain’s flip-flops on these issues endearing…but what makes you believe that, if elected, he wouldn’t flop right back to his earlier positions, positions that are anathema to you and other Xians?

  • blah

    Ever since the Rev Wright debacle, IMO Barama has no right to address anything religious…. Period.To attempt to try and seem like the rest of America at this point will only harm his image further.To be honest, his comments and actions about his own religion, pastor, White Grandmother and numerous other dealings during the primary have tainted most from ever voting for him… Even if he showed up with his bags of money like Nixon did… Most will not touch him with a 10-foot pole.

  • blah

    Ever since the Rev Wright debacle, IMO Barama has no right to address anything religious…. Period.To attempt to try and seem like the rest of America at this point will only harm his image further.To be honest, his comments and actions about his own religion, pastor, White Grandmother and numerous other dealings during the primary have tainted most from ever voting for him… Even if he showed up with his bags of money like Nixon did… Most will not touch him with a 10-foot pole.

  • Fred

    Mr. Mark wrote: Perhaps you find McCain’s flip-flops on these issues endearing…but what makes you believe that, if elected, he wouldn’t flop right back to his earlier positions, positions that are anathema to you and other Xians?And what makes you Obama fans so sure where Obama really stands on the issues? He’s been the greatest flip-flopper yet.

  • Jim

    Hey, why is anyone surprised Obama is for continuing the faith-based initiatives? I mean, come on, he has to pay back his Uncle Wright somehow after throwing him under the bus. You don’t think he’s planning on steering our tax dollars to Wright?

  • Mr Mark

    JLL writes:”Point 2 — Democrats had no problem “compartmentalizing” Clinton’s infedilty, even with his carrying out those affairs in the oval office with a young intern while serving as our president.”First off, Clinton’s affair with Lewinski was not revealed prior to the 1996 Election. McCain’s infidelity, on the other hand, is well-known. People voting for McCain are doing so with full knowledge that he is an adulterer.BTW – that “young intern” was an ADULT at the time of her affair with Clinton. Doesn’t make it less unseemly, but there’s no need to imply Clinton was engaging in child rape as were any number of priests and RW politicians like Mark Foley.Second – and most important – the Dems are not the ones calling themselves “God’s Own Party,” nor are they they ones holding their candidates to some “Xian standard” of morality. According to Jesus, anyone who divorces and goes on to marry another person is committing adultery, and adultery is one of the no-no’s of the 10 Commandments. The religious right gets all up in arms about such things, not the Ds. But one must question the religious right’s commitment to these things when they lambaste Ds for such actions while giving Rs a pass. Why is that?

  • Steven

    I wish the Rovian “flip flop” terminology would go the way of bell-bottoms and lava lamps. Is anyone in America besides present company tired of the phrase “flip flop?” Does it take an entire human generation to get past a campaign smear tactic? “Flip flop” smacks of GWB so much that when I read the words, I hear his Texas drawl in the voice. It was a useful demonization tool from 2000 to 2006, but haven’t we learned that perhaps there is merit in “changing one’s mind” about things, in light of evidence, or a changing situation, or heaven-forbit a change in public sentiment, or by necessity?I hope that whoever inhabits that presidential post in 2009 will be willing to hear his cabinet members, be open to communication, not stifle debate or reason, not be a “perpetual campaigner” or purely idealogically-driven, nor aspire to complete insider-loyalty, and will actually serve the real needs of this country without the tools of fear, empty rhetoric, and politics-as-usual.Is that a pipe dream?

  • Steven

    I almost forgot: “patriotism.” How many besides me have had their minds forever changed about what that word means, given our last 8 years? How have we destroyed that word and that concept by political pandering over the last 8 years? It’s a hugely different concept from my naive, 1960 childhood, and it gets uglier every year.

  • Mr Mark

    Dear Steve -Yes, flip-flop is a stupid, Rovian term, but it’s a good strategy to paint McCain as a flip-flopper as it neutralizes the term when used against Obama.

  • Joe

    Once again we see the LIE that Obama supports gay marriage. Once again we see so-called Christians LIE for political gain. I suspect they are more Republican than Christian. And I agree with Rev. Wright: God damn America for killing innocent children. To somehow think that the US is a holy nation is laughable. We’re the modern version of the Roman Empire. If Jesus came back today, we’d have him in Gitmo for treason in a New York minute.

  • Farnaz

    Cultural and observant Christians and Catholics are the overwhelming majority of voters in this country and they are the population(s) that McCain will have to worry about. Those among them whose supreme concerns are with abortion and gay marriage have their boy. Add to that, his war record, his position on taxes, his position on national security, his record on bipartisanship, and you have a force that should not be underestimated. I’m sure Sen. Obama is aware of this.

  • Farnaz

    Cultural and observant Christians and Catholics are the overwhelming majority of voters in this country and they are the population(s) that McCain will have to worry about. Those among them whose supreme concerns are with abortion and gay marriage have their boy. Add to that, his war record, his position on taxes, his position on national security, his record on bipartisanship, and you have a force that should not be underestimated. I’m sure Sen. Obama is aware of this.

  • Farnaz

    Cultural and observant Christians and Catholics are the overwhelming majority of voters in this country and they are the population(s) that McCain will have to worry about. Those among them whose supreme concerns are with abortion and gay marriage have their boy. Add to that, his war record, his position on taxes, his position on national security, his record on bipartisanship, and you have a force that should not be underestimated. I’m sure Sen. Obama is aware of this.

  • Mr Mark

    blah sez:”Ever since the Rev Wright debacle, IMO Barama has no right to address anything religious…. Period.”Following your logic, ever since the SCOTUS installed bush as the unelected president of the USA, no American has had the right to complain about vote fraud, the dismantling of the Constitution and the erosion of our civil liberties, as not enough Americans took to the streets to fight against the clear assaults on our democracy.In Blah’s world, any unsavory action taken or words spoken by a person in a position of authority over someone taints that person with the action/word and forever silences them on addressing the subject at hand.

  • Reasonable not hateful

    Again, Mr Mark-(Apparently you did not read the whole post)I don’t trust either of them. Obama will tax people that employ others(real good idea in this crappy economy) and is inexperienced- but has a silver tongue. I suppose you are the type of lib that will go for any Democrat, so it probably does not matter.As long as the government, which is ill equipped to actually do so, “helps people”.McCain is a somewhat better choice than what the governator was to this Californian. (He bites as he has given in to the spenders up in Sac town, I am sure you vote for those idiots too)I digress. Bush has ruined everything with his lack of true conservatism and corrupt staffing in the administration,among other things So people will take anything outside of most Pubs. I guess that Obama can only lose the election if he blows it himself, which I think is entirely possible. Actually, I am hoping maybe Obama wins so people will see what it is like when you have incompetency (Like carter) in the White House. His only tack is to try and associate McCain with Bush, which does not say much for him as he can’t stand on his own wishy washy policies and yellingIt will be a close election, but the tea leaves tell me the people will fall for the young kid.

  • TJ

    Until McCain gets rid of that stupid pause followed by the I-just-had-an-accident-in-my-pants look, I don’t think his policy ideas will matter much.

  • Reasonable not hateful

    Mr Mark-Still hot and bothered about 2000 and the Supreme Court decision? If gore had wanted to recount EVERYTHING, that would have not happened. It’s his own fault. You disagree that the Supreme Court is the final arbitrar of lawsuits in this country? Bush was duly elected, dude, get over it.Athena- Stop reading Media Matters or some other lib website. You are a hoot. I have heard enough from Obama to see elitism. Typical lib that was to socialize everything, and increase taxes at will. All you have to do is look at his church and see what he is

  • wiccan

    Reasonable not hateful-Can you tell me how we are going to fund the necessary expenses of the US and retire this trillion+ debt Bush and company has saddled us with if we don’t raise taxes? Or should we just admit we are a wholly owned subsidiary of China?

  • Mr Mark

    Reasonable not hateful writes:”Mr Mark-Still hot and bothered about 2000 and the Supreme Court decision?”Oh, I’d say that in retrospect, 70+% of the country is now hot and bothered about what has transpired since the SCOTUS installed bush and his crew of mendacious ghouls in the WH in 2000.That said, I admire your tenacity, fighting on as one of an ever-shrinking minority in this country. Permanent minority status for the Rs may turn out to be the lasting legacy of bush-Cheney, and I would be the first in line to thank them for making it so!

  • Mr Mark

    Dear RNH -Obama will win in a landslide over McCain.That said, I’m not convinced that McCain will be the R nominee. He is a severely lackluster candidate. A poll taken this week asked voters to describe McCain in a single word. “Old” was the response given most often.Rs have no connection to or enthusiasm for McCain. He’s already something of an embarrassment as a candidate – and that’s on his own terms, not in comparison to Obama. Here in OC, CA, the R party just announced that they will take their money and sit out the election unless new R leadership is elected in DC. If I was Boehner, I’d be very nervous.The Rs wanted desperately to run against Hillary. Were she the candidate, we would be previewing the scandals of the Clinton presidency 24/7. But Obama won, and all of those paid-n-packaged attacks that worked against Ds since Clinton left are now worthless, and the Rs haven’t the resources to build a similar wall of slime against Obama.The displeasure with McCain and Rs in general extends well beyond Ds. Many Rs feel the same way. I would not be surprised if the Rs smoke-filled room brokers make a move against McCain before the convention, leak horrible information about him (health?) and force him to step aside. They could then put forward Colin Powell or even Condi Rice to run against Obama. This August Surprise would energize the Rs and give the media something new to obsess about. Worst for Obama, he would immediately become old news as the media turned an uncritical spotlight on the “new” R candidate and rode the story right up to the election.The days of Goldwater Rs taking a defeat on principle are long gone. Rs are all about winning, and winning every time. They know that McCain’s looming defeat will set the Party back decades, and that they cannot allow.I look for the August Surprise, or an utter defeat for the Rs this November.

  • Arminius

    Mr Mark,Yours is an interesting take on the present sad condition of the GOP. I must admit I never considered that McCain might be thrown under the bus (The Straight Talk Express?) by his own party. Highly interesting, but I doubt it would happen. It would take too long for another candidate to build a machine. Also, forget Powell – I admire the guy, in spite of his UN speech, which he readily admits was the greatest mistake he ever made – but Powell has more sense. They tried back in the 90′s, and he told them where to go. Rice? I dunno. Also, don’t forget that Shrub and Cheney might engineer an October Surprise to help McCain. The fear factor again. Makes me want to puke.

  • jessica

    What’s so funny is-No one in Barack Obama’s family can speak Spanish”At a town hall meeting in Georgia this morning, presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama told an audience that, “you need to make sure that your child can speak Spanish.” Speaking in Powder Springs, Ga., the Illinois Senator said that the nation’s chief priority should not be for immigrants to learn English, but for American children to learn Spanish. “Senator Obama’s idea is characteristic of an elitist mindset declaring that it is not the job of immigrants to America to learn English, but that it the job of Americans to learn the language of the immigrants,” said Mauro E. Mujica, Chairman of U.S. English, Inc. “This runs counter to our proud history as a melting pot and counter to the belief of most Americans. Clearly, Senator Obama has spent too much time at the lectern instead of interacting with the American people.”

  • Steven

    Jessica:”the nation’s chief priority..”????Really?¿Hay una prioridad nacional para aprender español?

  • Steven

    Mr. Mark:Tun Sie Sie erhalten überhaupt das Gefühl, das we’ Re umgeben von den Idioten?(I’m not sure how accurate this is…)

  • jessica

    Steven-In an effort to pander a few hispanic votes- Obama has offended the majority.Cuiusvis hominis est errare; nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.And what about Jesse Jackson’s comments. The worst of it isn’t out yet. It will make people think. I agree there are idiots here and I’m amazed Obama still inspires adoration in his first followers. They don’t know they are under the bus?

  • Steven

    Jessica, Those of us concerned about the future of our country aren’t worried too much about the “national priority” of learning Spanish at the expense of English as a national language.I’m sorry if I sound snotty, I need to eat!

  • Steven

    Jessica thanks. That’s the one I found too, look at the bottom and you’ll see the source.

  • Franklin T.

    Can we trust McCain?

  • Anonymous

    Anybody would say everything against his will if a gun is pointed at him. The video just shows the stupidity of people who thinks McCain was serious when he was made to “confess” things that undermine America.

  • Mr Mark

    ANONYMOUS writes:This from the crowd that loves to trumpet the “people died from their belief in Christ” meme.Yes, one of the Xian’s favorite absurdities is the idea that Jesus musta been god, otherwise, why would so many people go to their deaths for him, rather than renouncing their faith? Of course, we known from the writings of Pliny that back in the day, most Xians faced with the choice of dying for Jesus or renouncing him squealed like pigs and renounced Jesus faster than you could say “bush is a lying idiot” or “I don’t see crucifixion working for me.”But for the sake of the discussion about McCain denouncing the USA a mere three days into his captivity, let’s stipulate that some Xians DID have the strength of their convictions to die rather than to renounce Jesus. Obviously, not everyone will “say everything against his will if a gun is pointed at him.”What does that say about McCain? That he didn’t have the courage of his convictions about the USA that the ancient Xians had about Jesus? That loyalty to one’s country is something easily tossed aside to save one’s skin?Comments?

  • Mr Mark

    ANONYMOUS writes:This from the crowd that loves to trumpet the “people died from their belief in Christ” meme.Yes, one of the Xian’s favorite absurdities is the idea that Jesus musta been god, otherwise, why would so many people go to their deaths for him, rather than renouncing their faith? Of course, we known from the writings of Pliny that back in the day, most Xians faced with the choice of dying for Jesus or renouncing him squealed like pigs and renounced Jesus faster than you could say “bush is a lying idiot” or “I don’t see crucifixion working for me.”But for the sake of the discussion about McCain denouncing the USA a mere three days into his captivity, let’s stipulate that some Xians DID have the strength of their convictions to die rather than to renounce Jesus. Obviously, not everyone will “say everything against his will if a gun is pointed at him.”What does that say about McCain? That he didn’t have the courage of his convictions about the USA that the ancient Xians had about Jesus? That loyalty to one’s country is something easily tossed aside to save one’s skin?Comments?

  • TomfromNJ1

    My big problem is not the person or the party, but rather the hypocrisy. I am old enough to remember when Adalai Stevenson ran and the Conservatives campaigned against him because he was divorced (but not remarried). But when Reagan came along, not only was he divorced and remarried but his second wife was pregnant before the wedding but nary a word was said. Not only did the Conservatives say a word, but the Liberals did not either (thus I do not see them as as hypocritical as the right although they are far from perfect). How scandalized the Conservatives were with regard to Clinton and Lewinski. Why they could not move fast enough on impeachment to remove him from office. But when it is a Republican like Vitter, not only do we not hear them clamoring for his head, but he seems to be accepted. And, while the morality is the same in my faith (I know others would distinguish oral sex from vaginal – for some a lesser sin and for others a greater sin), clearly Clinton broke no law as far as I know since by her testimony is was not only consensual, but she in fact initiated it. But Vitter has been accused in both LA and DC where, I believe, prostitution is illegal. Conservatives like McCain or Gingrich who dump a wife or two are totally overlooked by the self-proclaimed “family values” people. Family men who teach Sunday school like Carter are routinely ridiculed. But I do not think it has anything to do with religious values, these people will try to use religion to achieve their own very non-religious views.Now since this is a religious forum, I must state that God did not seem to pay a lot of attention to personal morality. Clearly there were a great number of people at the time who would have had far greater moral principles than King David, yet God picked him. Jesus picked 12 people to start His Church – one betrayed Him, one denied Him, and one doubted Him that we know about. Surely He could have done better but chose not to. Maybe there is a lesson here. The story of the selection Solomon tells us what to look for in leaders. And while morality is good, in this case it takes a back seat to wisdom. I have many friends and relatives whose morality would put most politicians to shame, but I do not believe that qualifies them to be president. That leads to the question of what do these people REALLY want? It is clearly not an anti-abortion policy because since the Supreme Court gave us Roe v Wade we have had almost 18 years of Conservatives who mouthed “right to life” (although most have a different understanding of it than the Catholic Bishops in their seamless garment approach) and not a move was made towards a constitutional amendment by any of them. Yet, as soon as they took office, both Reagan and Bush the younger immediately got very large tax cuts for the very wealthy passed. I think the appropriate scripture here is “by their fruits, you shall know them.” Bush the Elder took a more responsible attitude and raised taxes and they renounced him. I think that says a lot.It is my opinion that the Conservatives in power (not every person who claims to be a Conservative) do not really want to change the abortion law. It is too good of a campaign issue. Similarly with wars going on, gas prices almost as high per gallon as bottled water from a vending machine, and jobs going overseas as we stand by watching, what is the big issue? Gay marriage! Now the percentage of people who are gay is a small minority and the number of those who want to marry is even smaller. But somehow, that becomes a defining issue of the day (and ironically, I do not think it would have ever been an issue had the far right not initiated laws which discriminated against gays – under the guise of pro marriage to be sure). I would solve the whole thing by taking the government out of marriage altogether. It should be left up to the individual’s religion. We see religion as a sacrament and the government should not be allowed to interfere. I am ashamed that when I was a boy, there were leaders in my religion in some states that conformed to state laws that outlawed interracial marriages. The church should have stood against them. Now my religion forbids gay marriage. But I know the Unitarians approve. In a country of religious freedom, why should this be a government decision between these two beliefs? No doubt someone will complain that I am ignoring those with no religious beliefs. This is not the case, they too have beliefs and could be accommodated, but this is a religious site. But that is not my point. My point is that these so-called Conservative Christians are the antithesis of what Christianity is all about. They represent the hypocrisy that Jesus was constantly condemning. They seem to have missed the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan and the question to which it was the answer – those who have very different beliefs may well be better people than we are. A Pat Robertson and his kind condemn AIDS as God’s punishment for homosexuality conveniently overlooking the fact that in some countries it is a largely heterosexual disease and more importantly ignoring the word of God where when Jesus is asked “who sinned, this man or his parents” made it quite clear that illness is a natural thing and not used by God as a punishment. But they know that they can get the votes of a lot of people who do not want to study, think and reason on their own. If the issues were put to people for a vote one by one, the majority would clearly vote in favor of health care, against gun proliferation, etc. In short, they would vote for their own interests as a group and not to favor a few at the top. So to get us to elect people who will favor those who have the big bucks to fund their campaigns (thus prolonging a vicious circle), it is to their advantage to divide us with emotional issues that have little or no bearing on what is important. If we keep falling for these, it is our own fault – we deserve what we get.