Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
By now, most people have seen this ad:
I had to watch the video more than once to wrap my mind around it. On the surface, he appears to be repeating the same tired nonsense that circulates on social media. It’s the same non-logic that fuels angry Facebook re-posts about being forced to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” One could easily shrug it off as being no more than an eye-roll-inducing piece of nonsense with a persecution complex.
Except that it’s not.
In every single sentence of Rick Perry’s “Strong” ad, he weaponizes his faith. Not only that, Perry knows exactly what he’s doing. He knows that there is a subset of the American population that thrives on the belief that LGBT people have an agenda and are out to destroy traditional values; that children are punished for praying; that President Obama is not only not a “real” Christian but actively wants to destroy religion (by which he means true Christianity, of course—who really cares about the Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and so forth).
Perry, in his zeal to find persecution around every corner, has forgotten one thing. He’s embracing the wrong kind of strong. Perry imagines that if we force his personal values on every man, woman, and child in this country, we will become “strong.” The Jesus he claims to love never came to beat anyone down. He didn’t come to claim his power and overthrow the Roman government. He didn’t come to weed out the people the Jewish leaders deemed sinful. Heck, he didn’t even condemn the people caught in overt sin. It’s not very likely that Jesus would do anything different in twenty-first century America than he did two thousand years ago. Instead of condemnation, Jesus brought love, mercy, grace, and reconciliation. Those things are far better than whatever Perry has in mind.
Check out this video, a response to Perry’s ad. It’s a nice summary of what else is wrong with the ad: