Mike Huckabee is demonstrating again what John Paul Sartre described so eloquently as “bad faith.” One of Huckabee’s tribe (conservative, evangelical Christians) has again gotten “caught with his pants down.” Huckabee and many others of that tribe are seeking to comfort the offender, Josh Duggar, and minimize the pain that comes from having your baser nature exposed to the public. Now Huckabee’s benevolent response is not without some merit as we should offer comfort to those of our tribe…and others…who have encountered duress even if it is self-imposed. But that comfort does not include overt or subtle excusing of the behavior, attempting to mitigate the offense with lame explanations such as “he made a mistake” or “God has forgiven him.” Yes, he did make a mistake and yes God has forgiven him but what he and many other evangelical Christians fail to see is the real offense—using one’s faith to hide behind and cover up one’s intrinsic human-ness, including “baser instincts.”
Huckabee’s “bad faith” demonstrates the biblical “form of godliness” that “denies the power thereof.” Though I don’t doubt his sincerity, his faith is a suit of clothes that he dons each day and makes him very appealing to his friends, confidantes, and political base. Of course, he sincerely does not know this. He thinks he is a humble Christian servant. But he needs to keep in mind that the Islamist extremists who are beheading people are equally sincere in what they are doing! It is often that which we are most sincere about that hides our darkest secrets.
And that brings me to a core issue in this most recent sexual scandal that is rocking our culture right now. In spite of their “innocence”, evangelical Christians need to wake up and embrace that fact that they are instinctual creatures like God created them to be and if they use their faith in an attempt to obliterate their instinctual nature, it will rise up occasionally and bite the in the butt. I do not think that Jesus intended his teachings to be used as a way of hiding from our instinctual nature but as a way to embrace the whole of our “human-ness” and express it in a mature, responsible manner. But attempting to repudiate these baser impulses always leads to projection and at times to “acting out”—“They call it Reason, using light celestial, just to out do the beasts in being bestial.” (Goethe)
I do not excuse Josh Duggar for his “mistakes.” But I understand! I remember being a horny teen-age boy and having learned that these sexual impulses were “nasty” and “of the devil.” I guess I was blessed/cursed with more guilt than was Josh and managed to not let my youthful lustfulness go quite that far. And I can identify with the response of Josh’s parents who sought to cover up this “indiscretion” for they too were, and are, but human and had this Christian “face” to maintain. But what Mr. Huckabee and the Duggar family need to learn is that their Christian faith needs to seize this opportunity to deepen and to learn that the “Grace of God” that they purport to believe in is providing them an opportunity to lose this Christian “face” and learn that they can then join the human race and still be a Christian. Then there is “forgiveness” that is not just a self-serving, postured contrition which allows one to continue in his/her blindness, to wake up again the next morning and say, “Someone wind me up again and watch me be a Christian.” I know. I’ve been there most of my life and am even now far short of “perfection.” I have not learned even yet to live with these occasional gut-wrenching bouts of “imperfection.”
Once again the “tee-hee” part of my brain wants to smirk and ridicule when another one of the self-righteous crowd gets his hypocrisy exposed. But my “tee-hee-er” does not work as well as it used to as I feel sorry for the Duggar family in some way. It is so painful to face disillusionment and my tendency has always been to “cover my ass” and not learn what is staring me right in the face…and has always been apparent to those that know me the best. I’m reminded of the wisdom of Shakespeare who noted, “Give every man his just deserts and who would escape a whipping.”