Despicable and Evil, yet Pious

February 13th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

Last night I got a chance to watch the documentary ‘Casino Jack and the United States of Money’ which was about the life of the criminal, former Lobbyist – Jack Abramoff and the massive GOP corruption scandal in which he was involved during the W. Bush Administration. This film is as good as it gets in terms of documentaries go – 4 star, 5 star… whatever, Alex Gibney, the director (who also made the documentary about Enron) nailed this and I can’t recommend this highly enough –  this is a Must – see. I’m not going to do a movie review (future blog), however I just want to touch on something that struck me last night: how is it possible for a wicked and evil person to be pious, and I mean religious beyond the average i.e. born – again Christian or Orthodox Jew. It doesn’t make sense…it seems incongruous.
If you see the film and listen to the commentary (I recommend it), Alex Gibney raised the point as well – look: Jack Abramoff –Orthodox Jew (comically converted after seeing ‘Fiddler On The Roof), Ralph Reed – born again Christian, Tom Delay, Michael Scanlon, Bob Ney, and the rest of the thugs are all religious zealots. Well, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Gibney when he theorized that very often religious zealotry and devoted godliness, is in a sense a way of easing one’s conscience; what I’m doing can’t be wrong, God is on my side. I’m the good guy and though bribing people for tens of millions of dollars may seem wrong at face value, it’s a means to an end. They all have this incredible arrogance as though to think ” I’m SPECIAL, I’m not mediocre, I’m allowed to do these things because I’m one of the chosen ones.
I won’t elaborate too much on this and I certainly believe that most ordinary Christians and Jews are good people, WhaDaYaThink ?  how can you rationalize or compartmentalize  such immoral action and with such passion and ambition – not all of these people are pathologically sociopathic.
What do you think ?    

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7 Responses to “Despicable and Evil, yet Pious”

  1. magdalena Says:

    Apparently you just answered your own question. People like this feel justified in their actions with God on their side and elevates them to an untouchable level in the paradoxical behavior described. Religious zealots take many forms, from the extreme fundamentalist to the jihadist. Such men hide behind the skirts of religion in their self righteousness.

  2. Michael Tabor Says:

    This is a comment from KEVIN:

    I wonder how many criminals are in each conceivable sub-cultural category. (?)

    The category of ‘Christian’ or ‘born again’ is, in such a review, only a category. The placement of one in such a category is probably more complex than what we typically conceive. For instance, if scriptures say “no man can judge a person’s soul” (or discern her/his ‘ultimate standing’) the question of exactly who belongs in these kinds of categories is far more mysterious than is convenient for the journalist or statistical maven or ‘anti-apologista.’

    If one would want to project a kind of straw man rather than deal with serious [if boldly imperfect] faith and its commitments (or better examples or genuinely forgiven and changed ?? “agents of faith”), he could easily reference the ‘supposed born again believer who is also found to be a cruel murderer or abuser.’

    This endless straw manning approach tends to fall down, though, at Christ’s phrase: “You will know them by their fruits.”

    How about if we referenced the worst communist tyrant in order to denigrate liberalist theorization (regarding urgent political solutions, say)? Does that seem consistent with better intuitions of justice or ‘the Good’?

    Maybe this would not be too far off from the initial observation (i.e., maybe it strikes a meaningful parallel):
    “Isn’t it strange that a lot of ‘applied liberation theorists’ [Marxian Communists] are deadly, murderous tyrants!”

    And, then, to answer: “No – its not strange; its sin.”

    What is strange is our perpetual love affair with ‘judging things by mere appearances.’
    The ‘Logos-Made-Flesh’ chided against doing that.

    Thanks for the patient reading, guys!


  3. Michael Tabor Says:

    This is an excellent point you’ve raised regarding my illustrating the worst or “straw man” if you will, but this wasn’t an attack on Christianity or Judaism, I just thought it was an interesting factoid & moreover, something teeming with irony that these horrible people can somehow commit these heinous crimes, which is diametrically in opposition to scripture.

    Incidentally, I’ve always found the fact that the Lenins & all the other Marxist’s people who theoretically seem incredibly just and benevolent & who then go on and ultimately turn out to be diabolical devils, just as ironic and confounding.I earnestly believe MAN (exceptions of course) is just greedy and has this insatiable lust for power; so it’s not necessarily the individual per se (I mean it is, but just making a point) but if there is a system, any system that has even the most infintesimally small loophole, I can guarantee you that there will be people out there who will exploit it – human nature.

  4. K. Scot Sparks Says:

    (We can call this here ‘The politically INcorrect box’)

    In candor, without actively ‘turning to’ and ‘walking with’ GOD, we will ALL eventually be found to be fakes…
    …some subtly so, some violently so, some greedily so, some self-righteously so, some through a self-righteousness about the self righteous (…”so glad I’m not like THAT there FAKE!!!”), some via a narcissistic sense of entitlement, and on and on it goes…

    Help us, LORD.

  5. Sal Paradise Says:

    The louder they pray, the less they are to be trusted. For me, it’s as simple as that.

  6. rick Says:

    all very true. good job kss

  7. K. Scot Sparks Says:

    …Thanks for the kind word, Rick.

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