Stephen Baldwin And The Applauding Masses

A debate rumbled on Moscow’s Vision 2020 after this little gem was unearthed last week:

> “I am not happy about the way things are. I pray for President Obama every
> single day. But tell you what. Homey made this bed, now he has got to lay
> in it.”
>
> Stephen Baldwin at the CPAC Convention (February 19, 2010)

Prediction: Any conservative political action movement that relies on C-list movie actors to articulate its principles and encourage its foot soldiers is one sadly destined to succeed in a country as divided and dumbed-down as this one. No, I’m not in an optimistic mood.

You didn’t think I’d say “succeed,” did you? I believe there’s an enormous market for the kind of flip, vapid, ignorant comments we hear regularly from what used to be the Right’s fringe, and the disrespect and thinly-veiled racism of referring to the President of the United States as “homey” is just the beginning.

It’s hard for me to imagine any scenario under which a movement or organization would benefit from the identification of the “public” Stephen Baldwin as a foot soldier. But he and a lot of cool and famous dudes and dudettes are used to further agendas and positions more lasting than the venues from which they come. The political Right has no inherent obligation to be discerning. The Christian Right does. It’s called discernment, and discernment is supposed to be part of the arsenal of every Christ follower.

But, of course, the gullibility of the Christian Right is legendary and at times apparently limitless. The “celebrity” conversion — and I’m being generous here in attributing “celebrity” to the least articulate, least attractive, and least accomplished of the Four Baldwin Brothers — is seen as some sort of ticket to the arena of cultural legitimacy, kind of like a feather in our collective cap, a cap we gleefully acquire and hope the other kids will find cool on Monday morning. A predictable spiritual vacuum — and examples of gross analytical vapidity like Baldwin’s — results from an expression of faith that seeks cultural legitimacy from those it ought to instead lovingly deliver from a debauched culture.

When Christiandom exults in the endorsement of those who know little and practice less regarding the faith — when the culturally-compromised Church treats conversion as a stamp of approval from the converted instead of as an intimate, joyous, and comprehensive spiritual rebirth — it invites the kind of unabashed dumbness that makes “the President as homey” headlines. Being “on fire for the Lord,” especially as a celebrity, shouldn’t be synonymous with a scorched-earth, blistering, out-of-control approach to anything. But applause followed Baldwin’s demonstration of doofus-ness; why shouldn’t he continue?

Tragically, the Christian Right, in Hollywood or in the Beltway, stumbles all over itself to shove a microphone in the hands of celebs who say they’re joined with Jesus, and intelligent people on the Right and on the Left, as well as apolitical evangelicals concerned with the witness of the Gospel, scratch their heads and wonder what kind of political movement would be so devoid of thoughtfulness that it would turn to the mumbling, dense, running-on-intellectual-fumes bit-part actor Stephen Baldwin for analysis?

I’m afraid that Stephen Baldwin, since his conversion to Christianity, has not exemplified very well the mandate to love the Lord Jesus with all of his mind. He’s a couple of years past the “new believer” stage wherein such excesses are likely, and there’s no real reason, evidently, why he should grow up — as a man and as a Christian. Nothing in his acting career brings about the kudos and spotlight he enjoys now. If I were Stephen’s pastor, I would pull him off the public stage and spend a great deal of time purging him of right-wing cultural “christiandom” and building in him instead a deep, abiding, intelligent faith not easily tickled by shifting winds of political doctrines — particularly when the source of those doctrines come in from very nasty storm clouds gathered on the Right. But there appears to be no evidence of pastoring in Stephen’s faith walk.

The point here is not Stephen Baldwin, although its his comment especially and his prominence in Right-wing circles both secular and spiritual in general, that provokes my analysis. What Stephen Baldwin thinks about anything is about as important as what I think about anything — which is to say, not too terribly significant to the orderly running of the universe. But he’s an example of much of what’s very wrong with Christendom and politics, culture and civic duty, these days. Where he was crass, careless, and crude, though, others with much more power are, in the name of Christ and the doctrines that speak of him, vicious beyond measure. Next up, then — the foul musings of a Virginia legislator on the relation between abortion and disability, comments uglier, I guarantee, than anything you’ll hear in a very, very long time.

3 Responses to “Stephen Baldwin And The Applauding Masses”

  1. Ashwin says:

    Just because Stephen Baldwin disagrees with you does not give you the license to call him whatever names that occur to you on the spur of the moment.

    If I recall correctly, you had objected to just such a treatment when a certain Dontbia Nass had meted it out to you.

    This wanton mud-slinging cannot be good for you. It is in-fact quite typical of a certain type of leftwing busybody. That is not tolerable from you. You can and should write more edifying posts.

  2. Oh, Ashwin, come on — I didn’t call Baldwin names as much as I chastised him for his disrespectful, careless comments about the President, and the Religious Right’s continued hailing of stars, celebs, and spokespersons who may or may not truly know Christ as Savior, but who definitely embarrass themselves and the Church when they say things like, “Homey made his bed . . . “

    No good can come from our continued reliance on the uninformed and undistinguished, or from mixing the cause of Christ with the cause of either of the political parties.

    Keely

  3. Ashwin says:

    Ms Mix said: “No good can come from our continued reliance on the uninformed and undistinguished, or from mixing the cause of Christ with the cause of either of the political parties.”

    On this we agree. I will now expect you to practise what you preach. No more calling on the name of the Lord to score political points.

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