He's the CEO of a big company. He's a good Christian. He loves Jesus. He begs forgiveness from his Lord as greed overpowers his religious intuitions. He wants Jesus to know that he can't help himself even as he bears false witness against the president and sends employees out into the cold because he thinks his profits will shrink if he is forced to provide health care for all of his employees.
The fact that he should not need to be prodded by the government to provide health care for his employees, especially if he wishes to be identified with Jesus, has obviously not occurred to him. The fact that Jesus cared not a whit for wealth or anyone's desire to become rich and that his attempt to claim the Lord helped build his business is wildly unbiblical has not crossed his mind.
Like so many on the extreme right, this CEO (Robert E. Murray of Murray Energy), has linked political ideology with his fundamentalist version of the Christian faith. These extremists, many of whom were convinced that their man would prevail in Tuesday's voting, have been slapped back down to reality. The American people, by a clear majority, were having none of such nonsense!
Murray provides a sharp portrait of how this political/religious confluence has taken shape in the United States. On Wednesday, November 7, he called his staff members together at which time he expressed concern as to the direction the country would take under Obama and then read this prayer: "Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build."
Conceit upon conceit. Profound hypocrisy.
Murray is forced to do nothing. What changed between Tuesday and Wednesday? Nada! Murray obviously has issues with Mr. Obama but the notion that he would have to layoff people because of the election is pure blarney!
The Washington Post (from which much of this information was taken) has printed the prayer in full:
"The American people have made their choice. They have decided that America must change its course, away from the principals of our Founders. And, away from the idea of individual freedom and individual responsibility. Away from capitalism, economic responsibility, and personal acceptance.
"We are a Country in favor of redistribution, national weakness and reduced standard of living and lower and lower levels of personal freedom.
"My regret, Lord, is that our young people, including those in my own family, never will know what America was like or might have been. They will pay the price in their reduced standard of living, and most especially, reduced freedom.
"The takers outvoted the producers. In response to this, I have turned to my Bible and in II Peter, Chapter 1, verses 4-9 it says: 'To faith we are to add goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, kindness; to brotherly kindness, love.
"Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of the enterprises that you have helped us build. We ask for your guidance in this drastic time with the drastic decisions that will be made to have any hope of our survival as an American business enterprise.
Mr. Murray is delusional. And, if he doesn't know that all of this is BS and merely a rationalization to get rid of employees by blaming his own mess upon Mr. Obama, then he is not merely deluded but a fool and perhaps a crazy fool.
Certainly he is a partisan and typically a fundamentalist Christian who has been convinced that because he has accepted Jesus he can do pretty much any damn thing he desires. Such a notion is called "cheap grace." And it doesn't work.
The WaPo notes that the New Republic reported Murray Energy required employees (miners) to attend a Romney campaign event. Murray says that's not true. Furthermore, it was "reported that Murray Energy employees have given more than $1.4 million to Republican candidates for federal office since 2007."
That's OK, of course, unless the employees were "directed" to do so or otherwise compromised.
The worst of it, though, is that Murray Energy has had an environmental problem. "Notably, the company has spilled coal slurry into a creek on seven different occasions."
I suppose Mr. Murray would argue that God put that creek there for him to use which is one way God helped him build his company.
What is especially frightening is that if Romney won, such maggots would be crawling all over our political space, devouring those things which we hope will always most represent our country: honor, integrity, freedom, inclusiveness, and a dedication to build a society in which everyone, as Jefferson put it, has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Mr. Murray is unhappy with the way the election went. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it will cost him more money in terms of health care for his employees. But there's more to it. His hatred of Obama is palpable. Thus in his prayer he not so subtly implies that the Obama administration is unAmerican and something foreign, dangerous.
Mr. Murray desires not to come to grips with the facts. Obama, for one thing, is a Christian, and exemplifies Christianity far better than anyone I've heard of or seen who's part of the fundamentalist spectrum. Mr. Obama has lived a life of dedication to the highest ideals of this country. He is our duly elected and legitimate president; he was not chosen, in opposition to the majority of the American people, by the Supreme Court.
Obama believes, and perhaps this is what sticks most in Mr. Murray's craw, that this nation belongs not just or especially to the rich or the whites or those of one particular political stripe, but to everyone and he understands the meaning of commonwealth, whereby we recognize we that we're all in this enterprise of building a society and a nation together and we have a responsibility to one another, and those who have been more fortunate or more successful should have a greater responsibility to those less fortunate and less successful.
God didn't help Mr. Murray build his company. If he'd read his Bible and stop trying to find quotes to justify his perversity, he'd know that the God of his Jesus doesn't care at all about Mr. Murray's company with these exceptions: He cares that Mr. Murray do all he can to ensure that his employees are treated with respect by providing superior working conditions, that they are given a decent wage and have the best health care available.
Damn. That's hard. And that's why the world is full of phony Christians who spout Scripture to avoid the truth. Like Robert E. Murray.