Respect, not Tolerance
In today's world, we are often told that tolerance is a good thing, I disagree.…
Poli: Latin for many
Tics: Small blood sucking creatures
In today’s world though, politics and religion have become so intertwined that to talk about the one requires thinking of the other (just where did Separation of Church and State go?!?).
In some ways, I guess the current religio-political nightmare has shown some improvement; in the election of John F. Kennedy it was wondered about electing a Catholic and now we have a Mormon running and making it through the “Christian Litmus Test” (that may have more to do with the Mormons being overwhelmingly Republican and voting in line with the Christian Right than with Christian acceptance).
The Creation of the Modern Neo-Conservative Republican/Christian Alliance
In the late ’70’s and into the ’80’s the United States the influence of Francis Schaeffer [ Correction: where Francis Schaeffer was also instrumental with these Christian Leaders, I meant to reference Paul Weyrich ] began to grow within the Christian Right and he has often been referred to as the Father of the Modern Christian Political Movement. He is often credited by many of the “players” of the movement such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Gary Dobson as a major inspiration.
When I think about the union of these two groups, I have always wondered about what a strange set of bedfellows they make. Both are absorbed in value systems that seem on fundamental levels to be at odds with the other.
The Republican Party has been solidly a pro-business party since 1896 in the eyes of many. As a party there is the fundamental belief that business should be given a freehand and as little interference from government as possible (a dangerous idea to my view if you have no consequences for bad behavior).
This view has laid the fundamental groundwork for two financial crashes, though some say the Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression may have also been manipulated into being by the supported business interests of the party, greed often appears to run hand-in-hand with many of these policies.
The Party’s stance on Personal Responsibility is another area where they seem to be at odds with the ideals of the Christian theology. I agree that people should be responsible for themselves as much as possible, but even with the best planning and intentions, things can go wrong and a safety net to help one recover would seem to be in line with Christian values.
The business policies of the party the last few decades has been such that many people have been forced out of their jobs and yet the party feels no compulsion to help them through the transition, seeming to take a “it’s their own fault” attitude. The more extreme members seem unable to see any link between the policies and the results.
The Riding of Christian Voters for Republican Aims
With the underlying core values of the party of late, I have always thought that unbeknownst to the Christian Right, the Republican Party has been taking them for a ride. Many members of the party may subscribe to Christian Values, but the aspect of the party that is all about business, money and corporate culture are only interested in the voting blocks, not the issues if one looks at how they run their businesses. My Dad often said that “actions speak louder than words” and in this case, what are their actions?
The people who operate in such a fashion likely find the Christian Conservatives easy bedfellows, the vast majority of things that the Christian voting blocks ask for cost little to nothing. The Christian voting block is not asking for money to feed the poor, educate their children, supply health care, redress the damages caused in the service of business’ bottom-line (you would think those who follow a teacher who says things like; when you feed the poor, you feed me, would want these things).
In the last few years we have seen that these voters will often vote against their own best interest in support of candidates that are clearly owned by the business interests. If a candidate does not cut the financial mustard, they are accused of being pro-choice, anti-Israel, pro-gay rights or same-sex marriage. The “dog and pony show” kicks into high gear and sadly the voters drink the Kool-Aid with a smile on their lips and a song on their heart.
So I repeat, I do not think that the Republican Party leadership is Christian any more than they absolutely feel they have to be so they can manipulate a large block of votes on election day. I have noticed several leaders of the Christian Political Arm starting to admit to thinking the same thing.
So look at the actions of the party, outside the realm of religious thought and see if it truly supports the philosophy that Christianity teaches. See if the party will support you when you cost it money.
Many people consider Fox News to be the voice of the Republican Party, a friend of mine recently told me that that is an illusion. Fox News, in his opinion, is the mouthpiece of Corporate Culture and the Mega-Rich and will drop the Republican Party the moment the party is no longer in step. Is it possible that the Republican Party feels the same way about the Christian Right?