If you know anything about Christianity (which I do) and you know anything about the current GOP’s political positions (which I unfortunately do), you can’t help but notice the glaring disconnect between the two.
The Republican party, as currently constituted, continuously berates the Democrats for wanting to strengthen social safety nets whereby “the least among us” are cared for – the sick, the dying, the down-and-out, the imprisoned – which is exactly what Christ taught his followers to do. And yet the Republicans decry these very things as evil, while holding themselves out as the real Christians in our society.
Of course, the GOP powers-that-be frame their rhetoric so as to validate non-Christian behavior, by suggesting that when Jesus reminded his flock that they were indeed their brother’s keeper, he actually meant it as merely a serving suggestion, not as a global admonition to do the right thing for its own sake.
The Republicans never fail to trot out the concept of Welfare Queens, who (in some alternate universe created out of whole cloth) are living large on their welfare checks and food stamps. What they never address is the millions living in poverty who rely on such safety nets to feed, house and clothe themselves and their families. The GOP finds it more expedient to encourage the belief that the welfare rolls are full of lazy, undeserving parasites – and the so-called Christians among their ranks are more than happy to accept this notion without question, followed by a sigh of relief that their preferred politicians have proffered a valid excuse for not doing what The Nazarene specifically told them to do.
I was brought up Catholic and, thanks to the rote-learning I endured in Catholic school, I still remember the Biblically-recorded words of Jesus – verbatim. There were no footnotes attached to the concepts stated therein that declared that the poor, sick, hungry or homeless should be subject to political scrutiny before being found as truly wanting. There were no addenda declaring that the “least among us” should exclude those found to be politically on the other side of the aisle. The “least among us” are just that – and alleged Christians who want an excuse for not giving a flyin’ fuck for those “least among us” are as unChristian as the politicians they serve, and invariably vote for.
The Republicans love to point to the Democrats as being godless heathens, the type who uphold principles like a woman’s right to choose, or the right of homosexuals to equality under the law. They pull these well-worn arguments out of their ample bag of tricks, without regard to Christ’s own words to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
The separation of Church and State is invariably ignored by the GOP – whenever and wherever convenient. While praising the pulpit-pounders that spew political rhetoric, they willingly turn a blind eye to said separation that is clearly defined in the Constitution. They ignore what is God’s and what is Caesar’s – and, in the doing, they entice those who want to believe they are good Christians into accepting that the two are inextricably entwined. The glaring exception is the taxation of churches that embroil themselves in the political arguments of the day – at which point the separation of Church and State becomes crystal clear to the party that, in more convenient circumstances, vociferously declares that the separation of Church and State prohibits said taxation.
Let’s get real, shall we?
If you are indeed a follower of Christ, you need only know that social safety nets are in place for the least among us – you don’t demand proof from every individual that their need is legitimate. And you vote for those who want to ensure those safety nets are available, and not for those who are intent on diminishing them, or destroying them outright.
If you are a true Christian, you understand that healthcare should be available to all – and not just those who can afford it. Christ never told you that the poor deserve to die, while the wealthy deserve to live.
If you take your Christianity seriously, you are focused on those who need your help – not on those who want your vote.
If you truly believe in Jesus’s words, you will remember that he taught you to be your brother’s keeper – not the brother you agree with politically, but the brother (or sister) who may not have enough food to eat, sufficient shelter to protect themselves, the medical care they require to live, enough Christian love to sustain them though the worst of times.
Declaring oneself to be a good Christian is easy. Living up to the ideals of true Christianity is something else again. And sad to say, the GOP have honed their skills in appealing to pseudo-Christians who are desperate to be seen as Jesus-followers. So long as their bigotry is recognized as Christian-like behavior, their refusal to help those in need is lauded as commendable, and their precious tax dollars are not used to assist the least among us under any circumstances whatsoever.
IMHO, “Republican Christian” is an oxymoron. You either believe what The Nazarene taught – or you don’t. And if you support the GOP, you have chosen to go against everything Jesus did, everything he preached, and everything he stood for – everything he lived and died for, according to the tenets of your own faith.
“As you do to the least among you, so you do unto me.” And while the least among us hunger and thirst, sicken and die unattended, plead for food and shelter, ask for compassion among the Christian ranks, the Republicans and their adherents hide behind the cross while espousing their alleged Christianity – along with their adamant refusal to walk the walk, when talking the talk seems not only sufficient, but politically expedient.