Religion and Politics

It is conventional wisdom that if you want to stay friends with someone, you don’t discuss religion and politics with them. In the hyper-politicized climate we live in (especially when the election cycle cranks up), discussing politics isn’t optional; it’s required. And, in a lot the circles I run in, religion is the same. Needless to say, this can get me into trouble, especially with Diana. Every time I get political on here, she tells me I can’t say that kind of thing. I mean, it’s not like I’m controversial or anything; anyone who knows me knows I’m the soul of moderation. Secure in the knowledge that at least one person isn’t going to like this, I’m writing it anyway. Almost everything I hear coming from the Republicans lately doesn’t seem to have even a nodding acquaintance with anything Jesus said, did, taught or lived. Which is strange, since these people consider themselves to be followers of Jesus.

Since the Republican primaries started we’ve been treated to an astounding array of callousness, double-talk, stupidity and general disconnectedness (is that a word? If it isn’t, it should be).  What am I talking about?  Check out these examples:

  • In one of the early debates, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked candidate Ron Paul if we should let someone die if they came down with a catastrophic illness and had no health insurance.  When he asked that, people in the audience shouted “YEAH”, then Paul went to agree with them. How compassionate.
  • In another debate, the audience cheered the fact that Rick Perry has signed off on 234 executions during his time as governor.  To top it off, Perry said he has never lost a minute’s sleep worrying if he might have given the order to kill an innocent person.  Wow, Perry ups the ante on Paul and goes for uncompassionate and arrogant.
  • All the candidates, save Ron Paul, have unequivocally stated they would take the country to war against Iran.  Several seem almost eager for the opportunity.  Whatever happened to turning the other cheek and loving your enemies?
  • Newt Gingrich, that paragon of moralitystated that he couldn’t vote for an atheist for President because he wouldn’t have they wouldn’t have the necessary moral fortitude to govern properly.
  • At a time when many Americans are struggling financially, Mitt Romney offered to bet Rick Perry $10,000 that he was never in favor of individual mandates for health insurance.  Wow, he really understands where us regular people are coming from, doesn’t he?

A close friend (and occasional commenter here) Paul Wilson has talked about a phenomenon called “Republican Jesus” on a couple of occasions.  Republican Jesus seems to be cool with:

  • Killing people to show killing people is wrong while ranting about abortion, saying that life is sacred
  • Starting wars
  • Shitting on the poor
  • Lining your own pockets by shitting on the poor
  • Discriminating against people because of their race, religion, economic status or sexual orientation
  • Bitching about “illegal” (a person cannot be illegal) immigrants while profiting by holding them in wage slavery
  • Preaching the “Gospel” (the prosperity kind) from ornate megachurches while people starve just a few blocks away.

Being a good Wesleyan/Arminian, I’m a firm believer in free will.  That means I think you can believe whatever you want to believe.  I also think if you believe any of the points listed in this piece, you can’t call yourself a Christian and retain much credibility.  Hey, it’s just my opinion.