Christian Conservative Politics: The Death Of Democracy
Religious rhetoric has thoroughly saturated the political platform of the conservative right. From the campaign trail, to the floor of the House and Senate, prescriptions for a national religion, and surrender of the democratic process to the authority of the Christian Bible, are rampant. Our children’s textbooks are being bastardized with a disingenuous reinterpretation of history, and a massive media campaign supporting a Christian Reconstructionist misinterpretation of the Constitution is in full swing.
All the Nation has to do is turn to God. This is the answer that is proposed. The constitution should be interpreted as subject to the Bible and our legal system governed by Biblical principle. America is proclaimed to be a Christian Nation, and Christendom makes it clear that it has every intention of claiming America. God bless America. One nation under God.
What are these laws and Biblical principles that are being proposed? Do they have a formula to solve the economic crisis? Many prosperity Christians will recite a litany of bible verses supporting the notion that laissez-faire capitalism is the godly form of biblical economics, while at least as many others will point to the socialist principles that Jesus demonstrated. Whatever lessons might be gleaned are general, often contradictory, and always open to a myriad of interpretations. There is nothing close to a practical answer in the bible that could even begin to address our global challenges, unless we’re finally ready to turn over the money changers tables and feed the masses.
Is there something in the bible that can help bring our troops home from Afghanistan? The biblical plans for that area don’t include peace. Christian conservatives in America have been avidly supporting Israel for decades because they need the Jewish people to be in control of Jerusalem so that Jesus can come back and convert 144,000 of them and then kill the rest. Many evangelicals believe that Iran is the new satanic power to rise up, just as it was Iraq before that, and Lebanon before that, and let’s not forget the Palestinians. There’s always a new boogeyman, and new interpretation of current events, to replace last months, and last year’s, interpretation of events, proving that the anti-Christ is always nigh and the ‘end-times’ are perpetually at hand.
You do not want a group of people convinced that it is God’s will that the world will end via a cataclysmic war in the middle-east to be in charge of foreign policy. George W. was a true believer in this nonsense, telling President Chirac that the demons Gog and Magog were fighting it out in the middle-east. Look what his foreign policy did for America, and to several other countries.
Is there something the Bible, and Christian teachings, can do to help stop the oil gusher in the gulf, and prevent further such catastrophes? The same politicians that called for a state proclaimed day of prayer, that achieved absolutely nothing, are calling for the further deregulation of the oil industry and an increase in drilling. Corporations that have done everything to break the public trust are being given the full faith of the Christian conservative politicians who profit from their generous financial support.
Does the Bible provide us with any answers to combat the environmental devastation we’ve created, and the scientifically proven global warming that we face? While many Christians embrace their role of steward, and work diligently to be responsible citizens of this planet, many of the Christian conservative politicians treat the environment with open contempt and careless disregard. Senator James Inhofe explained, while he was busily denying global warming, that we should have no concern for the environment, because, after the great flood with Noah, God promised that he would never ruin the earth again.
Does the bible have any rules or prescriptions regarding civil rights, equal rights, women’s rights, or minority rights? Sure it does, but they’re not good. Women are second class citizens, completely subservient to the will of men, and slavery is a biblical institution. Rand Paul’s proposal to allow discrimination fits right in. Christianity, like other religions, is exclusive. If you’re not with it, you’re against it. George Bush senior stated that non-believers should not be considered American citizens. The fact that the father didn’t have a fifth grader’s understanding of the Constitution should make it much less surprising that his son is an idiot.
The laws of the United States are based on English common law, not the Bible. The principles of American law are traced through this provenance back to Roman law, not Hebrew. It was the non-Christian Romans who introduced civil law, trials by jury, and the concept of innocent until proven guilty. These principles are found nowhere in the Bible. The purpose of a written law was to protect people from the potentially abusive power of the state, or a majority; not to define a god’s rules and religious prescriptions for his subjects. Where these principles are clearly evident in the Constitution and the development of American law, they are clearly absent and often contradicted in the Christian Bible and Decalogue
The Bible, and Christianity, have no answers for the problems that we face. Conservative politicians and preachers, harder and harder to tell apart these days, will continuously repeat that the nation needs to turn to God. They will say that our answers will lie in faith in God. They promise that all the nation’s problems will be cured if America will proclaim its allegiance to God and follow God’s law. None of these promises include what this actually means or how any of these things will happen. No plans are presented, just turn everything over to the God, or his church, and it will be taken care of.
From the platform they have presented thus far; If we outlaw women’s rights to control their own bodies, and make ‘the gay’ illegal, everything will be OK. If we tighten up the borders, in the name of Jesus of course, and keep out all them illegals, that will help too. Apparently God has a strict immigration policy. He doesn’t like them “ferners”; especially the brown ones that can’t speak American.
Those seem to be the only things we have to do. Get rid of ‘the gay’, take state control of women’s bodies, keep America for the Amerikans, have an Israel centered foreign policy (even more so than it already is), and oh yeah, one more little thing, completely give up all democratic principles and policies in exchange for the authority of the church. There will be no answers to any of the challenges we face. None have been offered, and none of any practical worth will be forthcoming.
Biblical law and biblical principles are not democratic. This is not a secret. This is not an insult. This is a fact. Religious law is authoritarian. It is the law of God. It is not to be changed or deliberated by mere men. If the church interprets that God says ‘the gay’ is wrong, then ‘the gay’ is illegal. Likewise for divorce, inter-faith marriage, interracial marriage, fornication, eating pork, drinking alcohol, growing your hair, shaving your hair, wearing open toed shoes or drawing pictures of religious icons. If the clerics interpret it, the church decrees it, and the masses must do it.
The Christian conservatives are doing what religious institutions always do in tough times. They are preying on the fears and insecurities of people who are scared and looking for answers. They are providing the same answers they’ve been providing since the dark ages. No answers at all. All they offer people is a false sense of control in a world in which they seem to have lost theirs. They offer the numbing opiate of relinquishing all control to an external force that will take responsibility for the life that individuals feel they can’t control themselves. America needs problem solvers, not imaginary friends.
America needs to move forward, not back to the dark ages. Religion missed the age of enlightenment; America and its Constitution did not. Do not let the conservative Christian nationalists, the Christian Reconstructionists, and the Dominionist Evangelicals rob this country of its freedom, liberty and Constitutional rights. They are dug in at every level of government, from your local school board and municipal government, to state and federal representatives. They can’t take America back, they’ve never had it. Don’t give it to them. Get out and vote. Vote, and get them out.