There is a troubling amount of evidence that even at the highest levels of elitism within the Republican party, there exists a strain of what can only be described as Christianistism.
That’s a mouthful. Christianist: a person who professes to be a follower of the Christian faith but fails to actually follow the tenets of Jesus, using the appellation of “Christian” to mask their own personally held beliefs while claiming that such beliefs are Christian.
Of course all too many of our teabagger friends profess to be Christians, yet fall into the odd category of those who are against feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, and tending the sick. They support GOP efforts to reduce food stamp allotments, unemployment insurance payments, blocking health care to the uninsured, discrimination against the LGBT community, and the reduction of women’s autonomy from state regulation, to name just a few.
But their “leaders” also have this dangerously intellectually indefensible attitude as well. One never things of the Kochs as men who are Christian necessarily. They support public TV for instance, especially science shows, recognizing that their “base” the teabaggers, are probably fairly unaware of this fact since the Tea People are not known for their penchant for education or higher-brow television fare. But the Kochs are an exception I think.
George W. Bush came on the scene spouting “compassionate conservatism” and certainly made known his deeply held Christian beliefs. Yet, he sent men and women into war, resulting in American deaths numbering over 4,000 and Iraqi deaths nearing now, possibly some 1.4 million persons. One would expect a Christian to use violence as a last resort and not the first. Nobody today is unaware that there was at bet highly questionable “evidence” and even less reason to invade that country.
Upon completion of his two terms, Bush, unlike his Democratic predecessors, did not seek some manner to work for the betterment of society and the world at large. Instead he engaged in a self-absorbed dedication to being a painter, exhibiting as at least one expert pointed out, a sort of charming childish ability. Some would argue that same childish charm was his main offering as President.
Mike Huckabee, once upon a time, an actual pastor, seems to be nothing more than a Christianist. He has at various times indicated a belief that the President of the United States was born in Kenya, made impassioned pleas to send money to his group designed to “end Obamacare” while telling lies aplenty about the program. His television ad claimed the ACA was “rammed down the throats of the American public” and done in “back rooms”. Today he is spouting that living in America is no better than living in North Korea.
I may be wrong, but I have always thought that being a good Christian starts with being a person who tells the truth. It certainly doesn’t mean being a person who lies for one’s own benefit, to further one’s own career.
Charles Keating passed away a few days ago. You remember him don’t you? Keating is most remembered for his eye-balls deep involvement in the savings and loan scandals of the 1980’s. Certainly his Catholicism didn’t prevent him from playing fast and loose with the laws regarding making money. Yet he used his “Christian” beliefs as the fulcrum upon which he pushed his social agenda regarding pornography. His Citizens for Decent Literature provided the framework for future conservative social agenda forays into the public sphere.
At one point in time, Keating, in his pursuit of purity, put out a documentary that gave all sorts of statistics about the influence of pornography on the society. Years later, he admitted that he had made them up. Another liar.
Ted Cruz has exploded onto the stage as the savior of the extreme Right.
He spouts a brand of anti-immigrationism, anti-health care, and just plain anti-progressivism that is both stunning and audacious.
Yet Ted also draws the mantle of Christianity around his shoulders. He has it on good authority. His father is a preacher, a preacher of such vile hate and vitriol that many wonder that Ted does not shush him up for fear he will so inflame the sensible middle as to make Ted’s future Presidency utterly untenable.
But Ted not only doesn’t stop the old man, he embraces the theology that his father espouses. That theology is nothing less than what is known as Dominionism, the belief that certain people (Ted included) but all Christians who think as they do at least, are destined to be the kings of the world, ruling in the name of their very strange notion of Jesus. People who don’t believe as Ted does are those to be ruled.
And the earth? Oh the earth and all it contains, are theirs to rule over as well. Dominated in fact. Ted’s Christianist army is the wrestle control and subdue the earth. That means exploiting all it’s resources as if they are unlimited. For as this brand of Christianist believe (so very conveniently) God will never let the supplies end, or will give us something better when they do. There is no possibility that we will ruin our own planet with these people. They have twisted the Good Book to assure themselves that that can’t happen.
Imagine, we are all at the mercy of their admittedly uneducated, self-serving conclusions of a copy of a copy of a copy, of a copy of dozens of independently written documents over the span of 1,000 plus years, which was argued over and voted upon by other humans tossing in some documents and tossing out others, and then translated again and again by mostly unknown other humans for various purposes and reasons. They would have us believe that their personal opinion about the meaning of obscure phrases and words, means that we don’t have to do a thing about climate change, or much of anything actually, except get ready for the big fight in Israel where the final battle will take place.
This is not Christianity, this is opportunism.
And the fear is that far too many sadly uneducated, gullible, trusting, needy souls are buying into this rhetoric and will prevent those of us who are rational, thinking, caring and compassionate people from doing what needs to be done to actually if not in the name of Jesus, at least in His spirit, do what is morally right:
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
As Gandhi said,
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Gandhi was wrong. These are not Christians but Christianists. And there is a difference.