The New And Republican-Approved Jesus

Most of you know that I am a former evangelical Christian. But I still retain an interest in my former faith, particularly as I observe how it has been co-opted and corrupted by the Republican Party.

During this campaign season, conservative Christians have, via a special dispensation from their deity, amended the ninth commandment to read:

Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor, unless your neighbor is The Scary Negro In The White’s House.

With that dispensation, evangelicals are free to become full-fledged Mittenites, who, in order to rid the country of the only leadership it has known the past four years, can lie with impunity about Barack Obama, all in the name of God.

This new theological get-out-of-hell-free card is good for claiming the President is a Kenyan, a socialist who hates America, or, Allah forbid, a Muslim. It’s good for bad-mouthing the poor, the sick, and the elderly, all of those crippled by government dependence, as we discovered in that heartfelt “47%” speech.

And it’s especially good for those on the front lines of the Republican Party’s prosecution of its War on Women. Now that Billy Graham and the right-wing church have chosen to rock and roll in his Mormon bedchamber, Mitt Romney has his conservative Christian credentials in order and can lead the war.

He is free to rob women of their humanity, as he seeks to undermine their ability to make their own reproductive decisions, and as he endorses U.S. Senate candidates who would use big-government to force violated women to bear the children of their tormentors.

If the Romney-Ryan partnership is successful, if those they endorse make it to the Senate, women may long for the days of government-ordered vaginal probing, which when a Romney-influenced Supreme Court is finished, may seem like the good old days of Republican moderation.

Taking full advantage of GOP Jesus turning his Cayman-tanned face away from all that war-time prevarication going on out there, Christians, funded by the Romney campaign, have been engaging in last-minute lies like those found in the following script of a robocall that a voter in Fairfax, Virginia, received last Friday night:

Christians who are thinking about voting for Obama should remember what he said about people of faith: “They … cling to guns or religion.” And remember when Obama forced Christian organizations to provide insurance coverage that was contrary to their religious beliefs?

That’s the real Barack Obama. That’s the real threat to our religious freedom. Mitt Romney understands the importance of faith and family. That’s why so many leaders of the Christian community are supporting Romney.

They know we can’t underestimate the threat Barack Obama poses to our faith, our values, our freedom.

Yes, the real Barack Obama, as opposed to the one we have come to know, is quite the threat to faith, values, and freedom. Quite the threat alright. You can see it everywhere. Churches are being shut down, pastors being tossed in the hoosegow, priests being forced to seek adult entertainment with real adults. Yep, that Obama is the greatest enemy of faith we have ever seen.

In the mean time, the strange concoction of evangelicalism and Republicanism and Mormonism and Catholicism and anti-Obamanism means that conservative Christianity in America will never be the same. Conservative Bible-toters have traded in the Jesus who said that God had anointed him to “bring good news to the poor.” That Jesus didn’t look good standing next to Mitt Romney and Donald Trump.

And gone from their midst is the Jesus who condemned lying and slander and who talked about how hard it was for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. That Jesus, the one who told rich folks who desire a home with God to think about a camel going through a needle’s eye, is long gone.

Today’s evangelicals worship a Jesus who has an affection for vulture capitalism. They worship a Jesus who condones the slandering of Barack Obama, himself a Christian. They worship a Jesus who has endorsed a Republican candidate whose one discernible and consistent principle is that he will say anything, absolutely anything, to become president. And he, in the name of GOP Jesus, will bear false witness without so much as a pin-prick of conscience.

Time will tell whether this new and Republican-approved Jesus can drag Mitt Romney across the finish line. But we don’t have to wait to see what this crony-capitalist Jesus, this corrupt, Obama-hating savior, has done to evangelical and conservative Christianity in America.

As I said, it will never be the same.

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3 Comments

  1. As always, Duane: a great post. I hope we (the followers of this blog) don’t take you for granted. Poor Jesus. The guy offers this great message and suggestions for living in community and that word gets beaten up throughout history: Constantine, the Crusaders, the Inquisitors, the Catholics vs the Reformers, the Calvinist Reformers vs the Armenians, the Anglican Virginians vs the Baptists, the Southern Baptists vs African Americans, the Fundamentalist fringe vs people of reason. It’s a tribute to his simple message of grace and generosity that Jesus is still relevant, having been so used and abused by his religious exploiters for 2000 years.

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  2. Duane,

    There are many web pages available that argue clearly and unequivocally that being a Christian and being a Republican (as defined by their party’s 2012 platform) are mutually exclusive. See http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/07/21/1112399/-You-Cannot-Be-A-Republican-And-A-Christian, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/26/1124463/-Why-Good-Christians-Cannot-Vote-Republican, http://www.thenewblackmagazine.com/view.aspx?index=361, and http://www.commondreams.org/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=/views04/1019-24.htm, among others.

    I determined long ago that Jesus was the poster child for Liberalism, even though he, at times, contradicts himself. I’ve also contended that Jesus was also a Socialist, if not an outright Communist, and provided supporting scripture to make the case.

    All that said, I think the whole issue of the incompatibility between Christians and Republicans is best summed up by the mythical Will McAvoy speaking as anchor of HBO’s “The Newsroom:”

    “McAVOY: During Tea Party rallies and campaign speeches, we’ve been told that America was founded as a Christian nation and that if the Founding Fathers were here today, they’d tell us so. Here’s John Adams in the Treaty of Tripoli– “As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion–” And here’s Thomas Jefferson– “That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions.” And here’s the First Amendment to the US Constitution– “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

    “What’s more frightening than the perversion of our great history is that sensible, smart, strong Republicans, the very men and women who should be standing up to radical fundamentalism, are so frightened of losing primary battles to religious zealots that they’ve thrown in the towel on sanity. So we get this– Y-Yes, the–the Constitution established the United States of America’s a Christian nation. It’s ironic because the biggest enemy of the phony Republican isn’t Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, it’s this man (Jesus). He said, “Heal the sick, feed the hungry, care for the weakest among us, and always pray in private.”

    “Ideological purity, compromise as weakness, a fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism, denying science, unmoved by facts, undeterred by new information, a hostile fear of progress, a demonization of education, a need to control women’s bodies, severe xenophobia, tribal mentality, intolerance of dissent, and a pathological hatred of US government. They can call themselves the Tea Party. They can call themselves conservatives. And they can even call themselves Republicans, though Republicans certainly shouldn’t. But we should call them what they are– the American Taliban. And the America Taliban cannot survive if Dorothy Cooper is allowed to vote.”

    Herb

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    • Always great stuff, Herb. Jesus was absolutely a Socialist. The early Church and its “common kettle” were supremely socialistic. The “rich young ruler” (probably a Republican) couldn’t hack the idea of redistributing his wealth so the poor could also thrive — so he passed on Jesus. And there’s that great quote from Colbert: “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we have to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit we just don’t want to do it.”
      Truth.

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