Why Christian Conservatives Don’t Care If The Country Falls

What is it about the mixture of Christianity and conservatism that makes many folks who call themselves Christian conservatives say and do things that seem to be neither Christian nor conservative?

As a former Christian conservative myself, I think I can offer some insight into why putting the two things together so often results in such toxic ideological vapors.

I think I can explain the behavior of a Ted Cruz, a Michele Bachmann, a Glenn Beck, a Sean Hannity, a Rush Limbaugh, a Bill O’Reilly, and a Sarah Palin. I think I can explain why their brains release ideological gas so noxious that it not only threatens the well-being of liberals, but it is now poisoning the blood of other conservatives. As they continue to fight their “culture war,” these Christian conservative zealots are now openly attacking members of their own political party, members who lack sufficient ideological holiness or militancy. Why would they do that? I think I know why.

I think I know why Tony Perkins, who leads one of the most powerful Christian conservative groups in the country, the Family Research Council, would say something that would lead to a headline like this:

Right-wing Christian: Liberals are the real theocrats because they want to help the poor

Perkins says that the government has no responsibility to care for poor people because the Bible expects individual Christians to do so. Then, committing the unforgivable sin of contradiction, says that, “As Christians, we’re responsible for the policies of this government because it’s us.” Yes, he said that the government is “us” but that “us” has no responsibility to take care of poor folks. Perhaps God can sort that one out.

In the mean time, I think I know why Christian conservative Pat Buchanan would generate a headline like this:

Pat Buchanan to GOP: Better to destroy the country than give in to Obamacare

Writing for a strange but influential Christian website called World Net Daily, Buchanan commented on the government shutdown and the subsequent “all-time low” approval numbers for Republicans:

Republicans should refuse to raise the white flag and insist on an honorable avenue of retreat.

And if Harry Reid’s Senate demands the GOP end the sequester on federal spending, or be blamed for a debt default, the party should, Samson-like, bring down the roof of the temple on everybody’s head.

Wow. I said I think I know why these people say and do such things. And now perhaps you can see why, too. It’s right there in Buchanan’s allusion to Samson, the Old Testament hero who was given supernatural strength to fight his foes, including the thousand Philistines that he allegedly slaughtered on one occasion using only the jawbone of an ass.

What Buchanan was alluding to was Samson’s suicide mission to destroy a pagan temple. Here is the biblical account of the end of Samson’s jihad:

Then Samson called out to the Lord, “Lord God, please remember me! Make me strong just this once more, God, so I can have revenge on the Philistines, just one act of revenge for my two eyes.” Samson grabbed the two central pillars that held up the temple. He leaned against one with his right hand and the other with his left. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He strained with all his might, and the temple collapsed on the rulers and all the people who were in it. So it turned out that he killed more people in his death than he did during his life.

ted cruz takes down the templeYou see? You see why Ted Cruz is doing what even people in his own party find destructive? You see why Tony Perkins doesn’t want the government feeding the poor? You see why Pat Buchanan would rather see the government fall down on everyone’s head than for Republicans to give an inch? Because these people believe government is a pagan temple. Because these zealots believe liberals and Democrats are pagans worshiping a false god in that pagan temple. That’s why.

That’s why Christianity and conservatism is such a toxic mix. Christianity gives these people what they think are their holy orders to fight the Culture War, the war against paganism. And conservatism, using the vehicle of the Republican Party, gives them what they think is Samson-like power to ultimately win it.

Even if it means taking the country down.

5 Comments

  1. Troy

     /  October 23, 2013

    Very well put my brotha! So very true……

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  2. Or because they’re simply self-serving, manipulative liars. Not good-but-confused, but thugs preying on the stupidity of those who beg to be led by anyone who does not require them to think for themselves. I’ve often wondered if John Locke was grinning a little when he wrote: “I am sure, zeal or love for truth can never permit falsehood to be used in the defence of it.” The Palin’s and Bachmann’s and Beck’s cannot be found among those who were New Testament disciples of Jesus. They do, however, seem listed along with the snarkiest of the Pharasees.

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    • Most of these folks, at least a lot of them I have personally known, really, truly believe this stuff. For them this is a battle between good and evil. Are there leaders of the movement who are simply “preying” on the prayerful? Yep. There are. But many of the leaders are as duped as the flock. They believe they are following the plan of God, as far as they can see it. And some of them think they can see it very well.

      As for Locke, that quote was written as part of an attempt to defend the “reasonableness” of Christianity. He was thinking more clearly when he wrote An Essay Concerning Human Understanding that included the following bit of wisdom:

      Religion, which should most distinguish us from the beasts, and ought most particularly elevate us, as rational creatures, above brutes, is that wherein men often appear most irrational, and more senseless than beasts.

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      • Yessir. An excellent read for thinking people (and for those of the mistaken opinion that our forefathers were raging fundamentalists) is Jon Meacham’s “American Gospel” — there is a always a place for grace and the golden rule.

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  3. Anonymous

     /  October 25, 2013

    Do you think it is possible that the faith based Tea Party could eventually form a third party and then the Republican party could morph into a somewhat moderate party to survive?

    Kabe

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