ADAPTING CHRISTIAN VALUES
Politics of Biblical Proportions
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!"
- No Republican in a REALLY long time
I've always liked those words in red in the New Testament, although I long ago gave up on organized religion. The words and ideals of both are great, but - as with many great things - beyond the reach of mere mortals, and thus in the wrong hands become a club of hypocrisy. Never in our history have the wrong hands held such a firm grip, and it is a blight not just upon our democracy, but upon their own faith.
I've long held the notion that, if there is a Satan, he came up with the idea of religion, then seasoned it with just enough politics to make it poison. No logical, reasonable person could ever advocate the policies which are now the heart and soiled soul of the GOP agenda and think, sure, this is EXACTLY what Jesus would do!
But isn't willful delusion kind of at the core of every religion? Don't they all require a belief completely devoid of logic or objective reasoning, the very traits which are prized - and necessary - in every aspect of our worldly existence? Doesn't each teach that "The [insert title of religious text] is the only true Word of [insert Deity], because it says so in the [re-insert title of religious text]," and allow such flawed and circular reasoning to kind of take over from there?
Religious Extremism (which is just Hypocrisy got out of hand) comes not from the words of the texts, nor from the Higher Ideals contained therein. The Golden Rule, after all, is in pretty much all of them. The insanity comes from the degree to which its followers are willing to adapt, or just flat-out ignore, the tenets of the texts - the "words in red" in the case of Christianity - in order to rationalize a fear and hatred not rooted in the religion itself, but in the manipulated division which encourages their anger to grow.
To put it considerably more plainly (and please forgive the blasphemous irony): There's too many goddamned asterisks in their Holy Book!
Quote most of those aforementioned red words in a debate with a Right-Winger, and they'll happily point you to some other Biblical passage (usually in the Old Testament) to prove that Jesus either didn't mean it, or to seemingly imply that the older Scripture trumps, if you will, the book from which their religion got its freakin' name! Or they'll bring up Hillary. Now they're forced to come up with asterisks on the fly. Seems it wasn't so long ago that lying and cheating and the what-not were no-no's, that greed and pride and coveting were Deadly Sins. They've improvised asterisks for those - they point you to a picture of their Leader.
To me, the most dumbfounding, you-couldn't-make-this-shit-up adaptation has been the Right's newfound tolerance for Communism. Hatred of the U.S.S.R/Russia has been a stalwart of Conservative Christian ideology for over half a century, and a major part of the GOP Platform, either explicitly or implicitly, for just as long. Holy Moly, the times have changed! Less than a year ago, Trump supporters continued to reply to my posts with the C-word, as dirty as any C-word to a Republican. They've stopped calling me a Communist. Now they just double up on Socialist or Libtard. It's really amazing. Mind-boggling. Profoundly sad.
Is it evil for me to wonder if perhaps they're not really guided by faith at all, but rather by the fear and hatred which permeate a perverse world-view in which ANY enemy of their enemy becomes their Comrade? It seems to make the most sense. Can it not be logically inferred from words and deeds that their guiding principles - and those which they so badly want to force upon our entire diverse populace - have nothing in the world to do with love, compassion, or understanding, except for those who are exactly like them? Go to pretty much any FB page of a politically-vocal Conservative Christian. You won't see many posts/shares relating to the Higher Ideals of their faith. What you will see is a plethora of articles and memes about Muslims and Mexicans and BLM and Gays and Hillary and Obama - each and every one of which, in addition to usually being wildly inaccurate and rife with grammar/spelling errors, just screams out, "Hate these people! They're not like us!"
Woody Allen wrote over thirty years ago (in Hannah and Her Sisters) that “If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.” He wasn't referring to all Christians - I'm not either. I believe there are many who struggle to allow their "better Angels" some authority, who believe deeply in the words of Jesus as they're written in red, and not in the very loose and hateful interpretations giddily peddled and exploited by the Darkness in a quest for their vote.
Those are the Christians more likely to share pictures of kitties and shit.