One of the most confusing things about religious people, is why they tend to be conservative Christians. A cursory reading of the New Testament will show that Jesus was actually quite a rebellious liberal. So why are the vast majority of Christians also conservatives?
Take for example, the feeding of the five thousand, clearly a socialist act. Surely, if the religious right were to follow Jesus’ teachings, they would not be whining about their taxes being used to feed the poor and needy, in the form of welfare or food stamps?
And what about that old chestnut of turning the other cheek? How does that jive with the conservative obsession for guns and military power?
Another example would be curing the sick. The stories of Jesus restoring the sight of the blind men and curing leprosy are surely indicative of free health care for all? Why then are the GOP so against socialized medicine, when Jesus himself practiced it? Did Jesus ask for payment for these acts, or did he cure everyone, regardless of their financial standing?
To digress for a moment, the continuous right-wing villification of socialized medicine is something that I – unlike many of those against it – have personal experience with. Having lived in England for 26 years prior to moving to America, I have winessed the National Health Service and I can compare it to the American system. And I can say with all honesty, that the British government takes care of its citizens, rather than throwing them under the bus at the first sign of financial difficulty. Of course the system has its flaws – after all, nothing is perfect – but the crucial point is that Britian tries, while America simply balks at the idea of “free” healthcare for everyone.
My mother passed away several years ago, from pancreatic cancer. I vividly recall a doctors consultation, a few months before she died. The only people present were my mother, her doctor and myself. The doctor simply said to my mother, “We can offer you chemotherapy”, and then he outlined the benefits and the downfalls of the treatment. There was no mention at all of her ability to pay. He did not ask if her insurance would cover the cost, or indeed, if she was insured at all.
The doctor simply offered her whatever care she desired in her final months. When I recall Sarah Palins remarks about “death panels“, I can only suppress my impotent rage at her bald-faced and blindingly ignorant distortions of the truth. The only “death panels” in America are the insurance companies, who will deny coverage for pre-exisiting conditions, tell you that you are not covered for certain medicial conditions or simply deny payment for no other reason than to protect their profit margins.
I cannot understand why anyone who calls himself a Christian would be so keen on denying healthcare to the needy and instead defending a system that quite clearly favors those with an ability to pay. It appears to be quite contrary to the behavior and teachings of Jesus.
And while we’re on the subject of taxes, what about the widows offering? Jesus saw that while the widow gave only two small copper coins, it was a vastly greater percentage of her wealth than the contributions from the rich. So again, why are rich Republicans not paying the same tax rate as the middle class? By what rules can they get away with paying significantly less? No-one begrudges a wealthy man his hard earned fortune, but when he is seen to be paying a smaller percentage of taxes than the less wealthy, it is rightly viewed as unfair. Shouldn’t the rich be paying their fair share, just as Jesus himself pointed out?
And then of course, there is the current conservative trend of eroding womens rights with such backward ideas as the Personhood Bill, the fake outrage over contraception and the forced trans-vaginal ultrasound, which has been called “state sanctioned rape”. Although to be honest, the subjugation of women is a theme that is pervasive throughout the entire Bible, so maybe in this regard the Christians are actually getting it “right”.
And so we finally come to homosexuality. Persecution of an entire subset of the population, based on nothing more than a single verse from Leviticus. Never mind that the surrounding verses (which contain some wonderful pearls of wisdom and morality, such as how to sell your daughter into slavery) have been thrown out in favor of more “modern” rules found in the New Testament. It seems to me that the only reason for clinging to Leviticus 18:22 and disregarding the other laws, is simply to justify your own personal bigotry and prejudice under the guise of “God’s Word”.
Given the stories in the Bible of Jesus’ kind, giving, peaceful, socialist nature, why do Conservative Christians hold views that are such polar opposites to His teachings? The GOP (and it’s associated religious following) stands for nothing that Jesus himself would recognize as “Christian” behavior.
And one final note – I do apologize for writing a political post, since this site is mostly concerned with religion, but the two evils are unfortunately closely entwined in American politics and it is quite difficult to discuss one without the other. Indeed, it is a sad fact of life that only one person (Fortney Stark D-CA) in US history has held the office of State Governor as a self-proclaimed atheist, and there has never been an atheist president, even though Article V, Paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution clearly states that “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States” and the Founding Fathers themselves were against the intrusion of religion into US Government.