To say I have had it up to my eyeballs with all the talk of “the religious right” this and “the religious right” that, will be an understatement. Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m spiritual honey! And, please, do not group all who believe into one, mammoth sheep herd either, thank you very much!
Seems to me that being religious or spiritual in the Christian faith automatically garners one the unenviable position of being a religious rightist and of course, then, one also has the unwarranted title of ‘Bush-backer’. The word “Christian” has come to mean pro-life, gay-haters. And that somehow constitutes the crux of our belief system and core “moral values’. Please allow me to point out what I and many others, do actually believe.
We believe that following the teachings of Jesus does NOT constitute blindly supporting pro-life issues or condemning homosexuals straight to hell. It is not to speak loudly of this belief or that principle, but to actually act on your faith. We do not shout it out from the rooftops because we are working on the dirt ground, feeding the hungry, quenching the thirsty and clothing the naked. Faith without charity is shallow. Because how we treat the least of these our brethren is how we will be judged. When we serve them, we serve Him. The crux of our faith is that God is love. Deus Caritas Est.
And how did Jesus himself demonstrate this love? He did not condemn the sinners but invited them into His life; He stood up for the oppressed and fought against the injustices of the hypocritical Pharisees, the temple high priests of His time. He challenged their traditionalist, ritualistic ways. He taught us to examine ourselves before pronouncing judgement on others. He shielded the sinning woman from an angry mob, about to stone her to death. He drew a line in the sand and asked him who has no sin to cast the first stone.
He who is Light came into the darkness of our hearts to illuminate our hearts and our minds. He challenged us to question the status quo.
And yet, we stand by and condone acts of deepest darkness perpetrated by ones sworn, with one hand on the Bible ironically, to mete out justice and equality. We stand by and do not raise our voices as thousands upon thousands are killed in a war brought on by lies and sinister motives. No, love your enemies does not mean killing them. We stand by and allow a man claiming to be a follower of the One who changed history by His example of righteousness to change the meaning of His very teachings. He who was whipped, flogged, spat on and nailed onto a cross did not even raise His voice against those who inflicted it on Him. He instead asked His father to forgive them.
Turn the other cheek (Luke 6:29) Jesus said, when your enemy smites you on one. To Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century German philosopher, this statement and belief would produce a whole nation or society of weaklings. So, when you compare the two, wouldn’t you say that Bush seems more akin to Nietzsche’s way of thinking than Jesus’? Where is the Sermon on the Mount personified in the current admisnistration and their policies? And they are supposed to be ‘representing’ my beliefs? I beg to differ.
They have succinctly galvanized their foot soldiers, and under the direction of mastermind Karl Rove, hijacked my faith in one swoop in November 2004. The result was not just a questionable president returning to the Oval Office for a second term, but it has also made the world believe that being Christian and American equals to approving going to war without all possible options considered and tried. Torture can be justified if you happen to be an American as it was in the noble due course of establishing “democracy”.
Lies, torture and killings are not moral values. Either are cuts on food stamps, abusing the environment, the low to no budget on the poverty issue or passing the buck when it comes to being accountable for failing to do your sworn duty. It is not corruption, misappropriation of funds or cronyism. The religious right have been loud for awhile now. But their voices are ringing hollow and false. Martin Luther King Jr. used to quote from the prophet Amos that we will not be satisfied ’till justice rolls down like the waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’
If all you know of Christians are those who insist on abortion and gay-marriage issues being the moral issues to be addressed today instead of poverty or injustice, ask them to point out where Jesus said that in the Bible. Being moral is not about we are right and they are wrong. It is not about how much power to amass while turning a blind eye to righteous principles. An unjust war perpetrated by reasons unjustifiable IS a moral scandal.
John Adams seemed to have eeriely predicted the path this nation would find itself when he said:
Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few. (1)
Do we even see the line in the sand?
1. Adams, John (1977), The Papers of John Adams, ed. John Taylor (Cambridge: Belknap Press).