by Rich Abete
In some states, Evangelical Christians comprise more than 50% of the Republican electorate. In addition, the Republican electorate is, in 2012, almost exclusively right-wing in ideology. It is therefore accurate to say that generally, right-wing Christians make up the majority of Republican voters. The question is, “Is the term or the notion of a right-wing Christian an oxymoron, either literally or essentially?” Put in another way, is saying the term right-wing Christian tantamount to saying something like “gay Nascar?” Alright, alright, give me a break! Of course there are gay folks who enjoy and even participate in that predominantly red-neck, macho sport, but you get my point, right? Would it have been more accessible to have said, “Straight Judy Garland fan”(for those still scratching their heads, Judy Garland is a gay icon — I don’t get that either)? To clarify, my point is this: the words right-wing and Christian are often mistakenly juxtaposed, for few things are more poorly matched or antithetical.
To be clear, I do not pretend to be a biblical scholar or a theologian, but I am more than passively acquainted with those all important words in red. In addition, I am a politico-phile and on occasion have a more than pedestrian command of the English language. So let’s just say this: At least Ibelieve that I have an informed opinion on this rather touchy topic. You may agree or disagree… and you may have clarity of thought or be defensively deluded. That’s your business.
Let us review some facts (even though they will be dismissed by right-wingers as having a liberalbias). First, let’s see what an objective source says about the two terms we often hear together… mistakenly, in my opinion. According to Dictionary.com, “right-wing” means conservative, which in turn means: disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones and to limit change. As evidenced by their behavior of late (like the past 32 years, for instance), we can safely characterize right-wing as the latter definition. When considering Rick Santorum’s desire to restore the tradition of clubbing your woman and dragging her into your double-wide cave if she gets uppity or demands too many rights, this makes perfect sense. To further define right-wing in the context of today’s political environment, we might consider its antonym, liberal (a word, incidentally, that would nicely precede the word Christian,which means free from narrow prejudice and bigotry. On the political continuum of communist to fascist, right-wing or conservative and liberal are indeed opposite each other.
According, again, to Dictionary.com, the word Christian means: of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or his teachings. Ah-ha! Therein lies the rub: Jesus’ teachings, including his words and actions, were incontrovertibly liberal. Sure, RWC’s will vehemently negate that fact, but I would argue that being a follower of Christ, one who is Christian in more than name, would likely entail the belief that the words in red do not lie.
Again, I am no authority on Jesus, but what I do know is that it takes but a brief moment of studying the New Testament to discover that Jesus taught and demonstrated love, tolerance, compassion, charity, truth, generosity… and free universal healthcare . And he specifically engendered all these wonderful traits when addressing the least among us, or those in need. Furthermore, he made it crystal clear that paying one’s fair share of taxes is essential for civil society (…render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…) and didn’t consider taxation a form of state-sponsored theft as do more and more on the far right. Considering these things, it only follows that utilizing tax revenue to administer to the sick, elderly and poor (the least among us) is the Christian thing to do.
Jesus also taught that is it is essential to welcome foreigners into your country and home, and treat them with the utmost respect, generosity and kindness. Consider the plethora of mean-spirited and draconian anti-immigration measures that have been proposed by Republican governors (again, a majority of whom are Christian) in the last few years. Jesus healed the sick and fed the poor, yet the Republicans have traditionally opposed Medicare and Food Stamp programs that do just that, and have proposed to slash funding for such in the recent House GOP budget. Jesus preached equality among men and women, yet the right-wing has historically sought to suppress the rights of all who are not white males, and has of late launched a soft war on women’s rights to reproductive healthcare. Jesus taught peace, yet most right-wing Christians are militaristic hawks. He warned against worldly riches, yet the GOP seems to put the pursuit of mammon above much else. And the list goes on…
Here’s where RWC’s implore that they give to charity and give to their churches that in turn administer to the poor and needy. They insist that Jesus meant for individuals, families and churches alone to ameliorate the suffering of those in need. The problem with that sentiment is, Jesus made no such distinction. It would seem that achieving the objective is what is important, not necessarily the means. And while it is admirable, worthwhile and necessary for individuals, families and churches to perform such functions, there is infinitely more need than there is capability from such sources. The government is the only entity with the ability to adequately address the existing need in this country. If taxes are OK, then what’s wrong with helping folks in need with the proceeds? Answer: Nothing.
This is the point in the debate when RWC’s call all liberals baby killers. That, of course, is a non sequitir and a ridiculous assertion to boot….and clearly for another post!