This is the first in a series of articles that discuss the inconsistency of the Christian right endorsing either the conservative republican leadership or the current president. These articles are not intended to say that all people should live according to Christian principles. Christians, however, should live by those principles. I will be supporting this thesis with quotes from the Bible. For these articles I will choose only quotes from the first book of the New Testament (Matthew) as there are so many quotes that support this thesis that they could easily fill a large book by themselves. I chose these quotes from the King James version, although I replaced the archaic thee/thou/ye with current forms, and changed the “eth” on verbs for readability.
The reader should understand that it is not my intent to say that democratic leadership is without its problems. I am saying that whole hearted support of conservative leadership in the US is not aligned with scripture. While any American may choose to support either party for one’s own reasons, these reasons are not Christian in nature, but are rather nationalistic or patriotic. Patriotism, nationalism, and Christianity are usually combined in the Christian right, and I’m trying to point out that the requirements of being a good Christian are at odds with many values espoused by the republican leadership.
Christianity holds to a higher standard of morality than is represented in any system of laws, including ancient Jewish (Levitical) law. Please note:
Matthew 5:21-22 You have heard that it was said of them of old time, You shall not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matthew 5:27-28 You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.
Matthew 5:46-47 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans(tax collectors) the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Enthusiastically supporting leaders who do not show this kind of moral quality is inappropriate for Christians. Particularly for those who purport to be examples to others, as do evangelicals. Evangelical leaders, such as Jerry Falwell Jr and Franklin Graham should be held particularly responsible for their support, and should have most assiduously avoided publicly supporting such individuals. If they felt that they had to support the current president’s campaign, then it should have been with public denouncement of his un-Christian deeds and attitudes. Similarly, elected officials that are caught in hypocritical rhetoric, blatantly unrepentant and sinful behavior should not get Christian support.
The Bible also teaches that people are to be judged by their words and actions. Please note:
Matthew 7:16-20 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.
Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they (the Pharisees) bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not you after their works: for they say, and do not.
And as for whether “locker room talk” is unimportant:
Matthew 12:36-37 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
Matthew 15:11 Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.
Treating the hateful rhetoric that comes from this president’s mouth, or via Twitter as unimportant is clearly not in line with Biblical teaching, and is unworthy of the support of any serious Christian. In fact the Bible tells how one should treat such individuals, please note:
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Christ’s most vehement denunciations in the Bible are directed at those who practice hypocrisy. Please note:
Matthew 23:4 (Describing the Pharisees) For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries(a reminder of the law worn on the left arm or on the head), and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation.
Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
When former President Obama’s nominated of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, Mitch McConnell said that the republican party would not even hold hearings on any nominee. Now, when Neil Gorsuch is to be the republican nominee, and Democrats threaten to block his nomination, Mitch McConnell says this is unprecedented, and wrong. This type of obvious hypocrisy should lead Christians to withdraw their support immediately. Supporting and cheering hypocrites is not Christian behavior.
Please remember that it is misguided and ineffectual to suggest that support has to be given to these individuals as the alternative is worse. Even if the alternative is worse, support can be given reluctantly, and with regret. This is not the “Let’s make America Great” cheering that has been coming from the Christian right. In future entries in this series, I will show various public goals and policies of the Republican Party, and Biblical quotes that are relevant to those policies. In the last of the series, I will advance a Christian framework for political support.