In part 1 of this series, I showed that whatever your position on republican versus democratic policy, the unequivocal cheering support of the Christian right is inconsistent with scripture. In this part 2, I will examine the GOP platform versus scripture. As in part 1, 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. I added definition in parenthesis where I felt it necessary.
What does the GOP stand for? Here is a link to their platform, on their official website. The platform is broken into 6 major sections, and each section has between 3 and 21 sub-sections. The major themes running through this platform are:
- Americans want prosperity, and it is a major goal of government to enable that prosperity. The achievement of prosperity is not the responsibility of government, only the removal of impediments to success in its attainment.
- Business in the United States is unfairly hampered by government regulations. This includes Wall Street, banking, pharmacological companies, the field of medicine, and the energy industry, as well as small business.
- The United States should be the pre-eminent military power in the world, in order to protect American interests and American freedom. This includes not only the United States homeland, but also “strategic” interests abroad, like presence in the Middle East, NATO, etc.
- Americans are characterized by a set of values (“family values”) that the Republican Party wants to promote and enable.
Although I will go through all of these items, this article starts with less controversial items, like items 1, 2, and 3. The “family values” section deserves an article of its own.
Items 1 and 2 above are both related to increasing the standard of living in the United States to a level which could loosely be called “the American Dream”, and the processes of business in the United States that promote attainment of that goal. Christians should understand that Christ never supported such endeavors. Christians were not to pursue wealth as a goal. See:
- Matthew 13:22-24 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
- Mark 10:19-23 (To a rich man who had stopped Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to inherit the kingdom of Heaven) You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor your father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and said unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
- Mark 12:41-44 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow has cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
While it is understandable that people should seek property, it is clear from scripture that the kind of wealth that is accumulated by big business and its CEOs, VPs, and owners is to be avoided, not sought. America was indeed built on the pursuit of property, but it is not a Christian principle or goal. Under which Christian principle falls the hoarding of wealth? None. American pre-occupation with this kind of success is distinctly not Christian. Jesus did not complain that his taxes were too high, or that those taxes were being used for unworthy goals (like to benefit the undeserving poor). He wouldn’t have “built a wall” to protect Israel from the Samaritans to save money on undeserved health care.
Regarding item 3, military pre-eminence and American Hegemony, This is clearly not a Christian principle. The following quote could have been put in items 1 and 2 above, but it is a rare quote that can be seen as even touching this topic. See:
- Matthew 22:17-21 Tell us therefore, What think you? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt you me, you hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought to him a penny. And he said unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They said to him, Caesar’s. Then said he to them, Render therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.
Jesus did not even care that Rome was taxing the people of Israel. He did not defend Israel. He did not respect its leaders. Nowhere in the New Testament did Jesus express any view that could be construed as political.
Items 1 thru 3 above constitute 90% of the content of the GOP platform. Not only are these items not Christian, they are in fact, frequently anti-Christian. God and Jesus did not promise wealth, or health, or earthly freedom. Christianity is a call to faith, repentance, and personal piety. Conjoining the Republican agenda with Christianity is to pervert Christian goals, for the benefit of those in power. Item 4, “family values” will be the subject of the next in this series of the un-Christian right.