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 for republican leadership or policies is inconsistent with scripture. In part 2, I contrasted 3 of the 4 main themes of the GOP platform versus scripture, and showed that while those themes may be “pro-prosperity” or “pro-America”, they are not consistent with scriptural values. In this part, I will examine and contrast the fourth theme, “Family Values”. I chose 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.
The section of the GOP platform that deals most with “family values” is ” Great American Families, Education, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice”. Within this section are mentioned education, criminal justice, poverty, health care,and religion/relationships/marriage. Education and criminal justice are not mentioned in the Bible. I will address the others in order.
- The GOP sees alleviation of poverty as the responsibility of the individual, and government assistance as promoting dependence. The GOP answer to poverty is to “pull yourselves up by your bootstraps”.
- “By making welfare a benefit instead of an entitlement, it put millions of recipients on a transition from dependence to independence.”
- “This is the progressive pathology: Keeping people dependent so that government can redistribute income. “
- ” We call for removal of structural impediments which progressives throw in the path of poor people: Over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements, needless restrictions on formation of schools and day-care centers serving neighborhood families, and restrictions on providing public services in fields like transport and sanitation that close the opportunity door to all but a favored few.”
- The GOP sees healthcare as in need of being “set free” of the burdens of federal regulations and malpractice lawsuits. The premise seems to be that costs can be controlled by less legislation.
- ” We will return to the states their historic role of regulating local insurance markets, limit federal requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid, and call on state officials to reconsider the costly medical mandates, imposed under their own laws, that price millions of low-income families out of the insurance market”
- ” Medical malpractice lawsuits have ballooned the cost of healthcare for everyone by forcing physicians to practice defensive medicine through tests and treatments which otherwise might be optional.”
- ” We support state and federal legislation to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, thereby relieving conscientious providers of burdens that are not rightly theirs and addressing a serious cause of higher medical bills.”
These quotes from the GOP platform all point in the direction of “get the federal government out of it, and leave things to others to sort out.” The poor are to get themselves out of their poverty, and the sick are to be cared for by doctors free from regulation. Neither of these GOP quotes seem to be consistent with Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we you hungry, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? When saw we you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you? Or when saw we you sick, or in prison, and came unto you? And the King shall answer and say to them, Verily I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.
Christian principles don’t seem to be worried about dependence. Christian principles also don’t seem to be worried about the cost of healthcare. The GOP position towards the poor is anti-Christian. The GOP position on healthcare is simply not Christian. In making it someone else’s issue, it avoids a serious problem with healthcare, and “washes its hands” as would Pilate.
1. Freedom for Americans in business includes the right to sell to whom they want and provide services to who they want based on religious principles. See:
a. “We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities.”
b. ” America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession.”
The Bible contains no verses which refer to business practices other than Old Testament references to God being against unfair scales and measures.
Deuteronomy 25:15-16 But you shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shall you have: that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God gives you. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD your God.
The New Testament reserves a prominent place for evangelical activities, which is by definition reaching out to those of different beliefs. It is hard to see the GOP position of restricting business to those of different religious views as consistent with scripture.
2. Freedom of religion for everyone that includes lack of persecution. See:
a. ” The United States must stand with leaders, like President Sisi of Egypt who has bravely protected the rights of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and call on other leaders across the region to ensure that all religious minorities, whether Yazidi, Bahai, Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant Christians, are free to practice their religion without fear of persecution.”
While freedom of religion is consistent with Biblical teaching, it is hard to see how republicans don’t see the conflict of this statement with item 1 above. Should one desire to refuse service to someone on the basis of religious views, how is that not persecution? The inability to buy food, for example would lead to starving. Not providing health care would lead to serious problems. This sounds like persecution.
3. Only heterosexual relationships are recognized and approved. See:
a. “That same provision of law is now being used by bureaucrats — and by the current President of the United States — to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories.”
b. ” They are determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions. Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suit against it.”
With regard to marriage, the Bible has only heterosexual examples. As for sexuality, the mentions of homosexuality are in a negative context, however homosexuality was not mentioned in the ten commandments. The Old Testament records the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for evil, corruption, and homosexual practices, but we are not given a detail accounting of the importance of each factor. In any case, that was an act of God, and not of men. It is not in the hands of man to deal with this issue. Pope Francis on March 5, 2014 indicated that the church should be open to civil unions, see this link. Also, on LGBT issues, see this link. There are no verses which support some kind of persecution of any group of people. This is a lengthy issue, but the Bible concludes that all are under sin:
Romans 3:10-11 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
This completes my review of the main themes contained within the GOP platform. To recap:
- 90% of the platform is concerned with accumulation of property, nationalism, education, and items which are not related to Christian principles.
- In the remaining 10%, it is self contradictory, and not consistent with scripture, scriptural attitudes, or leaders of the Christian faith.
It should be clear that there is no reason for the Christian right to see the GOP platform as the fulfillment of its goals. The enthusiasm the right has for the GOP platform is based on non-Christian principles like accumulation of property, and nationalism. This platform divorces responsibility towards needy groups, and focuses attention on enabling a libertarian view of life in the United States.
In my next article, I will address common attitudes of republicans that are consistent with the GOP platform, but not specifically mentioned in that document. These attitudes are also manifestly non-Christian or anti-Christian.