By Jason Taylor
Blending politics and religion has never been a good idea. The Founding Fathers knew that. The blending has not damaged politics too much but, religion has taken a very serious blow and the hurting is far from over. Many of the 49% of Alabama voters who voted for Roy Moore did so because they felt a religious connection to him that was too strong to break.
The real danger is that Moore’s voters and supporters in other states are far too easily led astray and are very susceptible to manipulative leaders who push the right buttons.
The Alabama campaign opened a window on some branches of religion and revealed a very troubling picture. It is not unreasonable to think that, even if Mueller finds powerful evidence of criminal wrong-doing on the part of President Trump, his removal may trigger very negative consequences.
Let’s just stop referring to them as “Christians”, shall we? Because most of their public positions are in direct conflict with the teaching of Christ, who spoke of loving your neighbor, being merciful and pure in heart, making peace, being kind to others’ children, dealing with your own flaws instead of stoning other people for theirs, etc. Jesus spoke against hypocrites, Pharisees, moneychangers. These so-called evangelicals now worship power and money above all. They have become what he abhorred.
Once again, we see that religion and politics mix as well as oil and water. You cannot be devoted to a creed that states “love thy neighbor,” “judge not lest ye be judged,” and “whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do unto me” but still support the likes of Trump and Moore. That is, plain and simple, a hypocritical and opportunistic stance and defiles the teachings of Jesus. And evangelicals wonder why so much of the voting public hold them in disdain. Actions speak louder than words.
Republican evangelicals act as if they’re Republicans first and Christians second. In fact, a very sizeable group of Christians have been telling Republican evangelicals the same thing (e.g. many Catholics, mainline Protestants, and younger evangelicals). Throwing their support behind a racist, a homophobic pedophile may be a particularly low moment, but Republican evangelicals have been mucking around with morally questionable politics for many years.
Let’s be honest. Fundamentalists and evangelicals who are capable of believing and teaching their children that God deliberately “planted” fossils and other scientific evidence of evolution for humans to find, in order to “test their faith,” certainly have no trouble convincing themselves that God “uses” people like Roy Moore, Donald Trump, and Steve Bannon – regardless of how sleazy and sinful they may be – in order to achieve his “greater good,” whatever that may be.
Once people check their brains at the door, there is nothing they can’t convince themselves is true. Nor is there any way to reason with them. That’s where our society is today, on a host of issues.
It took Roy Moore for some Evangelical Christians to realize that their image was being “tarnished?” What about Jim Bakker? What about the prosperity gospel? What about Senator Larry Craig? What about TRUMP?
If I devoted 2-3 words here to every hypocritical Christian leader or movement forgiven and embraced by the faithful, this piece would be book length. Many Evangelicals claim to “forgive” because of “their faith,” but they only seem to extend that forgiveness to people blowing the right frequencies on their dog whistles. I’m tired of people claiming these types aren’t “real Christians.” Yes, they are folks. Own it. They’re yours, whether you like it or not, and they define Christianity in this country, whether you like it or not. They tarnish us all.
Possibly evangelicals will start to figure out that, unlike the popular story that evangelicals took over the Republican party, the reverse is actually true. The Republicans took over the evangelicals. In exchange for a lot of posturing about Christian values on the part of the cynical republicans (but no legislation passed or meaningful changes made), the Republicans got evangelicals praising the benefits of capital gains tax cuts and similar rubbish in the pulpit every Sunday. I wonder where you find republican dogma in the bible?
You can hug and praise the Lord and speak in voices and invoke God almighty all you want, but at the end of the day, you need to do what is right — and that means abiding by the golden rule. It really is as simple as that.