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Oh, Jesus: The GOP Roundtable That Stank to High Heaven

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If Jesus were alive today, he'd be Occupying Wall Street and turning pepper spray into Beaujolais.

The laughable display of Republican piety at Saturday afternoon's 13th GOP candidacy debate in Des Moines was enough to make a Christian sick. Bragging shamelessly about their devotion, the six participants in this gospel coven contradicted the spirit of their religion and shone and undivine light on their own Bible thumping hypocrisy.

Though Romney couldn't make it (dodging the Mormon Cult Bullet?) and secular Huntsman stayed away (dodging the Not Christian Enough grenade), the six other Republican hopefuls were there to give the full hallelujah.

We got Newt Gingrich telling the Occupy Wall Street protesters to "Go get a job right after you take a bath.'" How's that for Christian charity during an employment crisis? Think that manger in Bethlehem smelled like a bed of roses, Newt?

Or what about hound dog Herman "Want the Job?" Cain declaring that "Freedom without responsibility is immoral." Talk about Don Juan calling the freedom fighter black.

Let's not forget made-for-Mad TV's Michele Bachman claiming that "God created government," even as she and her tea bagging cohorts trash the Fed every day on the campaign trail.

Or the brilliant Rick Perry, the killingest Governor in the country (with more executions under his cowboy belt than Bonnie and Clyde) declaring that the U.S. should sever aid to China "based on moral injustices."

Or Ron Paul, that paragon of Christian humility, being unable to identify a single personal fault.

Or Rick Santorum, the anti-abortion zealot who'd rather see rape victims die than allow them the right to choose, revealing his secret for dealing with emotional complexity. After a weepy moment recalling the near-death of his infant daughter, the smart-but-twisted Santorum fessed up: "I decided the best thing I could do was to treat her differently, and not love her," the hardliner said of the daughter he almost lost, "because it wouldn't hurt as much if I lost her. I had seen her as less of a person because of her disability." Oh, OK.

The most shocking part of this "Thanksgiving Round Table" came when the subject of war raised its bloody helmet. Not a single one of these so-called Christians took a stand against violence, full stop. Not one of them cited Christ's injunction to turn the other cheek or to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. Not a single reference was made to compassion, tolerance, humility or poverty (in the spiritual sense of doing without so that others might eat). Instead, these politicians trumpeted their personal virtues, trashed the thousands of OWSers protesting in the streets outside (where Jesus would have shouting his lungs), and agreed that, on the question of war, "the U.S. will get done what has to be done, whether the world thinks it is right or not."

Instead of Christian values, we got hate-speech. Rather than testaments of faith, we got stump talk. In place of honor, they served hypocrisy in church-sized gobs for the rest of us to gag on. "Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue," after all, as La Rochefoucauld tells us. It's time for the God-exploiting GOP to wake up and smell the self-serving bulls--t.