The Republican position on issues like unemployment insurance, minimum wage, the SNAP program, and Medicaid is cruel on a level that is deeper than anything we've seen in American politics since the ugliness of the backlash against the civil rights movement. But what is even more troubling is the profound hypocrisy of a political party whose leaders overwhelmingly claim to have Judeo-Christian ethics yet go so totally against the teachings of Jesus and the Jewish scriptures.
Being the grandson and brother of Methodist ministers, and the son of the lay leader of the Nebraska Methodist Conference, I grew up reading and re-reading the Christian Bible, and I still treasure it. I have written a lot over the years about the disconnect between modern Christian conservatives and the teachings of the man they say they are following. As I wrote in a blog post I called "The Greatest Betrayal," which was about how modern conservatives have utterly rejected and betrayed the followings of the man they call their savior, I noted that:
"In the 4 Christian Gospels, the ones that tell about Jesus' life and ministry, the ones conservative fundamentalist Christians tell us they believe word for word, Jesus spoke about mercy and kindness to those weaker and in need 24 times; he tells people to love and help their neighbors 19 times; he either speaks with disdain about rich people or tells people to help the poor or both a grand total of 128 times. Just to circle back and help y'all with your math, that's 0 times for abortion, 0 times for birth control, 0 times attacking homosexuality, and 181 where he talks about helping the poor, the weak, the hungry, and your neighbors."
I wrote that piece after watching House Republicans slash money for feeding the hungry by $40 billion. Now they are rejecting attempts to extend UI and raise the minimum wage. They claim they are doing it to help poor people become less dependent on government welfare, but as the video below shows, their comments reveal a cruelty that is deeply disturbing. And when Jesus was talking about which nations would be blessed by God with the kingdom of heaven in that famous passage about the least of these in Matthew 25: 31-46, the nations that were feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and showing compassion to prisoners were the ones going to heaven, not the ones denying the poor so that they would be less dependent. (Check out the line in that verse about the nations being assembled before him -- Jesus is not talking about individual charity in that passage.) So apparently, these Republicans want to send our country straight to hell.
Please check out this video below that the organization I chair, American Family Voices, put out today. It features my favorite moral philosopher, Jesus, and one of my favorite songs, John Fogarty's brilliant "Fortunate Son," but the politicians featured in it are in no way my favorites:
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