THE BLOG
01/21/2016 04:18 pm ET Updated Jan 20, 2017

God's Own Party

I don't think that politicians in our secular country should be quoting the Bible to make their case for legislation. That's why I half agree with Virginia Rep. Dave Brat, the GOP lawmaker who famously upset former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 Republican primary. Here's the half with which I disagree. Brat said that it's fine for Republicans to quote the Bible, but not for Democrats to do so. He continued, "Our side, the conservative side, needs to re-educate its people that we own the entire [biblical] tradition." What especially drew Brat's ire was President Obama's reasons for allowing Syrian refugees to enter our country, which included a biblical reference from James 1:27 about looking after widows and orphans.

If politicians can't provide good evidence-based reasons to support an issue, they shouldn't rely on an ancient pre-scientific book written by bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, intolerant, superstitious men. I understand why politicians often pander to people who prefer black and white theocratic decisions. After all, political pandering is bi-partisan. Brat, however, goes too far. Although I find his comments mildly amusing, if I were a Christian I'd be incensed by the way Brat is giving Christians a bad name (or worse name, depending on your point of view).

Some Republicans say we need to take our country back, but they usually don't specify where or from whom. Perhaps they want to take our country back from a black president, or from Democrats. But they are not saying we need to take our government back, so perhaps they want to take our country back to the bad old days before we adopted civil rights legislation, equal rights for women and other minorities, and social programs that helped people in need.

On the other hand, many Christians want everyone to read the Bible--often standing on my street handing out Bible tracts to everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, or political affiliation. But Rep. Brat's mantra seems primarily to be, "Take our Bible back (from Democrats)." And I understand why, because Democrats might quote passages that Brat doesn't want to hear. With all the Bible's contradictions and ambiguities, Republicans and Democrats alike can easily find phrases to make their case. If you want war, quote Matthew 10: 34: "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." If you want peace, quote Matthew 5:39, about turning the other cheek.

You can also find quotes to show that Jesus was a secular progressive, maybe even a communist. Examples include Mark 10:25: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Matthew19:21: To be perfect, sell your possessions and give them to the poor. Acts 2:44: All the believers were together and had everything in common.

Apparently, a lot of Republicans either don't read the Bible or don't think it applies to them. Which brings me to Donald Trump, currently a favorite among evangelical Christians. Recently at Liberty University, Trump quoted from "Second Corinthians" (II Corinthians), which he referred to as "Two Corinthians." Trump rarely concedes first place to anything or anybody else. But during his speech he said that the Bible was even better than his best-selling book, The Art of the Deal. Or, as Trump might say, "My book is the two (second) best book in the world."

I doubt that "The Donald" and many other politicians spend much time studying the Bible they so effusively praise. Our country would be better served if they'd spend more time reading and governing according to our Constitution rather than according to an ancient and errant "holy" book.