In GOP We Trust

     It is not my custom or preference to discuss anyone’s religion, or God, but because Republican officeholders have so often, and so obtrusively, brought it to the forefront of national discussions of policy of all sorts, I shall address the subject this one time. Then, perhaps, we can return the subject to our closets, where it belongs.
     Religion, like poetic justice, is supposed to supply us with a justice which is not available, or which we rarely receive, on Earth.
     We may ask whether religion and god belong in our national policy debates at all. I believe they do not – no more than poetry belongs there.
     But if one major player in the debate, that is, one of our two officially sanctioned parties, insists upon making religion and God central to their crusades, to their attempts to persuade us to adopt their policies – on science, on education, on foreign policy, on everything under God – we are left with two choices. We may ask whether they are using the subject merely for self-seeking ends; or whether they actually believe in the religious motivations they espouse, and actually mean to rule by them.
     Let us begin by considering the first alternative.
     For a true believer to use God and religion for self-seeking ends would be hypocrisy.
     I believe that for the main part, Republicans do use the subject of God and religion for self-seeking ends: for pursuit of office, for appeal for votes.
     To say this, is to say that today’s Republican Party is a party of hypocrites and liars. I believe that is the case, and that it is amply borne out by facts.
     The proof is found by considering the second alternative: by considering the religious principles the Republican Party professes to espouse, and whether its officeholders actually implement these principles, by exercise of the powers they have now, and had in the past, when, for instance, they controlled not just one or both houses of Congress, but the White House too.
     Do Republican presidents, senators and congressmen, in their official acts, exemplify the philosophy that Jesus expounded in the Sermon on the Mount?
     Don’t make me laugh.
     I am not speaking of what Republicans profess to believe, or may actually believe. I am speaking of what they have done, and are doing, and promise to do.
     History shows that the Republican Party’s ideals have nothing to do with the values so lucidly explained in the Sermon on the Mount. Today’s headlines, and yesterday’s and tomorrow’s, show that Republicans do not operate that way, never have ruled that way, and do not intend to rule by those principles.
     We are left, then, with the question of whether the Republicans simply fall short of their high goals, as all humans must; or whether they do not actually have the goals they profess, but have other ones.
     In other words, whether the Republicans actually have the God they profess to have, or whether they have another one.
     History shows that the God of the Republican Party, for the totality of this millennium anyway, for the past 40 years, in fact, has not been the God of the Sermon on the Mount. It has been some other God.
     That leaves us with a final question: whether the God the Republicans actually do have, the one that actually motivates their actions, is worth worshiping.

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