The Republican candidates for the 2008 presidential nomination went a courting the religious right this weekend; flowery words and candied platitudes in hand to prove their love to the conservative Christians christening themselves as values voters (see Religious Right Divides Its Vote at Summit from the New York Times).
They are a group who though taking the name of the New Testament's protagonist as their titular guide, never seem to get past the eye-for-an-eye morality of the Bible's first half. They like to rain Old Testament vengeance down on anyone not fitting their mold of moralistic behavior. They have an amazing propensity to ignore the bits of the good book that don't suit their purposes, even though Christ's words most often contradict their own.
Jesus may be their savior, but his lessons fall on deaf ears. Believing themselves righteous beyond reproach, they gladly cast the first, second and every other stone that lies close by their graspy hands. Proclaiming themselves the defenders of life, they were instrumental in electing a President who indiscriminately wielded the power of state execution as Governor of Texas. He also launched us into a war that defies anyone's definition of just, and caused the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians.
Their inverted values prize hate over love, and retribution over mercy. Christ's example of forgiveness and inclusiveness got lost in the King James translation of their Bibles, replaced with the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament's vengeful deity. His vilification of those who seek material wealth is conveniently overlooked. His selfless model for feeding the poor, embracing the outcast, and ministering to the sick is mostly forgotten.
If these values voters looked a little more closely at their leadership, they might recognize the manipulation of good intentions that's taking place. Thankfully, the far right's political sway is diminishing as the repercussions of their favorite son's policy's manifest themselves. That's George W. Bush , not Jesus.
A plummeting dollar and upward trending inflation will mean much economic hardship for Americans, a situation exacerbated by the monetary drain of this unwinable war. The next President will likely have to deal with a major recession, needing to feed growing numbers of hungry and provide health care to the mounting uninsured. I don't see anyone in the Republican ranks up to that task. Maybe it will take the second coming of Christ himself to win them back the White House, but I don't think he'd find much worthwhile in the Republican's current platform.
Christ for President
Words by Woody Guthrie
Let's have Christ our president.
Let us have him for our king.
Cast your vote for the carpenter
that you call the Nazarene.
The only way we can ever beat
these crooked politician men
Is to run the money changers out of the temple
And put the Carpenter in
O It's Jesus Christ our president
God above our king
With a job and a pension for young and old
We will make hallelujah ring
Every year we waste enough
to feed the ones who starve
We build our civilization up
and we shoot it down with wars
But with the Carpenter on the seat
away up in the capital town
the USA would be on the way prosperity bound!