There was a time when conservatives embraced moderate intellectuals and exercised arguments founded on pragmatic principles to influence legislation. Unfortunately, over the last thirty-five years the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism has transformed the modern Republican Party, who once espoused traditional American values of stewardship and moderation to a model which represents extremism and exclusion. This new model substitutes traditional virtues like taking care of the poor and the sick with a relentless pursuit of wealth worship, inequality and a perpetual culture of war.
Since 1980 Evangelical voters have been the staple of the Republican Party with fundamental conservative organizations like the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition influencing elections and attempting to legislate morality. Today the religious right has coalesced with the Tea Party faithful and organizations like the Heritage foundation, Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity to form a quasi-politicized religion, a modern manifestation that represents a systemic failure and profound disconnect. A marriage of bad economics and deceptive practices which employs the familiar strategy of weaving faith, politics and anti-government rhetoric to unravel our civility and poison our discourse. This contradiction of traditional Republican tenets and Christian values is exemplified through endless distractions of manufactured issues from Benghazi and “legitimate rape” to food stamps and the debt ceiling. Unfortunately, the real culprits that threaten our society: mass incarceration, systemic racism, unsustainable defense spending, income inequality, concentration of wealth, Wall street deregulation, voter suppression, middle class erosion, a failing infrastructure, campaign finance, and corporate welfare remain ignored and continue to wreak havoc on our economy and undermine our democracy.
This maladaptive fringe thinking contributes to positions that have no religious basis and a race-to-the-bottom mentality that encourages incomplete, dead-end thinking. A pattern which indicates a systemic failure in the religious conservatism methodology and a profound disconnect between the Republican Party and their own middle-class Christian values. The recent Tea Party infusion only exacerbates the normalizing of apocalyptic worldviews using theological arguments to support anti-science, anti-intellectualism and an anti-government policies designed to dismantle the social safety net and create inequalities that are in direct conflict with their own economic interests. These distractions are wreaking havoc on the Republican Party and the nation. Ultimately, if conservative Christians advocate for a smaller government then that standard should equally apply to less government intrusion into women’s reproductive rights and state sponsored marriages. If Christians don’t want their tax dollars taking care of the poor and the sick then it’s time to stop claiming you want a government based on Christian values. The real question is what would Jesus do. When we look at his life and attempt to assign a political definition to the actions of a brown-skinned anti-war pacifist who washed the feet of a prostitute, fed the hungry, healed the sick and didn’t speak English, the only conclusion one can logically arrive at is that Jesus was exhibiting modern liberal beliefs.