With each passing day, the howling histrionics of the so-called religious right grow louder and more hysterical. Initially railing against abortion, they eventually began to see the growing acceptance of marriage equality, and other rights for gay individuals and couples, and this was almost more than they could bear. And as their strident cries for a return to some bizarre interpretation of the Bible increased, they condemned such ‘evils’ as food stamps for children, a livable minimum wage for working people, and that most abominable of all Satan’s work: health care.
A closer look at some of these issues is interesting.
Sincere opponents of abortion value all life, and so also oppose the death penalty and war, and support efforts to enhance the quality of life for all. This could be seen as biblically-based, in the commandments of ‘Thou shalt not kill’ and ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’.
Yet if the ‘right’ wants to reduce abortions, there are certainly many ways to do it. Comprehensive sex education is a start. Unlike what the right may believe, this does not mean discussing human sexuality in kindergarten. But it does mean helping young children to know that parts of their bodies, often described to them as the parts covered by a bathing suit, are private. As children grow older, more specific information is provided, including, during their high-school years, information about birth control. Yet sex-education is seen as yet another horror being forced upon society by a secular, godless government.
Birth control is another area that would certainly prevent unwanted pregnancies, and thus, abortions. If a young woman’s parents are away, she may invite her boyfriend over. Isn’t it far better if she is on the pill, or he has a condom in his wallet, than otherwise? The old Nancy Reagan remedy for preventing substance abuse – “Just Say No” – will be far less efficacious in preventing sexual activity than it was on stopping drug use, and that wasn’t much. So as long as teens are saying ‘yes’, they should be equipped with the knowledge and tools to prevent a devastating pregnancy. But no, says the religious right, heaven forbid young people be allowed to know about birth control, let alone be able to purchase such devices. If someone is truly ‘pro-life’, wouldn’t they be at the forefront of efforts to provide teens with this information, and access to birth control?
As far as war is concerned, it doesn’t seem as if the right is leading in supporting diplomatic efforts to prevent it. Quite the contrary: whenever there is a march toward war, it is led by the so-called Christian right.
Now onto the issue of homosexuality. Many on the fringe right say this is simply a choice. This writer often wonders at what point these pundits reached a crossroads and had to decide for themselves whether or not to choose heterosexuality or homosexuality. It only makes sense that if some people ‘choose’ to be gay, others must ‘choose’ to be straight.
So what of that? Choice or not, isn’t it a violation of God’s sacred laws? Scriptures talk about the union of man and woman, but Jesus Christ never discussed, one way or the other, the union of same sex couples. However, two scriptures come to mind. The first is Luke 6, verse 37 which reads as follows: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” These are the words of Jesus Christ, who the ‘right’ purports to follow. There doesn’t seem to be any lack of clarity in this declaration.
The second scripture, also the words of Jesus Christ, comes from John 8, verse 7. Here we read, in part: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” This, of course, was when the learned Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in adultery, a capital crime at the time. Mightn’t today’s religious right zealots take a cue from this very clear and direct statement? Can any of them claim to be sinless?
The contempt and disdain in which the religious right holds the poor is also puzzling when viewed in a truly biblical context. James, 2, verses 1 – 6 seem very clear on this point.
1. My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons
2. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man, in vile raiment
3. And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit there here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4. Are you not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thought?
It seems clear in these four verses that the poor are as worthy in the eyes of Jesus Christ as the rich. Somehow, much of the ‘Christian’ right seems to overlook this fact.
Matthew 25, verses 33 – 40 might also give some on the ‘Christian right’ food for thought:
- 33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36. Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38. When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39. Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
This writer doesn’t see anywhere in these, or any other verses in the Bible, where the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, ill or imprisoned person was to be ignored or, worse yet, condemned for their hunger, thirst, illness, crimes, or inability to purchase other needed goods.
So why do those who spew such hatred and yet claim to be Christian have a following? This is extremely puzzling to this writer. Why do so-called Christian leaders condemn the poor, support draconian anti-gay laws, wish, in the name of Jesus Christ, to deprive millions of people of health care, and still manage to have credibility? Why does anyone with even a cursory familiarity with the Bible listen to a word they say?
The only reason that makes any sense is the need for people to hide their ignorance and bigotry in some kind of respectable façade. Wrapping it in the garb of their own twisted brand of Christianity, pulling one or two scripture verses out of context and ignoring the rest, seems to work well for them. Call anyone who has or performs an abortion a murderer, but support government leaders who send soldiers and bombs to kill people. Why not hate gay people, if one can find an obscure verse in the Old Testament that seems to support the idea of homosexuality as sinful? We’ll all just ignore the verses about stoning adulterers and wayward children, and not getting tattoos. Why not criticize the poor, when one can find a verse or two that says the righteous will be rewarded, and the wicked punished, ignoring the many verses about the faith of the righteous being tried? And certainly, let’s not look at all at those pesky verses about loving one’s neighbor, or not judging.
True Christianity is not hatred-fueled, intolerant, cold or condemning. It is accepting, inclusive and non-judgmental. Once the so-called Christian right accepts that fact (this writer is not holding his breath waiting), and starts expending its considerable energy and resources on the less fortunate, real progress can be made toward the peace on earth promised by Jesus Christ to all mankind.