With eighty-five percent of Americans identifying themselves as Christian, today's Republican Party has found it politically advantages to portray itself as the 'party of Christian values'. Republicans attributed their 2004 victory to voters favoring them for their self-proclaimed religious principles over the Democrats, which they have labeled as secular, loose-living liberals.
But, hold on here, there's a big contradiction between the teachings of Jesus Christ and the actions of the Republican controlled US government engaged in slaughter and torture in a pre-emptive war brought on with lies. Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, love our enemies, and not to punish and retaliate. Jesus was nonviolent; he healed people and raised them from the dead rather than engage in maiming and killing as the 'Christian' Republicans have done in the Middle East. So, who's lying, Jesus Christ or the Republicans? What are we to do, throw out our Bibles or vote out the Republicans?
The Republican Party procured its 'Christian' tag by currying favor from groups of religious/political extremists collectively known as the Religious Right. Republican politicians scrapped the separation of church and state and supported the inclusion of religious symbols and practices where they didn't belong. Public praying in schools, displaying the Ten Commandments on government sites and preserving the phrase 'in God we trust' as part of the pledge have become political and not religious causes. Republican politicians cherry-picked Biblical edicts and twisted them into their own negative versions. The Bible rebuked homosexuality, so Republican politicians treated gays with hatred and bigotry. The Bible says 'thou shall not kill', so they scuttled vital stem cell research and criminalized abortion while cutting aid to raise children. And, they conveniently left unmentioned Biblical edicts decidedly un-Republican such as Christ's admonishment for hoarding wealth and decree to give to the poor.
The 'party of Christian values' has come off as the 'party of hypocrites' when their very visible spokespersons were not banished for publicly flaunting aberrant personal behavior. Rush Limbaugh, an Oxycoten addict charged with prescription fraud, was recently caught possessing Viagra obtained with an irregular prescription. What's a divorced man doing with Viagra? And, Bill O' Reilly of Fox News paid millions to squash a sexual harassment suit while the good Reverend Pat Robertson on his TV show called for the assignation of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
It's shocking, but there has been quite a bit of deviant behavior prevailing throughout the rank and file of today's Republican politicians. They have taken on the holier-than-thou stance of the Religious Right and preached about their superior morals while personally engaging in corrupt, immoral and illegal activities. For example, a Republican judge was sentenced to 10-years probation for fondling a 10-year old girl. A Republican Party leader was arrested for having sex with a 5-year old boy. A Republican Mayor is serving 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls. (To see an extensive list, go to www.armchairsubversive.com.)
It wasn't always this way. During the latter half of the 19th century, the Republican Party did good things and supported high ideals. For example, Congressional Republicans passed the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which outlawed slavery, guaranteed equal protection under the law and secured voting rights for African-Americans. In the past, the Republican Party's core principles included good things such as fiscal responsibility, small government, keeping the government out of people's private lives, traditional family values and government serving the people and not the reverse. Furthermore, today's Republican politicians try to claim it's still true today. But, in truth, by the 1980's there had been a full-face reversal, not just a gradual evolution, of these ideals as the Republican Party detached itself from most of its own history and moved away from its traditional supporters. This dramatic change occurred when ruthless, self -serving politicians of a lower character took over. Corrupted, mean-spirited and hate-spewing opportunists now run the Republican Party. They revolve to and from the big-money corporate world with no goals beyond being elected and re-elected to grab the power and wealth it brings. (Haley Barbour, former RNC chairman turned tobacco lobbyist)
It is clear that today's Republican Party is definitely not what it says it is. So, we need to examine some honest-to-God real values that Republican politicians hold dear.
The Care and Feeding of the Super Wealthy:
The Republican Party has had one overriding goal: promoting the interests of wealthy Americans even if it hurts working folks and bankrupts the nation. Republicans have shown their preference for wealth over work, inheritance over initiative, and privilege over productivity. The latest Republican budget cut $50 billion from the sick and poor and added $106 billion in tax cuts for the rich (Reverse Robin Hood). They even cut funding for benefits for military families and veterans including health care and disability compensation for the sake of the tax cuts. It is no surprise that the income gap between the top 1% and the bottom 2/5ths has continued to grow.
Right Wing Extremism:
Republican conservatism has morphed into right wing extremism. Extremists now control the Republican Party and have redefined it as a bigoted, hateful and intolerant party. The Religious Right faction wants to scuttle the Constitution and transform America into a theocracy. The corporate faction wants to scuttle the Constitution and set up a fascist corporate dictatorship. Individuality and dissent have become intolerable. Bush says, "It's my way or no way." Cindy Sheehan is manhandled out of the Congress and arrested for wearing a peace T-shirt.
Republican operatives have become tremendously skilled at using emotionally charged 'wedge issues' such as abortion, gay marriage and flag burning to polarize Americans into opposing camps. Certain issues seem to naturally initiate emotional, knee-jerk reactions and bypass reasonable thoughtful discussion. Republican leaders could care less about the meanings of these issues, but love them dearly because of their power to distract voters from hurtful Republican pursuits such as making the wealthy wealthier, increasing our national debt, dismantling the Constitution, and taking away government social services.
Deficit Spending and Trickle Down Economics:
Republicans have long claimed that they were the party of fiscal responsibility and routinely charged their rivals as being 'tax and spend Democrats' in order to discredit their welfare programs. In truth, however, recent Republican presidents have been the really big spenders topped by George W. Bush with his rubberstamp Republican Congress. He followed Clinton's almost zero debt growth, raising it by 7% and increasing the deficit to an astronomical eight trillion. Bush has embraced the Republican's 'trickle down' theory with his tax cuts for the rich. However, history has repeatedly shown that the theory doesn't work; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer as does the economy. On the other hand, Democrats follow 'growth economics' in which wealth 'bubbles up' from all Americans as it did during the Clinton boom years.