When I watch many right-wing conservative Republicans in action, I can’t help but think of my old Sunday-school lessons. Remember the Pharisees, the self-proclaimed pious ones of biblical times who were famous for opposing the love-and-peace ministry of Jesus Christ?
Pharisees have raised their ugly heads in this country many times — remember the witchhunting Puritans? Former Sen. Joseph McCarthy? If you pay attention to history, you do, because fortunately, in our society, these people ultimately are exposed. But in case we have forgotten, let’s recall the misdeeds of a few who became so devoted to very limited parts of the law — God’s and man’s — that they violated the very moral code they used to condemn others: the adulterous and larcenous Rev. Jim Bakker; the weeping, prostitute-ogling Rev. Jimmy Swaggert, who once gave a sermon about killing gay men; the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who talks of love while verbally bashing gays, Jews and Muslims; the Rev. and arbiter of God’s vengeance Pat Robertson. There are many, many more.
So we need not look too far to see the hypocrisy of these modern-day Pharisees. Neither do we need to confine ourselves to looking at persons of the cloth.
- George W Bush, our morally superior president, was arrested for drunk driving.
- The red states have a much higher divorce rate than the blue states. Moreover, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country.
- Bill Bennett, the self-proclaimed conservative watchdog of everyone else’s morality, was exposed in 2003 as being a high-rolling gambler.
- Dr. Laura Schlessinger, talk radio’s moral crusader, posed for porn-style pictures.
- Rush Limbaugh, the ultra-conservative radio talk jockey who called for all drug addicts to be locked up with the keys thrown away, is himself a recovering druggy.
- Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) persecuted Bill Clinton for his infidelities without divulging his more serious transgression, an illegitimate child he did not claim publicly.
- Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) persecuted Bill Clinton for his infidelities without divulging her own extramarital affairs.
- Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was ruthless in bringing down many of his political foes. Meanwhile, he spent his off-hours having extramarital affairs, divorcing his first of three wives when she contracted cancer, and being reprimanded by the House for campaign-finance violations.
Many more prominent conservatives could be named, but the point is made. While it would be just as easy to compile a list of progressives with feet of clay, the fact is that on the whole, liberals don’t push legislating “thou shalt”s beyond extendeing tolerance to all and helping out the less fortunate among us. And progressive leaders, be they Democrat, Green, Socialist or Independent, don’t work to take rights away from people.
Conservative leaders constantly cast themselves as the guardians of American morality and virtue. One only need look at the deeds of our five surviving former presidents, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter and Ford. Democratic Presidents Clinton and Carter have committed themselves to humanitarian efforts on a constant basis; the Republicans, with the possible exception of G eorge H.W. Bush, have done far less. Perhaps conservatives should refrain from using their Bibles to bash others and instead reread the book of James:
2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?
2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Progressive liberals have not done nearly enough to expose the hypocrisy of the so-called Religious Right. Until this changes, the country will continue to migrate toward fundamentalist-driven Dark Ages.
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