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Right Wing Conservative Republicans – The New Pharisees?

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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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  • Nancy

    Good article & right on target.

  • http://redtard@hotmail.com RedTard

    The one way to ensure your not viewed as a hypocrite is to not take a stand on anything. I would agree that Democrats do a great job of that.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com alienboy

    You know, Redtard, there’s really no better way to undermine your position than by making hysterical over-statements like here in #2.

    You could at least follow the example of some of commenters on these pages, you know, the ones that engage with the issues rather than mere unhelpful name calling…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Well, two of the ‘right wing conservative republicans’ you mention are actually ‘moderate somewhat liberal republicans’ – Bush and Gingrich – so that whole idea is a bit off.

    As for exposing the hypocrisy of the right, the representatives of the left who are in positions of power might have a hard time doing that as much of it is the same hypocrisy they share.

    Dave

  • Maurice

    Good article and well presented. I do have to disagree with the following:

    “Progressive liberals have been very weak in exposing the hypocrisy of the right”.

    The examples you presented have been discussed many times and I would argue are common knowledge.

    One last thought. I think it is a good thing to try to be moral and to try to set high standards. It is also a good thing to forgive people that fail to reach their own goals.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Oh yeah, I forgot to dispute all of your specific charges against individual conservatives. They’re mostly wrong or at least poorly thought out.

    Do we hold past alcoholism against someone if they’ve reformed?

    Do we judge people for what they do while young and naive and in college?

    Rush Limbaugh has never been outspoken in support of the drug war, in fact he’s only been known to have mentioned it once on his show.

    Bennett’s enormously rich and can afford to lose some money gambling – he’s not an addict and it’s not a crime.

    The point you miss in your zeal is that these people are human and have failings, just like everyone else. It doesn’t invalidate their opinions, the work that they do or their existence as human beings.

    If we can take Teddy Kennedy seriously after drunkenly dropping trow in the living room and drowning a woman then I imagine we can give conservatives a mulligan or two too.

    What we need to look out for are repeated patterns of corruption and abuse of power.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Dave, some of us have NOT ‘forgiven’ Kennedy or forgotten; cowardice or irresponsibility that causes the death of others is not in the same league as errors we all incur as the unhappy result of being “human”. Ditto those who have evaded service themselves, yet have the moral zero to send others to death in war, and a war for profit & ego at that.

    The point of this whole exercise was & is, that what is unforgivable is that each one of these hypocrites has secretly wallowed in exactly those vices & situations they have publicly postured against (with the exception of Bennett, who I’ve never heard inveigh against gambling). To do it is bad enough; to do it while ranting against others doing it is the crime, so to speak.

  • http://lostsupermarket.blogspot.com/ Sean

    Will there be a similar article showcasing various liberals howling about the rich not paying their fair share and then highlighting their massive wealth and tax reduction schemes?

    Just asking.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Author: way to criticize the messengers and not the message.

    If you think this was a good article, then you’re a liberal.
    If you think this was a bad article, then you’re a conservative.

    Polarize away.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Nancy, what makes them better qualified to criticize those vices than personal familiarity with them? And as I said before, Limbaugh has never been outspoken against drugs, and Bush has never been outspoken against drinking in general. Dr. Laura is a hypocrite of massive proportions, though.

    Sean, you’re dreaming, right?

    DAve

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com alienboy

    This hypocrisy is because the whole moral probity is being seriously overdone, whether it be on the right or left.

    “George W Bush, our morally superior president, was arrested for drunk driving.” DEFINITELY BAD, as it is both extremely dangerous to everyone in the driver’s rolling vicinity and a bad example.

    “Divorce” = irrelevant.

    “Bill Bennett, the self-proclaimed conservative watchdog of everyone else’s morality, was exposed in 2003 as being a high-rolling gambler.” IT’S OKAY to gamble, it’s NOT OK to busybody yourself into other people’s lives.

    “Dr. Laura Schlessinger, talk radio’s moral crusader, posed for porn-style pictures.” CONSENSUAL PORN is not a crime for adults but interfering in other people’s lives is.

    “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.” TAKING DRUGS outside of their customary medical usage is not always wrong but telling other people how to live is.

    “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.” WITCH HUNTING CLINTON was wrong. what happened in his personal life was between Hilary Clinton and him only.

    Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) persecuted Bill Clinton for his infidelities without divulging her own extramarital affairs. DOUBLE NON-ISSUE

    “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.” You can deduce the appropriate response YOURSELVES.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    “‘moderate somewhat liberal republicans’ – Bush and Gingrich”

    Dave? What? I call bullshit right there.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Scott, it’s just a fact. You can call it whatever you want, but it doesn’t alter reality. Look at their records.

    Dave

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Well, to be fair, it’s not a “fact.” It’s your opinion. It’s wrong, but that’s ok. You’ll learn.

  • Nancy

    If you denounce it because you’ve been there – and have stopped or are fighting it – that’s one thing; if you denounce others all the while you’re enjoying exactly the same vice, and meanwhile pretending you’re not, that’s hypocrisy.

    And actually, I’d like to see an article that does profile all those ultra-rich (both sides) who pretend to be on the side of the working class & the poor, while in no possible danger of ever knowing what it’s like, but is this blogsite large enough to hold them all? Bush, Cheney, Clinton, DeLay, Frist, Kennedy, Kerry … and the list goes on ….

  • Nancy

    On second thought, it might be better to list those in congress or the WH etc. who AREN’T overprivileged, rich pigs. It would certainly be shorter.

  • Brian

    Dave, I have read many of your posts and you deserve a round of applause. Your comments are sensible and well thought out. Kudos Dave!!!!

    P.S. Many politicians, especially on a national level, are disected to a point where their actions fall into personal perspective. Hypocracy exists on both sides of the aisle, and deep down I’m sure liberals must know that.

  • http://gkurtz@hotmail.com Dr. Kurt

    The comments about Rush Limbaugh may be correct; I’d have to read some transcripts. I do know that he has been 100% guilty of hypocricy on a related issue: he has repeatedly attacked the concept of a Right to Privacy, yet filed suit to keep his medical records (about his addiction troubles) closed based on his Right to Privacy. That is hypocricy, indeed – “I’m against it for you, but for it when it could benefit me.” It is also human nature, if indeed such a thing exists.
    As a recovering goof-up who helps other goof-ups who want to become decent humans, I can’t slag anyone off for making human mistakes. However, power and hubris make for eternal humor, don’t they?
    “We cannot become old and wise without first being young and foolish.”

  • Eric Olsen

    excellent point Dr. Kurt, and I do agree Limbaugh is wildly hypocritical – among he very fe wtimes I have listened to him over the last 10 years, I heard him rail against drug users as law breakers who have no self-control. In light of his oxy issues, that was some serious hypocrisy.

    PT, you do a good job of laying out right-leaning hypocrisy, and there is no question a lot of these people tend toward the self-righteous, but surely you are aware that much of the left, especially the hard left, absolutely want to tell people what to do and how to live their lives. What has come to be called “political correctness” has noble origins and goals of social equality and lubrication, but anything other than voluntary enforcement of those strictures is authoritarian censorship.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    The left pioneered this idea of dictating how people live, and then some people from that background migrated into the GOP and contaminated it as well.

    Perhaps you should post that article you referenced to BC. There are some fallacies in it I’d love to take apart with a larger audience – particularly the fact that you believe all of Bush’s patently false religiosity.

    Dave

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Adding a “Liberals are bad” article to balance out this “Conversatives are bad” would just double the inanity.

    I am constantly amazed at how normally intelligent people can be so blind to the problems of their own party, while seeing the other party as the epitome of evil. In this case, it’s a leftist lashing out at Republicans. On another site I was reading yesterday, it was the opposite.

    Amazing.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Perhaps we just need an article on the general ‘lashing out’ phenomenon.

    Dave

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    not amazing at all phillip, it’s called “american”.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Or maybe we all want people to live good lives, some more than others, while we are all fallible.

    Perhaps hypocrisy isn’t such a bad thing after all.

  • Natalie Davis

    “It is also a good thing to forgive people that fail to reach their own goals.”

    I forgive ‘em all. But so long as they work to keep people unequal under law, they’re fair game.

    And PT noted that lib leaders have feet of clay too. Lord knows this progressive does not consider herself aligned with most other libs or progressives.

  • Disco Stu

    HMMMM and who are the Democrats leaders?

    Bill Clinton: Serial adulterer who pardoned hundreds of criminals including Marc Rich the biggest tax cheat in US history, sold national security secrets to the Chinese, did nothing while the USS Cole, the WTC 1993 bombings and embassy bombings occurred.

    Ted Kennedy: The Hero of Chappaquiddac who was too drunk one night in 1969 to save the life of a woman pregnant with his child after he drove her off a bridge then didn’t report until 14 hours later after he had consulted with his political handlers and family.

    John Kerry:

    Self proclaimed war hero who met with NOrth Vietmanese during the war and stood on the graves of 59K dead soldiers last year in an attempt to win the presidency.

    Robert Byrd.

    Former kkk member

    Howard dean:

    Far left whackjob who accuses anyone who disagrees with him of being a white male nazi.
    Al Sharpton: Two words tawanna brawley….nuff said

    Last but not least all you rank and file dems who like to proclaim yourselves as enlightened and tolerant and then call clarence thomas or any other black person who votes republican or expresses conservative views an uncle Tom

    Yeah you lefties have the morality market cornered huh.

  • http://360.yahoo.com/my_profile.html Stephen

    Anyone who holds carries or peaches from that misinterepted evil book called the bible can not be trusted, Reuplicans Democrats and any other politicl group. We can not ban this book though we should because it is so miss interepted, we need it as a reference book only to understand occidental culture and the bible should only be used as a reference book in libraries as a reference book only not for circulation.

  • Alethinos

    Dave, don’t add hypocrisy to the list of things you stand for. It is fine for the Republicans to strut about acting as if they are the bastions of moral rectitude but when it is pointed out that they are as fallible as any other mere mortal then suddenly WE’RE the terrible ones casting stones. What a load of crap…

    Alethinos

  • Anthony Grande

    The Pharisees were the elite who extorted many from the poor who actually believed that they were helping them.

    Kinda sounds to me like the same situation we have today with the Dems and the poor and minorities.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com alienboy

    Anthony, you’re babbling today. Have you got the flu or something, you seem feverish?

    The Pharisees sound like one of those rip-off payday loan things.

  • Anthony Grande

    Alienboy, it sounds to me like you need to pick up the New Testament and read it.

    The Pharisees are just like the Democrats. They just say things that they think the people can find believable. They dumn down the people so they will continue to support them.

    When Jesus showed up on the scene the majority turned their heads from the Pharisees and towards the man performing the miracles. They knew they had to somehow take down Jesus. So they bashed and bashed him and lied about him trying to divert public attention from him just like the Democrats are doing right know.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com alienboy

    Anthony, you must be looking through a mirror, you’ve got it all backwards.

    The Pharisees were in power, so that would make them the Republicans who, guess what, “just say things that they think the people can find believable.”

    Still chuckling over your spelling of “dumb”, the unconcious mind is a funny old thing, dontcha think?

    Finally, who are you trying to compare to Jesus? Bush? Cheney? Rove?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Alethenos, I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Was that comment supposed to be directed to someone else?

    Dave

  • Anthony Grande

    I was not comparing Jesus to anyone. I was comparing Jesus’s “power in the majority” with that of the Republican Party.

    When Jesus showed up on the scene and was doing great things to help people the Pharisees just sat in the background and bashed and lied and critisized. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

  • RogerMDillon

    “The left pioneered this idea of dictating how people live,”

    No, that was religion. It’s in Anthony’s bible

  • Voltairean

    The problem is not that the conservative right has not read the bible, but that they have read different parts than you. Here are just a few examples of how the Bush administration is in harmony with the word of God:

    “The Lord is a man of war” – Exodus 15:3

    God and Jesus were both racist. Granted the right tends to be more anti-black than anti-gentile but the idea is the same.

    “Saith the Lord, the lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the…Gentiles is on his way” Jeremiah 4:7

    “Go not into the way of the Gentiles….but rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” Jesus in Matthew 10:5,6

    God is vengeful and spiteful like the Bush administration. One example is when he kills thousands of innocents because some men looked into the Ark of the Covenant. Too bad Saddam, Joe Wilson and all the others who have been slimed by the administration were not more aware of this one.

    God is one cruel cat. I need not remind anyone that he once slaughtered the entire inhabitants of the earth sans one family. And another popular story is how he once killed all the first born sons of Egypt. Yeah, cruelty is definitely a God specialty. And perhaps now we see why some don’t even bat an eye when it comes to us using torture.

    God is not the fairest cat in town either. How else to explain punishing an innocent for a sin without teaching the innocent right from wrong. Or then holding mankind responsible for that which God caused. Not a far stretch to go from that to holding all muslims responsible for 9/11 including Iraqis and so what if they had nothing to do with it. If God doesn’t care why should we?

    “The rich ruleth over the poor” Proverbs 22:7. Well, I don’t think this one needs any explanation.

    And like the Bush Administration, God teaches blind faith over knowledge and reason.

    “Verily I say unto you, Except…ye become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 18:3.

    “I thank thee, O Father…that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and has revealed them unto babes.” Luke 10:21

    Better to be ignorant and believe than wise and a non-believer. In this light, the current debate over evolution and intelligent design makes much more sense. And who cares about what science tells us about global warming and the like, as long as we are stupid we will get into heaven.

    See, contrary to your claim, the Bushies and the conservative right often follow the word of God very closely.

    Perhaps that is the problem.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    “God and Jesus were both racist. Granted the right tends to be more anti-black than anti-gentile but the idea is the same.”

    And the smear goes on. Keep saying that the Democrats aren’t the party which has systematically oppressed minorities for their own gain and eventually someone will believe it’s true. But not Republicans who welcome all minorities with open arms and equal treatment.

    Dave

  • Anthony Grande

    “Granted the right tends to be more anti-black…”

    Please tell me, how are we anti-black? And how is the left not?

  • Idle Wise

    Wow, your finger must be tired from writing so much in the sand. Seriously, about the title, Marilyn Manson said that a crapload of years ago and he said it in bondage gear so he gets the points for individuality.

    Can you even USE logic you believe as false to bolster your own argument? HELLO?

  • Alethinos

    Dave… I was chiding you for #6…

    Even though KELO will have a wider effect on the population – BOTH are attacking, in different ways, the fundamental rights in the Bill of Rights. So, again, I don’t think we need to be having an tug-o-war on which one is worse – neither is acceptable.

    PS Dave, you’re my favorite dude to mentally tussle with… I hate to admit this but my pappy and all his family are Texicans…

    Alethinos…

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Well, I’ll agree with you on #41, Alethinos. Both are unacceptable, but personally I’m more worried about Kelo, what with not having a womb and all.

    BTW, regarding who’s racist and who’s not between the parties, we need only mention Michael “Uncle Tom” Steele and Colin “House Nigger” Powell to clear that up once and for all. Those epithets weren’t put on them by their fellow Republicans.

    Dave

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com alienboy

    Dave, please explain to me how Democrats calling Colin Powell a “house nigger” is racist?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    You’re kidding, right?

    Dave

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com/ alienboy

    No… go on, explain it.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Ok, he’s a black man and they called him a “house nigger.” You try going to the nearest black neighborhood, walk into a bar and call someone at the bar a ‘house nigger’. Let me know what you want written on your tombstone.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Oiks, sorry. Forgot you were from Spain, AB. Maybe you actually DON’T know what I’m talking about.

    In the old south – during slavery – a house nigger was a black slave who lived in the household of the master and ate his table scraps and usually tried to imitate the ways of the whites as well as likely informing on and spying on the other slaves. The term ‘house nigger’ basically means a black man who has betrayed his own race and and sold his soul to be a lap dog for his white masters. It’s about as harsh a racist insult as you can apply to a black man. I can’t even imagine anything equivalent in Spanish idiom.

    Dave

  • alienboy

    Yes, I knew all that already thanks.

    With regard to your #46, black people actually invented that term themselves, so traditionally there would have been no reason for a white person to use the term.

    As for your slightly patronising #47, so the Democrats who said that (who were they by the way? you didn’t say), were implying that Colin Powell was letting down his own section of American society. It is rude, but it isn’t racist per se. I would have thought you’d have understood that straightaway with your keen political radar…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I was waiting for some exchange on this thread where someone would get into detail about racist insults.

    Now that Alienboy has hoisted Dave Nalle on his own petard about “house niggers,” I have my entrée.

    In the Christian book, the term “Pharisee” is an insult to that politico-religious party of ancient Judea that tried to spread knowledge of Judaism to the population and to make Judaism more inclusive in its practice. And the entire tone of this thread has been insulting to that group of people – the ones who formed the basis of Judaism today.

    It goes without saying that hypocrisy accompanies moralists like fleas do a street cat. This is true all over the world. In America, the instant case, there is enough hyposcrisy among the “new left” post moral politically correct crazies to make up for the many hypocrites on the other side of the fence.

    As for the tone of much of this thread, we Jews also have a saying.

    “What can you expect from a goy?”

  • Anthony Grande

    Yeah they might have helped in spreading Judaism but they tried to “abort” Christianity.

  • Dave Nalle

    Yes, I knew all that already thanks.

    Then why did you ask me to explain it?

    With regard to your #46, black people actually invented that term themselves, so traditionally there would have been no reason for a white person to use the term.

    I think you’re a bit off on that. It originated as a descriptive term used by whites and was then adapted as a derrogatory term by blacks.

    As for your slightly patronising #47, so the Democrats who said that (who were they by the way? you didn’t say),

    Most famously Harry Belafonte, but it’s all over left-leaning websites – just do a google search for it.

    were implying that Colin Powell was letting down his own section of American society. It is rude, but it isn’t racist per se. I would have thought you’d have understood that straightaway with your keen political radar…

    When you use a derogatory term which refers to someone’s race it’s a racist slur. No two ways of looking at it. And the term ‘house nigger’ is particularly offensive with its implications of racial treachery and belittling of the target’s manhood.

    Dave

  • Kevin Gagnon

    I believe both parties share hypocrisy.