A G+ user (I’ll call him TP in this piece) posted this article (from his blog) to the G+ Democracy community, explaining (in his mind) how his absurd beliefs are justified by the Bible. I normally ignore his posts, explaining how compassionate conservatives are and how Christian they are, because they aren’t worth my time, but this one struck a chord and I decided to reply. My original reply post is here. I’ll restate my reply below.
There is no Biblical Basis for Right Wing “Christian” Beliefs.
In his attempt to demonstrate Biblical justification for his beliefs, TP cited several of the Ten Commandments, rules given by the Judaic God to Moses for the Israelites. This is an interesting and very telling choice. These commandments were for the Jewish people and are a small subset of the many, many laws given to the Jews during that period. They are also not at all exclusive to Judaism. Most of all, TP ignores the very clear teaching of Jesus on virtually all the issues he cites as Biblically justified.
Honor your father and your mother
Every decent human being honors their father and mother. This is not a “conservative” concept at all. It’s a human social concept. Societies completely independent of Christianity, including those who’ve never been exposed to Western ideas, follow this idea.
You shall not commit adultery
The prohibition against adultery is implicit in the definition of marriage. It’s not original or exclusive to the Judaic line of religions. If we were to consider the fact that nothing under this Judaic law prevents a man from adding women and “concubines” as he desires, then it’s not really a very strong commandment, is it?
Consider the prohibitions against lying and bearing false witness. These are implicit in the definition of a viable human society. Just as you cannot have a proper marriage if one partner is sleeping with people outside the marriage, you cannot have a stable society if people are allowed to lie and bear false witness.
You shall not steal
I find it fascinating that TP interprets this commandment to support smaller government and no wealth redistribution. His interpretation contradicts not only the clear Judaic laws requiring that you help the poor, but Jesus’ own very clear stance on helping the poor and his command to “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods
TP brings up the myth of left wing wealth envy here. I don’t know any left leaning thinkers who care whether someone makes more money or has more stuff than they do. I bet he doesn’t either. I know many left leaning thinkers, and their concern, as mine, is that all are capable of living a good life, which requires good food, water, shelter, health care, and education.
Arguably, Christian Conservatives attempt to protect the weakest of the weak; the unborn.
This is not a commandment, but it’s striking that the vast majority of right wing politicians are against abortion but also against providing for the needs of children once they’re born. It almost seems like right leaning people care about the unborn as a symbol, but when the symbol becomes a real life that consumes resources, they abandon their concern. In fact, this is exactly how the right treats life, as a precious symbol to be safeguarded when it gives them power over others, but not so precious that it’s worth supporting with “their” resources.
You shall not kill
This is not one of the commandments TP listed, which is interesting. I’m well versed in the interpretations of this commandment and somewhat in Just War Theory. I would have liked to hear him explain how the right’s focus on using violence against other nations and people who’ve committed crimes against us is consistent with this commandment.
There are a couple other commandments which are at best inconsistently followed by right leaning Christians. I’d like to hear TP’s opinion on the Sabbath Day and graven images. I’d also like to see him justify his beliefs based on what Jesus actually said in the Gospels. Jesus covered all TP’s concerns, because these concerns have been with us since the first civilization worthy of the name.
TP never replied to my analysis. He’s one of the many on the far right who are trapped in a closed worldview devoid of reason and empathy.