In the 21st century, many see the Republican Party as the political arm of Christian faith. I find this odd, because I think the Democrats, the party which has historically been more involved in social justice and helping the least among us, are more in line with the teachings of the Bible. Many times in the Bible it says to “love thy neighbor”; a code Republicans tend to forget about if their neighbor is black, poor, or gay.
There is also a passage in the Bible that states “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. This philosophy seems to conflict with the Republican message of “Get a lot of money, to hell with everyone else”, or in the case of the majority of already rich Republicans, just “to hell with everyone else”.
Somehow I don’t think Jesus would find “They didn’t work hard enough” or “It’s mine!” a rightful response to people who are poor, sick, or in need. Jesus wouldn’t rationalize living in extreme posh and luxury while others are starving and homeless by saying “I deserve it better”. Jesus wouldn’t let millions get sick, go broke, and die because they have a “pre-existing condition” and can’t pay out of pocket for treatment.
So why is the Republican Party synonymous with Christian morals and belief? A lot of it stems from the issue of abortion. Most Christians are pro-life and for many this single issue dominates their political perception and persuasion. Gay marriage has also been a divisive issue as of late but mainly it comes from Republicans being better at playing the “I’m just like you!” political game. (This was Sarah Palin’s entire resume).
None of this explains how Jesus became Captain Capitalist to rural Republican voters. Many, for some inexplicable reason, think that the Bible advocates free market principles. It doesn’t; and for the record, neither does the constitution. The wide spread belief of both of these myths is actually just a testament to the political powers of Republicans like Karl Rove, a prominent force in the politicization of religion and using it in elections.
The GOP is at its core a political party, not a governing or legislative one. Typically, Republicans fair much better in sound clip wars and television ads than they do in substantive policy debates. The manner and effect in which they have framed the ideological debate, and more so how many people they have got to believe their story, is impressive in political terms. For many in the South and Mid-West, the Republican Party, free market ideals, and Christianity are one in the same while the inner city Democrats are a bunch of elite, godless, out of touch, communist monsters here to destroy America. There irony is that if Jesus was here today and he had a choice between helping the poor, impoverished and sick or supporting big business and their endless quest for higher profit, I know whose side he would be on.