Monday, November 14, 2005

Intolerant and Unchristian

This President and much of his administration pride themselves and extol the virtues of being conservative born-again Christians. They claim that those who adhere to this form of Christianity are more moral, more incorruptible and are surly the chosen ones for inclusion in God’s kingdom. Their view of religion seems to be largely based on fear of retribution by a wrathful God; not a God of love.

Included in the pantheon of leaders of the born agains is Pat Robertson, the founder of the 700 Club and presumably one of the religious leaders Bush looks to for spiritual guidance. Robertson’s recent pronouncements, however, must give even the most rabid of conservative Christians pause for thought-assuming of course that they actually think.
This summer Robertson on his daily television show, the 700 Club, called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In October 2003 he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to “kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

His most recent rant involved the citizens of Dover Pennsylvania who recently voted off their school board all the members who tried to have the so-called intelligent design theory of evolution included in the curriculum of the Dover schools. On his 700 Club broadcast Robertson warned residents of Dover not to be surprised if disaster strikes there because “you just voted God out of your city.” He went on to say, “I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city. Later Thursday, Robertson said, “If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin, maybe he can help them.”

Brushing aside the fact that one of the Ten Commandments condemns killing, it is most instructive to look at the underlying drivers of statements like these. They are based on fear, not love. Love, however, permeates the New Testament. Though shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy mind and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophet. This is the essential message of the New Testament; a message of love and tolerance but one that the conservative Christians seem to ignore.

This would be of academic interest if it were not for the fact that much of how Bush views the world is seen through the prism of conservative Christianity. Pat Robertson is a conman in clerical garb, a lying demagogue and a person beneath the dignity of most Americans Yet, he is one of the leaders of the faith that “W” believes in. If fear, not love and tolerance, is the driving motivator of this administration then it may help to explain its policies. We fear what we don’t understand therefore we attack it. We fear gays because they are different, we fear Muslims so we attack them, and we keep a climate of fear in the United States with confusing statements about potential terrorist attacks.

You cannot run a country with a policy based on fear and hate. You must have compassion for those less well off than you, who have ideas and life styles different than yours. You cannot have a foreign policy based on fear and mistrust. When you do you wind up with the kind of government we have now. This is not the type of government most Americans want and as recent polls show, they are less and less willing to accept.

David M. Goldberg