Dear Christian Voters,
I respect your right to believe the way you want. Regardless of how I may personally feel about the tenets of your faith, I respect you as individuals. I understand that the Constitution affords us freedom of religion (as well as freedom from religion). I was raised in a religious environment, and some of my closest friends and family are members of the clergy. I realize how important faith is in the lives of most people. I may joke about the extremists within your faith being “KKKristians,” but overall I respect that the crazies no more speak for you than the 9-11 terrorists speak for all Muslims (which is something you should keep in mind, but that’s a different post).
I am not writing this to debate your religious beliefs. I am simply asking that you look closely at the behavior of the leaders within your party and ask yourself if their concern for you and your way of life is genuine. Do they share your values? Or are they exploiting your religious faith to get votes?
Let me first admit that there are scumbags of all political stripes. To prove that I want to be fair, I will begin by admitting that Democrats have their share of faults. I was embarrassed and angered by Bill Clinton; not because he had extramarital sex, but because he lied about it. The morally questionable Gary Condit was a Democrat (remember Chandra Levy?). And don’t even get me started on John Edwards. Just saying his name makes me want to take a shower. So yeah, there are plenty of scumbag Democrats. My point, though, is that Democrats have not attempted to pursue evangelical Christians to the extent the Republicans have.
The next time you see a politician or pundit on your TV, do a quick Google search on their name and the word “hypocrisy.” The results may surprise you. Some highlights:
*Rush Limbaugh has been divorced three times and is now married to his fourth wife. That’s right–his fourth. He has also admitted to the abuse of prescription painkillers. His listeners, however, are among the staunchest, most socially conservative of the Republican base. He has made a career out of pontificating about morality and the sanctity of marriage . I find this mystifying.
*Newt Gingrich is on his third wife. His first wife was his high school Geometry teacher, whom he married while still a teenager. He then had an affair with a younger woman and divorced his first wife while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. Fast forward a few years; he then had an affair with his now third wife Callista, and divorced his second wife. He also had an ethics reprimand during his turn as Speaker of the House. May I ask why he is taken seriously at all by social conservatives?
*Herman Cain, briefly the darling of the tea party, was accused by at least four different women of sexual misconduct, and another woman admitted to a 13 year affair with him. Cain denied this, but then dropped out of the 2012 primaries because of it. Do you want him as any kind of a moral leader? He may have been knocked out of the presidential race, but he now has a cushy gig on right wing radio.
*Larry Craig, Robert Allen, Ed Schrock, Mark Foley, and Roy Ashburn are all right wing anti-gay politicians who have been caught up in gay scandals. This should tip you off; closeted gays are the most vocal about their anger over the alleged “gay agenda.” You should be very suspicious of anyone who goes overboard spouting anti-gay rhetoric (for example, see Rick Santorum and Marcus Bachmann).
*I will not attack Mitt Romney for being a Mormon, as I have no intention of attacking anyone’s religious beliefs. It should be noted, however, that Barack Obama (aside from still being married to his first wife) is a professed Christian (though I know how many in your party love to claim he is Muslim to get all the racists riled up). I am bringing this up only because the Republicans have made such a big deal out of putting “Christian values” on the ballot.
I will jump over many of the conflicts between conservatism and Christian ideology, though I promise that the Sermon on the Mount and the Republican party platform are not exactly compatible. Instead, I will ask if you are willing to vote against your own economic best interests just because you believe that Republicans are “more Christian.”
Remember that, historically, Republicans were the party of the rich. Up until about 30 years ago, the South and the working class were overwhelmingly Democrat. The grassroots formation of Pat Robertson’s “Christian Coalition” and Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority” changed all that. Now, many professed Christians in the Midwest and South vote Republican in droves.
If you look at the Republican platform and agree with it all the way, then by all means vote Republican. But don’t do it just because they know how to craft their words and make you think they are somehow more Christian than Democrats. They aren’t. They’ve had some brilliant strategists like Karl Rove (yes, evil can be brilliant) do their best to convince you, but you have to do some digging before you get out and vote.
Remember that the real issue with this election should be the economy and jobs. Then read about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. To put it simply: Romney and Bain Capital were responsible for buying companies, laying off workers, taking all the profits for themselves, and then filing bankruptcy and shutting the companies down. Is that Christian? Is that good for the economy?
It might not bother you to know that Romney was a gay-basher in his younger days, but did you know he also used to impersonate police officers? How morally upstanding is that? Clue: it isn’t. It’s a felony.
Elections are largely about voting for the lesser of two evils, I will grant you. Ask yourself: Is a candidate’s moral stance on gay marriage or their insistence that they are the more Christian/morally superior candidate really enough to justify voting against your economic best interests? Do gay marriages or women’s reproductive rights really trump your need to find a job, feed your family, or have access to affordable healthcare? Or will you do some background checking, vote for what’s best for the economy, and stop allowing these morally corrupt politicians to exploit your religious beliefs for their political gain?
It’s up to you.