I rarely use this space to talk politics and almost never to discuss religion, but last night's GOP debate, and really everything about the Republican national party these days, has essentially made the two inseparable. I didn't watch the full debate last night because I feel the same way about those things as I do about punching myself in the face - it's pointless pain. I did, however, catch some snippets and read about it afterwards.
Make no mistake, these candidates terrify me. Primarily because the front-runners think that their personal religious beliefs should be the foundation that guides national policy for the next four years. We're not talking about their beliefs on the role of government in healthcare or in guiding economic policy, or even the role the US should play in global affairs. No, we are talking about the role they feel their religion plays in these arenas. And the worst part is these are the front-runners, so a lot of our country thinks this is a good approach.
Not too long I ran across the following, which sums up my thoughts pretty well:
In the coverage I read on last night's debate, one of the most striking statements was from Santorum, who said "You can't be a Christian and a liberal" (EDIT: I'm unclear whether this was stated by Santorum last night or just several times in the recent few years.). Now I'm no expert on religions, not at all. I have, however, read more of the Bible than I would have liked and it seems to me that that Jesus dude was pretty liberal. Something about helping the poor and giving up material goods for the benefit of the downtrodden. I realize of course, that mainstream US Catholicism likes their idea of who Jesus was much more than what the Bible says he actually did, but has it gone that far astray? Can a social ultra-conservative make such a ridiculous statement* that flies in the face the very document he holds most dear without anyone objecting?
Where is the vocal faction of liberal Christianity? Perhaps it is out there in large numbers in places I am generally blind to, but the world is seeing Santorum as the spokesperson for US Christianity right now. It's embarrassing enough to be associated to that guy via geography, but if I identified myself as a Christian as well I would be bullshit right now.
So where is the outcry? Either liberal Christians have just started tuning Santorum's frothy ravings out or we, as a country, are in far worse shape than I thought.
*Yes, yes. I realize facts are harder to find at a political debate than Waldo