American religious conservatives are being sold a bill of goods by all of the GOP candidates. Rick Santorum recently went on the record declaring that he’s the true Christian candidate, and that Obama’s worldview is unbiblical. The gall! And then Franklin Graham got on the air the next day and agreed with him!
There are dozens—maybe even hundreds—of examples of antichristian views proported by the GOP candidates. Stacks and stacks of books could be written about them—and there is no shortage of people blogging daily about these subjects—but here I will focus on the very foundation of their worldview: Capitalism at all costs.
The American capitalistic economy is based on greed. In fact, it is so dependent upon the widespread occurrence of this sin that if the entire country suddenly became converted (into real Christians, mind you, not hypocrites) then the economy would completely collapse! It thrives on mortal sin—namely avarice.
The One Percent and the richest corporations are not the ones to whom politicians should be catering. These huge super-PACs with unlimited resources to get their favorite candidate elected, are not only unconstitutional (the Supreme Court was wrong), but unbiblical. Even GOP attempts to intervene were entirely based on consumerism or greed, such as the so-called stimulus packages from Bush which tried to get us poor people to go out shopping in order to boost retail revenues, or the GOP tenet of “trickle-down” economics, which aims to give the 1% more money in hopes that they’ll seek to gain further wealth by investing it (contrast this with the payroll tax holiday, which doesn’t enable consumers to buy big ticket items as much as monthly necessities like diapers and gas).
The ultimate leaders of the GOP are not Christians. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing, who have discovered the insane power base they get by riling up traditional-values Fundamentalists. But they are leading them all astray.
Greed and consumerism are decidedly anti-Christian values.
Westminster Confession: Q 148: “The sins forbidden in the tenth commandment are, discontentment with our own estate; envying and grieving at the good of our neighbor, together with all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.”
The Catholic catechism makes a similar conclusion but goes further by declaring this avarice to be a capital offense.
We’re supposed to live our lives in the exact opposite direction. Altruism and charity define the Christian. This is what Jesus’ brother James said:
Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? (James 2:5-7, ESV)
The poor are the heirs of the kingdom of God. As such American Christians ought to treat them with dignity, not only in the church, but in the public square as well. Those rich who use their power and resources for oppression rather than for bringing others up are blasphemers, James says.
Paul’s sacrificial ministry illustrates this as well. And he wrote to Timothy,
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:6-10, ESV)
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19, ESV)
An economy based on vanity defines that very “world system” to which we Christians are commanded not to conform (Romans 12:2). The Christian individual’s public life is all about loving of one’s neighbor as oneself. This is why so many progressive Christians have chosen Democracy over Republic, seeking to promote the common good and bring healthcare, justice, and equality to those who are oppressed, and taking care that the use of our tax dollars represents these goals as well.