As we careen toward a government shutdown, I want to briefly address a related issue: the GOP and its obsession with faith. It is not a bad thing to have faith. I tend to think it grants people time for self reflection. But, the Republican party claims to be a party of religious people and yet uses religion to exclude and discriminate against people not like them.
“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded upon the Christian religion.” President John Adams signed this into law in the Treaty of Tripoli. “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Republican party has been merging politics and faith for years. Republicans have said that the Constitution created a Christian nation. But, the Republican party seems to be desiring an a la carte religion. The Republican party would prefer to exclude many Americans from voting. It would prefer to close our borders down and vastly reduce the number of people allowed to immigrate. They want to cut programs that assist the poor. Aren’t we, as a country, only as strong as the weakest among us? And, no, the answer is not to simply get rid of the weakest among us.
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8. “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” Proverbs 14:21. “Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9.
It seems like maybe the Republican party should look again at the Bible and how it suggests we treat one another. It would appear that the Republican party is a party of exclusion and not a party of religious beliefs, as it claims.