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Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011

God's No Republican

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Bob Dylan told the truth about God's political views in the song "With God On Our Side," recounting all the bloodshed throughout history justified by politicians obscenely invoking God's name.

Nearly 50 years later, a brand-new era of political blasphemy is under way as Republican presidential candidates violate every commandment in "The Book" to try to defeat President Barack Obama.

As columnist Bob Ray Sanders of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram observes, "God is sure to be a major part of next year's presidential election whether he wants to be or not."

Since Wisconsin's Republican primary will be pivotal in sorting out some of the more bizarre candidates ever to seek the presidency, we should prepare ourselves now for this burgeoning holy war.

Make no mistake: God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

God doesn't take sides in football games, either. But that has never stopped the players from publicly begging him to intercede on their behalf to help knock the other team to Kingdom Come.

If God ever were to get involved in politics, he certainly wouldn't be joining any political party that tried to inflame hatred against gays, immigrants and poor people to win votes.

No one can honestly read the Bible without recognizing the overriding themes of love for everyone and promotion of economic justice for the poor.

It takes a truly tortured interpretation even to invent any pronouncements on such right-wing political topics as gay marriage and abortion.

That hasn't stopped a couple of the leading Republican candidates—Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry—from somehow imagining God smiling down on their extreme campaigns.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the other strongest Republican candidate so far, is always willing to adopt whatever political views appear to be popular at the moment. In 1994, running against Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy in liberal Massachusetts, Romney claimed to be more liberal than Kennedy. Today, seeking right-wing support for the presidency, he has reversed his past support for gay rights and abortion.

Much as he might want to, however, Romney won't be allowed to join the fundamentalist Christian crusade of Bachmann and Perry to call down the wrath of an angry, right-wing God on President Obama.

That's because Romney is a Mormon, a faith religious extremists hate almost as much as they hate African-American Democratic presidents.

Tea Party's Religious Intolerance

Mormons are only one of many major religions hated by the extreme-right supporters of tea party candidates.

Just before announcing her candidacy for president, Bachmann resigned her decade-long membership in the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., which teaches that the Roman Catholic pope is the Antichrist.

Most of us thought political prejudice toward Catholics ended in 1960 with the election of President John F. Kennedy. Leave it to the tea party to revive some of hatred's Golden Oldies.

A wild-eyed gang of religious haters of Muslims, Jews and Catholics, masquerading as evangelical Christian ministers, recently joined Texas Gov. Perry in a prayer and fasting rally at a Houston football stadium calling upon God to save America from Obama.

It was one of the largest gatherings ever of the nation's religious charlatans who routinely distort the beautiful poetry of the Bible to try to bamboozle gullible Americans into sending mail-order donations.

Among those joining Perry were one minister who'd denounced the Statue of Liberty as a "demonic idol" sent to America from France and another who claimed the Japanese stock market was plummeting because Japan's emperor had sex with "a sun goddess demon."

Someone should tell all those carnies who see demons behind every tree to look in the mirror sometime.

The fact that Bachmann and Perry could openly associate with such bizarre religious views and still be taken seriously as presidential candidates tells you everything you need to know about how far out where the buses don't run the tea party has pushed the Republican Party.

What many extreme conservatives totally fail to understand is that separation of church and state was not established in this country to suppress or deny religion. It protects religious freedom.

So it's ironic that another basic tenet of the tea party movement is to oppose government interference in personal freedoms.

There can be no more dangerous intrusion by government into our personal lives than to impose the narrow religious beliefs of one group—regarding, oh, let's say, abortion or gay marriage—upon everyone else by law.

Fundamentalist Christians would certainly be outraged if laws were ever passed requiring them to adopt the religious beliefs of Islam, Judaism or, shudder, that satanic Roman Catholic Church.

The U.S. Constitution, which the tea party regularly misquotes, is really very explicit that government can make no laws imposing one group's religion on everybody else.

No exceptions are made for off-the-wall presidential candidates who hawk their own extreme religious views as a governing philosophy.

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