We are living in insane times. Like purveyors of a bad Orwellian joke, right-wing politicians and figures on the religious right too numerous to count have hijacked the meanings of justice and equity and, with cynical self-righteousness, have perverted them into something the biblical writers themselves would scarcely recognize. The Old Testament and the Gospel of Jesus both command all who hold them dear to care for the poor, the weak, the vulnerable and, yes, the immigrant stranger as well. Yet right-wing religionists and politicians interpret the Bible in ways that largely serve America's rich and ignore the suffering of its poor. Right-wingers piously proclaim themselves to be "pro-life Christians," yet their concern for human life often seems to wane at the womb. Their "pro-life" piety shamelessly supports state-sponsored executions; calls for reductions in crucial funding for education, child care, health care and elder care; treats immigrant strangers like lesser forms of life; and gives at least tacit approval to unprovoked wars of domination. Even worse, their pro-life piety casually speaks in murderous metaphors, loudly advocating for unregulated homicidal assault weapons and what some benighted right-wing politicians ominously call "Second Amendment remedies."
These "Christians" and "people of faith" routinely -- and quite publicly -- shed tears for love of God and country, yet fight tooth and nail against consumer regulations crafted to protect the well-being of their fellow citizens from the devastation that a poorly regulated Wall Street regularly unleashes upon the unaware denizens of Main Street. They give preferential treatment to the very richest Americans (as if Jesus really taught "blessed are you who are rich") and treat corporate interests as sacrosanct, while doing their utmost to dismantle the social safety net that is the last line of aid and succor for millions of struggling Americans. Although the Old Testament explicitly enjoins honesty and truthfulness ('emet) in social as well as in personal dealings, right-wing prognosticators throughout our nation purvey false claims and knowing distortions of political realities daily, with whole television networks at their disposal.
As a result of their machinations, the religious right and right-wing politicians now largely control the terms of political and religious discourse in America, with bizarre and often unconscionable results. Poor people are duped into screaming bloody murder against policies that would make American economic life fairer and more equitable for all, and those whose lives have been made immeasurably better by the fruits of trade unionists' sweat, tears, and literal blood now not only demonize unions outright but, in an even more bizarre turn, now actually valorize union-busters as heroes!
The right-wing religio-political machine has thoroughly domesticated the radical pronouncements of biblical prophets like Amos and Micah and the good news to the poor declared by Jesus, into a destructive mix of individualistic libertarian selfishness and soaring Sadducean greed. This is reflected in the safety-net shredding policy proposals of major right-wing figures like their much touted budget guru, Congressman Paul Ryan, but also by virtually every other right-wing political candidate. In the final analysis, America's extremist right-wing has given us an ungodly mélange of religious obfuscation and ideological confusion that perversely considers "social" and "justice" to be profane words when used together, and has convinced untold millions of rank-and-file Americans to support attitudes and policies that militate against their own precious interests. This pernicious influence seems to increase daily, spreading throughout church and society virtually unchecked by truth or reality or even by the most basic requirements of the Bible they claim as the central adjudicator of their faith.
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