Or “How I Learned to Stop Thinking for Myself and Just Trust Republican Jesus.”
When I was a kid, I was taught that the Pilgrims fled to the New World to escape religious persecution. Somewhere in there, I learned that we don’t have a national religion and people were free to practice whatever religion they wanted. That was kind of it as far as religion went in my history classes and overall education. Sure, Jews were mentioned in the context of the Holocaust but more as a race than a religion. I did, however, attend Synagogue for a few years as an adolescent. I viewed it more as learning my heritage as opposed to actively worshiping. Even then, I was not inclined towards belief. Probably because my parents were more interested in making sure I was curious about stuff instead of learning any particular dogma. Religion was, for me, just something that other people did. It would be many years before I understood I was an atheist and even more years until I stumbled across Dawkins, Hitchens, et. al and learned how to verbalize it.
Through all of this, it never occurred to me that I would ever have to worry about a particular set of religious values being forced upon me. I always assumed that religion was a private thing, practiced in one’s home or place of worship. That was it. Even in college, I rarely came across any real religious zeal. I once took a trip down to Washington DC with the Young Republicans club because they were my friends and they invited me to go. I got to meet Oliver North (yay me?) who was so exact in his pose with each of us, from me at 6’2” to little Jen, all of 5’1”, that to this day, I cannot convince people the pictures are not of us next to a cardboard cutout.
But even with the Young Republicans during that first Bush presidency, I wasn’t assaulted with any kind of religious politics. I did find a good deal of racism which gave me a big clue about how Republicans see the world. I was totally apolitical at the time and had no idea what the difference between a Democrat and a Republican was. I didn’t read, or watch, the news and no one had ever mentioned it in any of my classes. My political education was also sorely lacking. It irritates me when I think back on it.
Fast forward to the George W. Bush years. I had been aware of the Evangelical movement back in the 80s but Creationism still wasn’t being taught in schools and Roe v. Wade hadn’t been overturned on religious grounds. But during Bush’s tenure, I started hearing the more than occasional remark about how not believing in God makes you a bad American and if you were a LIBERAL that didn’t believe in God? Scum of the Earth!
Wait a minute. Not believing in God (or, more precisely, not believing in a very specific version of God) makes me a bad American? How does that even work? This country was founded on religious freedom and the explicit separation of Church and State, wasn’t it? And that’s when I became acquainted with Republican Jesus ™.
Who the hell is Republican Jesus ™?
Republican Jesus ™ is very different than the Jesus you and I are familiar with. First off, he is White. Not just white, but White. Republican Jesus ™ has a special place in his heart for America. Specifically, White America. Do you doubt this? Ask yourself why anyone who believes in a colorblind Jesus would even conceive of praying for the death of Obama? No, only those who follow Republican Jesus ™ would even think that such a prayer could, or should, be answered. If you are currently thinking that racism has nothing to do with the unprecedented hatred of Obama, go away, I’m talking to the grownups.
Republican Jesus ™, by the way, is a big supporter of the Confederacy. Why he let them lose the War of Northern Aggression is a mystery. But all “real” Americans know that the South will rise again and Republican Jesus ™ will lead the way back to glory. Or something like that. How the Northern and Mid-western Red states fit into this Southern revival is also a mystery.
Republican Jesus ™ loves guns. Loves them! Never mind all that silly talk of beating swords into plowshares! Every good member of the church of Republican Jesus ™ should have, at minimum, enough armament to hold off an invasion by those commie Nazi liberal hordes that are coming any day now. Or the ATF, whichever shows up first. Or maybe just enough to wipe out a schoolroom filled with kids when their excellent parenting skills manifest themselves in the next Columbine tragedy.
Remember, conservatives, to complain about anti-bullying programs being government overreach afterwards!
Republican Jesus ™ loves the rich. Ignore that whole “camel through the eye of a needle” garbage. Republican Jesus ™ wants you to be prosperous! It’s called “prosperity theology” and it percolates throughout the conservative religious fervor. God rewards the faithful with material wealth. Very spiritual stuff. If your idea of spiritual is a McMansion.
But Republican Jesus ™ is not just about love. Republican Jesus ™ also hates and, boy, does he hate!
Republican Jesus ™ hates the poor. This is the flip side of “prosperity theology”. If God rewards the faithful with riches, than the poor are obviously NOT of the faith and deserve what they get. This is, in part, why conservatives hate the social safety nets of welfare, food stamps and Medicaid. Those (and by “those” I mean those) people don’t worship Republican Jesus ™ and are unworthy of being helped. Besides if you feed them, they’ll just breed!
Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of South Carolina actually said that. And he meant it.
Republican Jesus ™ hates The Gay. They’re sinners, after all. It says so right there in the Bible next to the part about shellfish being an abomination. Nothing demonstrates the compassionate conservatives’ dedication to the teachings of Republican Jesus ™ like blocking legislation for same sex marriage and calling homosexuals pedophiles while enjoying a nice shrimp cocktail before a delicious lobster dinner.
Also, Republican Jesus ™ gave us AIDS, and STDs in general, as punishment for homosexuality. Of course, this ignores the fact that lesbians (a well-known subset of homosexuality) have the lowest rate of STDs, including AIDS, among all adult population groups. So as far as punishment goes, half of the “sinners” are better off than the rest of us, statistically speaking. Maybe Republican Jesus ™ likes him some girl on girl action?
Republican Jesus ™ hates Muslims. Muslims are scary because some of them do bad things to innocent people. That makes them all evil terrorists. This is not to be confused with White Christian Militia types who blow up abortion clinics or plot political assassinations in Republican Jesus’ ™ name. Those people are martyrs and heroes. Or they were crazy lone wolves having nothing to do with Republican Jesus ™. It depends on which channel you’re interviewing on, Fox or MSNBC.
Republican Jesus ™ totally hates Liberals. Liberals are the pawns of Satan George Soros trying to destroy the greatest country ever made on this 6000 year old planet (conservative moderates are almost as bad and must be expunged!). Compromising with a Liberal is a terrible sin in the eyes of Republican Jesus ™ and must not be tolerated.
Finally, Republican Jesus ™ hates science. With a passion bordering on obsession. And that’s the topic of my next ivory tower snobby liberal thesis: “Why DO conservatives hate science so much?” Or “How I learned not to learn and trust my beer gut instead.”