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God and Republican Politics | Rick Outzen

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God and Republican Politics | Rick Outzen

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God and Republican Politics
Thursday, February 23, 2012 — Rick Outzen

When did Jesus become a Republican? I missed that chapter in the Bible, but I am Roman Catholic so there are a few chapters I may have missed.

From the Republican presidential stump speeches, Jesus appears to have become more like Donald Trump playing “Celestial Apprentice” than the unemployed carpenter and itinerant preacher in the Gospels. He has traded his sandals for Gucci loafers. Each GOP candidate tries to appear more spiritual than the others and tie Jesus’ teachings to their right-wing platforms.

After bashing President Obama, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, the surviving Mormon in the race, sings “America the Beautiful” with a nice emphasis on “God shed his grace on thee.”

The matrimonially-challenged Newt Gingrich talks about how he had an epiphany while in his 20s and became born-again. He told David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, “It’s always God’s will. That’s a point that my wife reminds me of regularly.”

We can only assume that Gingrich is referring to his third wife, Callista, not Jackie, his wife from 1962 to 1981, or Marianne, his wife from 1981 to 2000.

New Conservative wunderkind Rick Santorum quotes the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their — ” then pauses for effect “Creator…” The crowds love it, particularly when he talks about America being a gift from God.

There is no talk about charity or tolerance, no mention of the homeless or caring for the weakest of our society — children and the elderly.

The Jesus of the 1960s, 1970s and even the 1980s was nonpartisan and cared about the poor. He was color blind and more tolerant of others, even non-Christians. He wasn’t validated by laws, but by his followers. And dare I say it? More socialist than capitalist.

In the days leading up to the Florida presidential primary, Santorum spoke at a prayer breakfast at Florida State University and talked about the role of faith in government, education and politics.

“We will never have limited government, we will continue to be less free, unless we revitalize the institutions of faith and family in America. That’s the real message.”

The role of the U.S. president is to revitalize faith? Whose faith? Jesus never sought to be part of government. He didn’t worry about the religious beliefs of the Roman rulers. He didn’t ask to see Pontus Pilate’s birth certificate.

Jesus did attack the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his faith. The Republican candidates should take note and take off their blinders when they read the Bible. Maybe spend some time reading the Sermon on Mount. For blessed are the poor, the merciful and the peacemakers.

Rick Outzen is the publisher/editor of Pensacola's Independent News.

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Dear Mr. Outzen,
I won't touch that first sentence with a ten foot pole. Republican electoral politics seek to bring together fiscal, defense and religious conservatives. However, sometimes these three groups have competing interests, and according to a recent article the Heritage Foundations method of approach in dealing with this is to ignore and dismiss the differences.
I tend to focus on those who seek to profit from their affiliation. Take for instance, Ralph Reed. Mr. Reed was the first executive director of the Christian Coalition. Mr. Reed was contracted by Jack Abramofff to assist him in fleecing Indian tribes involved in protecting casinos from encroachment by other tribes or states interested in increasing access to gambling. Triangulation at its best.
So Rick I hope you keep your eye on the intersection of religion and politics.

Sola fide,
Old Gimlet Eye II

Great column. I hate when politicians preach and preachers practice politics. I spent many years working on public policy and the last thing I want to hear is my pastor telling me that God thinks I was wrong.