Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are Conservatives Anti-Christian?

Before considering the above question, I want to share an interesting observation. Conservatives and liberals are closer to one another than one might think. For example, both tend to be highly critical of state power. Liberals call it "hegemony," conservatives call it "big government." Many conservatives see themselves as "libertarians," while many liberals have embraced, or expressed sympathy for, policies that could only be called "anarchic." Are they really that different? Both libertarians and anarchists are strongly opposed to centralized authority and tend to emphasize the importance of both rugged individualism and localized decision making.

Conservatives are very concerned with certain basic rights, as are liberals, especially rights protected under the constitution. Which has, on many occasions, produced real problems for organizations such as the ACLU, which has, more often than it might like to admit, felt forced to defend conservative institutions and causes.

Many liberals complain that conservatives listen too closely to representative of the despised 1%, but so does our liberal-in-chief, Barack Obama and a great many of his fellow liberals in public office nationwide. Both sides have been forced to acknowledge that money is essential to winning in politics and neither seems very comfortable with that fact.

And while we're on the topic of money, both conservatives and liberals embrace capitalism and so-called "free market" reform, and both clearly want to see us get over our current economic crisis so we can return to something resembling the good old status quo that worked so well for us back in the "good old days." And by the way, both sides seem focused on those "good old days" as an ideal time when America really worked -- in every sense of that word.

Nevertheless, both liberals and conservatives were opposed to the economic bailout, and many on both sides remain incensed at the soft treatment of irresponsible banks and bankers by leaders in both parties.

So, I've been asking myself, if conservatives and liberals are so alike in so many ways, how can one tell them apart? And the answer I came up with may surprise you. Liberals are essentially Christian in their thinking, while conservatives are in fact anti-Christian. And that's how you can tell them apart, by comparing their moral outlook with that of Jesus Christ.

Take Christ's attitude toward wealth and poverty. Christ was the one who cast out the money changers, but conservatives are the ones who have consistently enabled and defended them. Liberals are attempting to more tightly regulate their activities, while conservatives want to give them free reign. It is Christ who insisted that "man cannot serve both God and Mammon," while conservative "Christians" take pride in their attempts to do exactly that.

Liberals are concerned, as was Christ, with the welfare of the poor and outcast, while conservatives mercilessly disparage them as "welfare cheats," and "lazy good for nothings." Christ said, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." (Matthew 19:21.) On the other hand, according to conservative icon Ayn Rand, "those who are loudest in proclaiming their desire to eliminate poverty are loudest in denouncing capitalism." Since she was an atheist, perhaps it didn't matter to her what Christ's take on this might be.

But his preference ought to be clear.  He was definitely on the side of the poor and most definitely not very sympathetic to the capitalists of his day: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." If there ever was a philosophy that was patently anti-Christian, it is clearly that of Rand -- yet most conservatives admire, and regularly quote from, her writings. For Christ, altruism was the essence of his teachings, while for Rand it was an impediment to one's own "God given" right to prevail regardless of the cost to others.

A more fundamental, and even more revealing, difference is the way conservatives will invoke the Old rather than the New Testament when castigating the morals and values of others. It is to the Old Testament they turn when pronouncing on the evils of same-sex marriage, family planning, Darwinian evolution, sexual mores, etc. Yet the whole meaning of Christ's message was his reinterpretation of the Old Testament, his loosening of its rigid insistence on controlling all aspects of human life, his substitution of mercy, peace and altruism for narrow minded notions of blind justice and vengeance.

So yes, this is a no-brainer, folks. Conservatives are indeed anti-Christian. And when they attack Obama and his liberal supporters as some kind of anti-Christ, you gotta scratch your head and wonder.


  1. I could *may be* buy this is you were talking about personal compassion and concern for the poor as opposed to instituting bureaucratic social programs in the name of helping the poor.

    Because when you look past the rhetoric at the facts, "conservatives" give vastly more of their personal wealth to charity than "liberals" do.

    No-brainer indeed.

    1. That's a lie. The charity they donate to most often is their church. Churches spend far less on helping the poor than they do on helping the church. I come from a city of 250,000. One church owns 1/3 of our down town property. They charge ridiculous rent, rake in 10's of millions of dollars a year in profits(before donations) and give only 100K a year in charity. Most of it to their own parishioners, and the small amount they donate to non-parishioners is only available if the non-parishioners go to church weekly.

  2. Any social program is going to have to be run by a bureaucracy -- so what? Are you saying programs such as food stamps and welfare help the poor in name only? Maybe you should talk with more of the unemployed, you are clearly out of touch. A typical conservative would trash such programs -- out of a sense of Christian charity, no doubt.

    "Because when you look past the rhetoric at the facts, "conservatives" give vastly more of their personal wealth to charity than "liberals" do."

    And by "charity" I presume you mean non-profits such as The American Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the National Rifle Association, etc. In any case, my guess is that any gifts to any organizations that might actually help the poor are motivated less by Christian sentiments than by the advice of their accountants. Take away their "charitable deductions" and see how "Christian" they truly are.

  3. No...I mean donations to actual charities that help the poor.
    Who do you think is donating to Salvation Army, Feed the Hungry, World Vision, Rescue Missions, etc. You?

    True - any social program needs an administrative structure. However, government bureaucracies have not proven themselves to be the most efficient...why else would our President talk about cutting government waste?

  4. What is your proof that government bureaucracies are less efficient than other bureaucracies?

  5. Yes, David, I have to agree. Gov't agencies have had their share of problems, but nothing remotely like the disastrous effect on our economy perpetuated by the banking industry. If the derivatives market, and related "free market" gambling schemes, such as "high speed" trading, can be considered efficient, according to the strange logic of conservative ideology, they are also incredibly destructive. I'll take the bumbling bureaucrats in Washington any day over the sharks of Wall St.


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