Theocrats or Panderers? It Doesn’t Really Matter…

Politicians at all levels keep giving God a bad name. God doesn’t want LGBT folks to have equal rights, and certainly doesn’t want them to get married, at least to each other. God doesn’t want women controlling our own reproduction. God doesn’t like immigrants, or refugees, or Muslims (wrong God). In Indiana, just ask Mike Pence. Or Marlin Stutzman.

As a recurring Facebook meme puts it, “Isn’t it nice that God hates all the same people you do?”

The Republican presidential contenders are, if anything, worse. Herb Silverman has a great commentary up at Huffington Post.

Recently I wrote about presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s comment that “all the answers are in the Bible” and his remarks to an atheist that our rights could only come from a creator. A number of readers agreed that Rubio’s view made no sense, but they also mentioned that religious views of other candidates are just as bad, or worse. I agree. Rubio has never claimed that God told him to run for president. That alone distinguishes him from current candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich, and dropout candidates Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Scott Walker.

Of those who dropped out, despite God’s support, Ben Carson remains the most active politically. He is the new national chairman of My Faith Votes, an organization that wants Christians to decide who will be the next president and all national and local leaders.

What’s so ironic about these posturing theocrats is that they also go to great lengths to present themselves as constitutional “originalists” and “strict constructionists,” a facade that requires them to ignore pretty much everything the Founders said and wrote about religion and the meaning of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Ted Cruz is by far the smartest–and creepiest–of the GOP field. A graduate of Harvard Law, he should know both the history and operation of the First Amendment, but either he missed those classes or he chooses to ignore both the Founders’ own words and 200+ years of constitutional jurisprudence. As Silverman writes,

Fittingly, Cruz launched his campaign at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell. At a National Religious Liberties Conference, Cruz said, “Any president who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander in chief.” In addition to eliminating atheists from presidential consideration, Cruz apparently would also like a prayer test for all candidates. His Religious Liberty Council seems to equate religious liberty with a God-given right to discriminate against gays. Pastor Rafael Cruz, Ted’s father, has served as a surrogate for Ted’s campaign. Pastor Cruz says that there is no such thing as separation of church and state, America is a Christian nation, and the Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

No wonder America is seeing the “rise of the nones.” Who in her right mind would believe in or worship the sanctimonious, repellent and vindictive God who motivates these people?


  1. The twisted minds of the people that believe in, follow and support these hateful and mean-spirited ideas that have been mysteriously pulled out of the bible by the disgusting leaders they follow is disgraceful.

    It is impossible to have an intelligent conversation with any of their followers. These ideas have been so deeply driven into their minds that they absolutely know that anyone who doesn’t hold the same beliefs is going to hell.

  2. Sheila; please do let us know how your medical care battle is going. That being said:

    Interesting column on the “Viewpoints” page of the Star today; “Why GOP has failed to dump Trump” by Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post. It handily lumps together the primary aims of Trump, Rubio and Cruz, the Republican forerunners who rant from basically the same God ordered campaign platform. Trump is just the loudest and ugliest of the Three Stooges trio. Their lack of transparency, plus Kasich, have released abbreviated documents as their “tax returns”. Their basic lack of honesty is blatantly publicized in these documents.

    “So why have none of the GOP’s attacks on Trump stuck? Maybe it’s because Trump has unusually effective nonstick properties. Or maybe it’s because party honchos have been too cowardly to do the one thing – an admittedly important thing – that might convince Republican voters that Trump is a real threat to the liberal world order.”

    I take issue with only one word in that copied and pasted paragraph – the word “liberal” – because Trump presents a real threat to world order in it’s entirety. He and the others tout they are following God’s word as they attempt to lead this nation to destruction; my question is, will their leadership (if they take over the White House) destroy us by implosion in the form of another Civil War or a world nuclear war?

  3. Nancy,

    “It is impossible to have an intelligent conversation with any of their followers.”

    Yesterday, after lunch I stopped off at the bookstore. And I went to the German section which I helped re-vamp a couple years ago. In some respects, it’s like my own library shelf. I pulled out a book by the daughter of William Shirer on her father’s radio speeches out of Berlin until his departure in 1940.

    One group of words he used was HERMETICALLY SEALED ATMOSPHERE. He was in Berlin. I’m in Jacksonville, both the spearhead and prototype city of the Tea Party movement. Free speech is non-existent here because of the “hermetically sealed atmosphere” enforced by the political power of the First Baptist Church whose influence controls all forms of government.

  4. It’s all the product of the lack (or loss) of critical thinking and its replacement with the type of mass media + infotainment that passes as news. I’m no Bible scholar, but if what they say about Jesus is true, then shouldn’t the religious establishment be focused on the spiritual aspects of living and step away from the mundane and non-spiritual operations of government. No self-respecting god would have anything to do with the large majority of our elected officials due to their lack of ethical conduct and their clear addiction to power and money. And they seem to be the last ones to know it.

  5. This is what happens when a party panders to the extremists in their base. The Republicans long regarded the church folk as “useful idiots”. Safe votes. Easily manipulated. NOW the tail is wagging the dog. Ick.

  6. As Max Von Sydow’s character said in Hannah and her Sisters, “If Jesus returned to Earth today and saw what was going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

  7. One convenient aspect of the Tea Party days was that members were so easy to fool. In many places an unprincipled but ambitious proto-politician could get elected to a career position merely by reciting a handful of well known phrases over and over again and in response to questions whether or not they applied. Good looks and hair helped. That explains both Sarah Palin and Marco Rubio who normally would not have risen very far at any career but have become set for life through politics.

    The transition to the Tea Party days took many years and lots of Koch fertilizer, which continues unabated, so the transition back to sanity can also be expected to be slow and laborious.

    But it is happening. Thanks IMO to climate change because unlike other issues climate change is supported by the highest standard humanity has for discerning truth, the scientific method.

    The GOP reasoned, and I agree, that the Tea Party kool aid was the only elixir powerful enough to produce redemption from Bush results. So they latched on.

    Many of us have speculated for years about how that debacle would end, not whether. Now we know. Trump. Whodathunk. It ain’t pretty.

    This year will be the medical miracle that turns back the assault but recovery will take the intensive therapy and time. Those that chose the tricorn hats will die off and those who fully understand the complexity of modern life will establish and hold the beachhead for the great liberation.

    Whew! Close one!

    It is historic that white males will be saved by a black and a woman. Not without drama but historic nonetheless.

  8. I saw a cartoon on Facebook recently. It portrayed Jesus saying “I gave them the beatitudes and all they do is spout Leviticus.” None of these so-called Christians ever seem to reference the New Testament. Makes me wonder how they can call themselves Christians.

  9. I struggle to wrap my brain around the blatant disregard of the 1st Amendment when they claim to be in favor of strict interpretation. Their brand of christianity (lower case intended) is so far removed from Christianity as Christ taught with no application of the two greatestcommandments: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”,[2] before also referring to a second commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

  10. Sheila ,
    Just like the people you point your finger at you mistakenly refer to “god ” in the second person. It is NOT someone else – Exodus 3 : 13 – 15.
    In every case when someone claims that “god ” made me like this ( gay , etc. ) they are putting the blame on someone else – god. The issues you present are only freedom of choice issues. Choice of behavior , that is. As all these things are behavior freedoms , and NOTHING else. If one CHOOSES to in gage in an aberated way , and it results in negative consequences , TOO BAD. BTW don’t falsely accuse me of being an atheist. Just like Agnostics , Muslims , Jew , and Christian alike do not know WHO , or WHAT ” god ” is. The identity of “god ” is revealed in Exodus 3 : 13 -15.
    These words EQUALLY apply to ALL who read them.
    Wake up , people.

  11. As far as I know there are no issues at all between religion of any kind and liberal democracy. Freedom of religion is a a highly respected liberal principle.

    Just as freedom is not based on limited government but rather democratic election of those who govern, so freedom of religion is based on the prohibition of theocracy – giving government power to specific religions.

  12. One of the most interesting books I have ever read was “God, a biography” by Jack Miles. It moves from the highly participatory god of the early books to no mention of god in books like Ester, where the humans do all the heavy lifting. Very religious friends found Miles’ book thought provoking and a little disturbing.

    People like Cruz who claim to be “Christians,” although Christ doesn’t seem to appear in their bible, and Originalists, are deluding themselves, cherry picking from their literature of choice. As you say, Sheila, he must have missed those classes on the Constitution or his professor gave no background on the Enlightenment underpinnings of its writers. On the other hand, we have no idea what Cruz really believes. He is a great debater, a skill where lying is acceptable if you are not called on it.

  13. Since I am anonymous here, I will tell you what I really think, and I will do so because I believe that many of us hold these same views but they are rarely expressed: religious people lack intelligence, or in some cases are suffering from mental illness. Intelligent, well adjusted human beings are very rarely religious. There are some cases of brainwashing so deep that even an intelligent person may be trapped by religious teachings, and of course there are many millions who go along to get along, either because of fear or because their traditions are comforting to them. But when I meet a person, and they seem to genuinely believe in their “faith,” then I look at them as an adult looks at a five year old discussing Santa Claus.

  14. And by the way, Ted Cruz is obviously a con man, as so many who preach are. In Cruz’ case I suspect he is a psychopath, brilliant but twisted by a lack of empathy. Psychopaths make powerful leaders (and preachers) because they don’t carry the burden of conscience into their decision-making. At this point the two remaining viable R candidates are both clearly mentally ill.

  15. I do not follow any organized religion, but I recall some of the Catholic up bringing. I do not recall Jesus selling the loaves and fishes , he gave them away (Socialist). I also do not recall Jesus asking the family of Lazarus if he had Insurance before he raised him from the dead (Single Payer System for Heath Care).

    In any case it is curious that about the time the Religious Right was being armed politically here in the USA, the USA was arming Bin Laden and what would become the Taliban in Afghanistan with military hardware to resist the Soviet invasion. The Establishment in both cases created and nurtured these movements. The Establishment lost control of both of these movements here in the USA and Middle East.

  16. Some people use religion as a weapon of hate and exclusion. Some apply religion with an embrace to love each other – even one’s enemies – and to judge not. That’s a very tall order for all of us, especially during presidential campaigns.

  17. It seems to me both odd and true that the two most personal attributes of humanity are sex and religion. I try to stay out of both areas when dealing with people.

  18. Mark Brandum, try imagining being intimate with a man. Think about what it would be like, what kind of men you’d be attracted to, how a man’s body would feel to your touch. Does thinking about it make you want to give it a try, or does it repulse you? If it repulses you, then why would you think some people “choose” same-sex partners? Would anyone “choose” to be with a partner who repulses them? You were born with hetero wiring. You didn’t choose to be attracted to women. You just are. Please stop judging gays by saying their behavior is aberrant. It might be unnatural for you, but what you do is unnatural for them. When you speak on behalf of others, like saying sexual attraction is a “choice” and it has negative consequences, it makes you sound like maybe you’re repressing your own bisexuality…

  19. Can we please have Freedom From Religion ? It’s time for humanity to grow up and leave the imaginary friends behind. Religion is nothing more than a tool, created by man, to control the masses. ALL religions are founded on lies, ignorance and misunderstanding.

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