“Is religion an appropriate basis for political belief or does voting based on religious conviction ultimately impede the religious freedom of others?”
The church is a tiny voice in our society, and acts even tinier. The big voice, the thought leader, the decider is the Military Industrial Complex which includes Big Media. Media is the control room of public thought. Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, even Scientologists and Mormons take their thought prompts from Big Media. And Big Media wants us to be afraid and anxious most of the time.
It is not surprising that when we think about the question before us, the mind immediately goes to the voting block known as The Evangelicals. This group of seeming like-minded Christians can be counted on to vote Republican regardless of who is running. And Big Government and Big Media court these Christians. That is, they gin up the fear in this group to ensure the right wing candidates will get their vote. Faith becomes fear. Would we really be so against taking care of our brothers and sisters in need if we had not been taught to fear our brothers and sisters getting “handouts” from Big Government with “our” money?
News reports this week suggest that, in Louisiana, these same Evangelicals who were all Trumped up two weeks ago have had a sudden change of mind about government handouts and are actually grateful that the Federal Government has been there to help relieve the pain and trauma of the current 500-year flood.
Our Faith matters very little in political issues, especially when it comes to taking care of our own people. The problem is that our faith is seldom used as a guide-post in political matters. We act as if our innate political insight is much better at solving problems than the guidance of our faith and the Golden Rule.
No church, alone or in concert with other churches, can solve some of our human problems when they involve millions of men, women and children forced to live in poverty, mal-nourishment and squalid conditions in America. The problems are too big, and require big support if we are even going to pretend to solve them. But then we are told by our Right Wing politicians that we want none of this fearful Big Government telling us what to do with our money.
The Military Industrial Complex with Big Media can tell Christians what to think and vote, and a large number do. The Church seems powerless to actually motivate people to choose between their fears and their faith.
We are actually much better than all of that. The current Pope seems to be the only big voice for Christian Values. He challenges even American Presidential candidates to act out their supposed faith.
But Stephen Colbert, the late night comedian, says it best:
“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”
If the question posed for this Roundtable was critical, we would have to say that people do not vote their faith, but their fears, and this seems to be in line with how all of us are being programmed to think.