Sunday, November 28, 2004

The Religious Right, The Bush Administration, Pharisees, and the "Moral Values" Vote

This is probably the last time that I will focus on the "Moral Values" vote in the 2004 Presidential Election. As a lifelong born-again Christian, as well as a angry dissenter of the Bush Administration, this issue has really struck home with me. I simply cannot understand how anybody can justify a vote for president Bush on the basis of "Moral Values".

Before you go arguing that the moral values issue had only a minimal affect on the final election results, I'd like to mention that I have already debunked this claim in a previous blog, entitled Dissecting the Moral Values Vote. According to exit polls, 22% of all voters cited moral values as the primary motivating factor in swinging the direction of their vote. Of these votes, a whopping 78% voted for President Bush. If we eliminate the effect of the moral values vote, Kerry would have won handedly, with a 56.5% - 43.4% margin.

When I listen to the justification of the "Moral Values" vote, I find myself reminded of the group of people referred to as "Pharisees" in biblical times. Jesus himself was a vocal opponent of the Pharisees, disagreeing emphatically over their emphasis on purity laws, and outward appearance, rather than living the life of a Christian. Jesus often spoke of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, rebuking them for their pretentiousness.

To give you an idea of how Jesus viewed those who felt that they were morally superior to others, take a look at the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14). The modern-day Christian Right politician is no better than the Pharisee represented in this parable.
Some other Scriptures to Consider:

Luke 11:37-54. Excerpt: "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and evil....But give to charity what is within, and then everything is clean for you....These things you should have done without neglecting the others"

Luke 7:36-50 Excerpt: She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him--that she's a sinner!"

Time and Time Again, Jesus spoke of living a life of charity - providing for the poor, feeding the hungry, and caring for those in need (i.e. Matthew 19:21, Mark 6:30-44) . He despised the Pharisees, Sadducees and other religious leaders for their self-righteous and judgmental attitudes (Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, John 8:7) This very segment (John 8:1-11) teaches us very clearly that we should not condemn others, but instead focus on our own lives.

Here are is some additional scripture on how Jesus viewed the action of judging others:

Matthew 7:1 - Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Matthew 7:2 - For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Luke 6:37 - Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven

As far as I know, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. The "True Moral Values" that Jesus taught about are "Peace", "Compassion", "Truethfulness", "Honesty", and "Integrity". These true moral values are certainly not exemplified in the Bush Administration.

Comparing the Moral Values of the Bush Administration to the Moral Values of a Liberal

The Bush Administration is in clear violation of their supposedly moral stance in almost every possible way. Let's take a closer look at the "Moral Values" record of President Bush:

  • Declaring an illegitimate war based on false pretences - How can anybody possibly claim that they are basing a vote for President Bush on the issue of morality when the entire justification for the Iraqi War was proven to be false. In what sick and twisted can the declaration of war possibly be considered Moral?
  • Peace, Not War - As Kerry stated, the Iraqi War should have been an absolute last resort.
  • Providing for the Poor - In this age of economic abundance and overwhelming productivity, it is an absolute atrocity that their are poor, hungry, unemployed, underemployed and uninsured people in the United States. This is a growing problem which is going completely ignored by the Bush Administration. Under Bush's administration, we have seen the loss of over half a million jobs, 1.3 million more people living under the poverty line, 4 million more uninsured people, and the disturbing new trend of outsourcing and offshoring. Compare this to the Clinton Administration, which brought about an increase of 22.5 million jobs.
  • Disregard of Environmental Concerns - The Bush Administration has repealed many environmental regulations over their first term in office. They have walked away from the Kyoto protocol, and now they are talking about drilling for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Preserve. A morally just administration would be more concerned about providing a future for our Children and our Children's Children...not fighting wars and continuing on the short-sited path of continued dependence on finite and limited non-renewable resources. A morally just administration would recognize that the only moral stand on environmental issues would be to appeal to the American people that we cannot continue on a path of over-consumption, non-sustainable economic growth, and environmental devastation.
  • Economic Irresponsibility - The republicans like to claim that they stand for a smaller government. You just need to look at one fact to realize that this is simply not true. During the Clinton Administration, we witnessed the Government's first Budget Surplus in almost 30 years. Take a look at this graph. When Clinton left office, we had a record $150 Billion surplus. Now, four years later, the Bush Administration has led us to a record $450 Billion dollar deficit, with no hope of returning to a break even point any time in the near future. A morally responsible administration would realize that spending money we don't have and economically bankrupting the future of the nation is morally reprehensible.
  • Deception - Time and Time again, the Bush Administration has been caught lying through their teeth. They lied about the motivation for the Iraqi War. They lied about the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction. They lied about links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. They lied about the uranium yellow cake from Africa. They lied about the aluminum tubes. They continue to deceive about conflicts of interest between the Bush Administration and Halliburton, Diebold, Enron. They lied about the cost of the war. For a closer look at the deception of the Bush Administration, take a look at Bush Administration Lies for War