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A Friend's Essay on Politics and Gospels

My friend S. asked me to publish the following essay in my blog. He would like to know my commenters' opinions about it.

I've translated the text from Microsoft Word to HTML, but otherwise did not edit it. - ShV

The Modern Antichrists

Wikipedia defines Antichrist as referring ``to a leader who fulfills Biblical prophecies concerning an adversary of Christ, while resembling him in a deceptive manner. The antichrist will seemingly provide for the needs of the people but deny them ultimate salvation.'' It does not have to be a single person. Encyclopedia Britannica states that ``the first epistle of John introduces an important distinction between ``the'' Antichrist who will come and the many antichrists who are already active in the world.''

So, can we find antichrists in the modern-day America? Let's look for people who preach and do things that diametrically opposite to His teachings. And what is the better place to look for antichrists as in politics? Another clue: these people do declare themselves to be Christ's followers. This narrows our search, doesn't it?

Of course, any political platform is a combination of stereotypes. Yet, stereotypes cannot be brushed off, because people base on them their votes. Below you will find stereotypes, real or perceived, regarding the platform of one major political party. They will be juxtaposed to quotes from the New Testament. You will be the judge if this party is the embodiment of antichrists today.

A clarification: I am not suggesting that card-carrying members people of this party harbor evil thoughts; on the contrary, most of them have best intensions. But you know what they say about best intensions, don't you?

Now, let's get to the issues.

Self-defense

GOP on self defense

Do you defend yourself from armed men, when you know that your life is in danger? What if the armed men represent the current government?

"Our nation was built and civilized by men and women who used guns in self-defense and in pursuit of peace. One wonders indeed, if the rising crime rate, isn't due as much as anything to the criminal's instinctive knowledge that the average victim no longer has means of self-protection."

Ronald Reagan

"There are those in America today who have come to depend absolutely on government for their security. And when government fails they seek to rectify that failure in the form of granting government more power. So, as government has failed to control crime and violence with the means given it by the Constitution, they seek to give it more power at the expense of the Constitution. But in doing so, in their willingness to give up their arms in the name of safety, they are really giving up their protection from what has always been the chief source of despotism - government."

Ronald Reagan

``As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt was proud to support legislation that expanded the rights of gun owners. He worked hard to advance the ability of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own firearms, while opposing liberal desires to create bureaucracy intended to burden gun owners and sportsmen. As governor, he also designated May 7th as ``The Right to Bear Arms Day'' in Massachusetts to honor law-abiding citizens and their right to ``use firearms in defense of their families, persons, and property for all lawful purposes, including common defense.''

Mitt Romney's campaign website

Jesus Christ on self defense

So, let's ask this question again: do you defend yourself from armed men, when you know that your life is in danger? What if the armed men are from the government? What did Jesus Christ do in a similar situation?

``And, behold, one of them [Jesus disciples] which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.'' (Matthew 26:51-52)

Have you ever thought why Jesus refused to defend himself? What does it mean ``perish from the sword''? It is clear that He was not concerned with His or His disciples' physical survival - He knew that they all of them would die horrible deaths. The word ``perish'' should be interpreted here as referring to spiritual death. What others do to you is their problem; if you take the sword and kill someone, you also kill your salvation. In other words, the one who takes the sword perishes from the same sword. (By the way, this interpretation of the Scripture was the reason why Tertullian, one of the founders of Western theology, prohibited Christians to wear arms).

What a difference to the current concept of self defense, when many people are ready to shoot an intruder even if the guy only broke in their house for money!

Hard work

GOP on hard work

Republicans maintain that it is the hard work of individuals, and not handouts, which deliver prosperity and wealth. (By the way, we will get to the issue of wealth later; this section is about hard work.)

``We will end a culture of dependency and restore a culture of good, hard work.''

Mitt Romney

Jesus Christ on hard work

``No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?'' (Matthew 6:24-26)

Pride

GOP on pride

Republicans are proud to be Americans. Reagan pledged "to make America proud again".

``When the words `under God' came in that Pledge of Allegiance, we said it louder than the other parts and we were proud of it.''

Rick Santorum

It is worth repeating here that ``As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt was proud to support legislation that expanded the rights of gun owners.''

Mitt Romney's campaign website

Jesus Christ on pride

Pride is the last, and according to many interpretations, the most serious of the seven deadly sins in the Christian doctrine.

``And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.'' (Mark 7:20-23)

Taxes

GOP on taxes

Republicans are for lowering taxes - they believe that it is unfair to take hard-earned money from individuals. Low taxes help to create wealth (more on wealth below).

``To repair the nation's tax code, marginal rates must be brought down. Lower marginal tax rates secure for all Americans the economic gains from tax reform.''

The official site of Mitt Romney

``On Jan. 4, 2007, Romney became the first prospective presidential candidate to sign Grover Norquist's pledge to oppose increasing taxes on people or businesses.''

http://www.issues2000.org/2012/Mitt_Romney_Tax_Reform.htm

``It's really American to avoid paying taxes, legally.''

Lindsey Graham

Jesus Christ on taxes

``Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.'' (Mathew 22:17-21)

American Exceptionalism

GOP on exceptionalism or on being the first among all nations

GOP leaders believe in the American exceptionalism, more so than Democrats do. According to this belief, America is greater than any other country, and has a special place in history. Of course, belief in exceptionalism stems from the sense of pride being an American, which is a topic of another section.

Wikipedia states that in a 2011 film, A City Upon a Hill and book, A Nation Like No Other, Gingrich argues the claim to "exceptionalism" is "built on the unique belief that our rights do not come from the government, but from God, giving honor and responsibility to the individual - not the state."

Rick Santorum proclaimed that ``America was a great country before 1965'' - before the creation of the welfare state, and the time in which President Johnson signed civil rights legislation. Further, Santorum accused Obama of not believing in American exceptionalism. Rick Santorum's official site even has a page titled ``Believer in American Exceptionalism``

Exceptionalism is the same as being the first among all nations.

Jesus Christ on being the first

Jesus tells you what happens to those who strive to be the ``first'':

``But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.'' (Mathew 19:30)

Taking a pledge

GOP on taking pledges

Republicans like taking pledges. They are primary defenders of saying the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, and they insist that it must include a reference to God:

Let's quote Rick Santorum again: ``When the words `under God' came in that Pledge of Allegiance, we said it louder than the other parts and we were proud of it.''

(By the way, isn't the Pledge of Allegiance an example of using God's name in vain?)

Pledge of Allegiance is not the only pledge Republicans take. We already saw this in the section on taxes, but it is worth repeating here:

``On Jan. 4, 2007, Romney became the first prospective presidential candidate to sign Grover Norquist's pledge to oppose increasing taxes on people or businesses.''

http://www.issues2000.org/2012/Mitt_Romney_Tax_Reform.htm

Jesus on taking oaths

``Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:

Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.'' (Mathew 5:33-37)

Wealth

GOP on wealth

Wealthy individuals are at the base of support for Republican causes. Tax breaks and deregulation are designed to benefit ``job creators''. Following Ayn Rand, many Republicans say that ``wealth is good''.

``We need true tax reform that will at least make a start toward restoring for our children the American Dream that wealth is denied to no one.''

Ronald Reagan

Many leading figures in the Republican establishment do not shy away from being wealthy. Here are net worth figures of Republican candidates in the most recent campaign:

Rick Perry: $1 to $2.5 million

Rick Santorum: $1 to $3 million

Ron Paul: $2.4 to $5.4 million

Newt Gingrich: $7 to $31 million

Jon Huntsman: $16 to $72 million

Mitt Romney: up to $264 million

Jesus Christ on wealth

``Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.'' (Mathew 19:21-24)

Death penalty

GOP on death penalty

Republicans are strong supporters of the death penalty. With Rick Perry as the Governor, Texas executed 234 people. When asked by a reporter if he ever struggled with the idea that somebody on the death row is innocent, Rick Perry replied: ``No, sir. I've never struggled with that at all.''

Under leadership of George W. Bush, 152 people were executed in Texas.

Jesus Christ on death penalty

What did Jesus do, when someone was slated for execution?

``And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.'' (John 8:3-7)

Even aside from Christ's words, it beats me how people who revere Him can be proponents of executions, knowing that He was executed for crimes He did not commit!

Summary

Issue after issue, we see that GOP platform is diametrically opposite to Christ's teachings. And yet, republicans position their party as the true bearer of Christian values. Any conclusions here?

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
hoholusa
Sep. 9th, 2012 06:07 pm (UTC)
Целились в GOP, а попали в протестантов.
ygam
Sep. 10th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
+1
gena_t
Sep. 9th, 2012 06:46 pm (UTC)
Богословие это такое дело. За столько сотен лет столько всяких интерпретаций понапридумывали, что еще одна ничего особенно и не изменит.
profpr
Sep. 9th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
Мое понимание другое. Антихрист - фальшивый Иисус не потому, что он проповедует противоположное учение, а потому, что, проповедуя то же самое, он убирает единственно верное решение, принять Иисуса. В результате у него получается как у Босха в Саду земных удовольствий, с виду вроде как и рай, но, присмотревшись, видны червоточинки. А то, что действия GOP противоположны учению Христа, вполне истолковывается как "sin boldly" Лютера :-)
vryadli
Sep. 10th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC)
Я уверен, что в Библии можно найти цитаты и в поддержку тз ГОП.
Лев Горенштейн [poxod.com]
Sep. 10th, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
Как-то слабовато...
ygam
Sep. 10th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
The devil can cite scripture for his purpose!

На что республиканец ответит: The quality of mercy is not strained!

Edited at 2012-09-10 02:21 am (UTC)
tantalus2
Sep. 10th, 2012 04:18 am (UTC)
"When the Jews return to Zion
And a comet rips the sky
And the Holy Roman Empire rises,
Then you and I must die.
From the eternal sea he rises,
Creating armies on either shore,
Turning man against his brother
'Til man exists no more."
rdia
Sep. 10th, 2012 08:35 am (UTC)
Блин, как только что-то начинается с "Википедия определяет", сразу можно отложить и не читать. Ибо, это плевок в душу читателя - мало ли что она как определяет.

Ну и идиотизм писателя: Википедия штука непостоянная, поэтому нужно хотя бы ставить дату определения. То есть, писать "On 10th of September 2010 Wikipedia defines Antichrist as referring..."
gineer
Sep. 13th, 2012 05:59 am (UTC)
Вах-вах-вах... православный демократ. :)))
morgulis
Sep. 15th, 2012 11:19 am (UTC)
Слабость аргументации уже отметили выше, но дело, в конце-концов, не в ней: уровень ее определяется уровнем аудитории, для школьников, возможно, и сойдет. Дело, на мой взгляд, в том, что политизированный человек вряд ли сознает, что не политическая программа какой-либо партии определяет принадлежность человека к ней и формирует его позицию, а наоборот, взгляды человека заставляют его примкнуть к какой-либо партии. Таким образом, не республиканцы, будучи последовательными антихристианами, собрали под своими знаменами всех этих нехороших богачей, сторонников "гордости", "хардворкеров", а наоборот: религиозные, работящие, семейные люди тянутся к республиканцам. Поэтому выступать с позиций "их партия не тому учит" неверно: это они определяют, чему учит партия.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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