In American politics it has become normal for candidates to brand themselves in order to garner support from special interest groups, voters and campaign donors alike even though there are times when voters are pitched one brand and campaign donors hear a totally different storyline. There is not always a distinct correlation between a candidate’s advertised credentials and their experience or actions, but some politicians are so far-removed from their public expression of themselves that voters cannot help but be aware of the divergence. Two of the Republicans seeking the nomination for the presidency have branded themselves as evangelical Christians who will transform the country into a “nation under the Christian god,” and although they are true believers, their actions as politicians are far-removed from a follower of Christ.
Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann advertise themselves to supporters and prospective voters as devout Christians who seek to change the nature of government to reflect “Christian family values,” but if voters take the time to compare their actions with the tenets of Christ’s teachings, they will find both candidates are the antithesis of a follower of Christ. First, it is important to review one very important commandment Jesus gave his followers that encapsulates nearly all of the Ten Commandments that do not deal with worshipping god, and it is the one bible verse that all Christians learn from a very young age. Jesus’ disciples asked him what was the most important commandment in the Mosaic Law and he replied, “You must love god with all your heart,” and “You must love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments the whole Law hangs” (Matt.22:37-40). Loving god is a personal dysfunction that is irrelevant to this discussion, but loving your neighbor is important because as Jesus alluded, it covers the parts of the Ten Commandments and Mosaic Law that deal with stealing, covetousness, adultery, and the various rules regarding interactions within society.
Bachmann and Perry have demonstrated that not only do they not love their neighbors, they hate anyone who does not adhere to their twisted religious views and neo-conservative agenda; more importantly, they hate people who need assistance. Both of the false Christians have shown their contempt for the poor by cutting programs that are specifically meant to feed and house the poorest among us. Each of the fakers claim that spending cuts are necessary because the government is too big and the country cannot afford to help poor mothers and disadvantaged children, but they have no problem giving the wealthy tax breaks and corporations entitlements. Their religion’s namesake said, ”If you want to be perfect, go sell your belongings and give to the poor” (Matt. 19:21). Bachmann and Perry take from the poor with Draconian spending cuts so they can give to the rich, and it is curious that millions of conservative Christian voters know what Jesus said and still support the candidates that promise to continue depriving the poor of necessities like food and shelter.
Although Rick Perry is not in Congress, one of his first acts as governor of Texas was to throw 161,000 children off of the “S-Chip” Program that covers disadvantaged and handicapped children. Instead of cutting programs that reward wealthy donors, Perry chose to punish children in an act of Christian charity that would make Jesus retch in disgust. Perry also appointed his friends to the Texas Teacher Retirement System Board and they sent hundreds-of-millions of dollars reserved for teachers to the firms run by his campaign donors. Perry and Bachmann have shown a pattern of taking from the poor to give to the rich in direct conflict with Jesus’ commandments.
If Perry and Bachmann loved their neighbor like Jesus said, they would want to ensure that every citizen had clean air and water, but both Christians have been unrelenting advocates for deregulating and defunding environmental protections. Bachmann has promised her first act as president will be to close the EPA insuring that the entire country faces the same environmental fate as Texas which has the highest levels of carbon dioxide in the nation. One would think devout Christians like Bachmann and Perry would want all Americans to enjoy clean air and water, but because neither of them are loving Christians, their American “neighbors” are left gasping and choking so their wealthy donors’ profit margin continues rising. It is just another instance of the devout Christians hurting the masses to enrich their wealthy donors. What would Jesus think? No-one will ever know, but one thing is clear; if Jesus did show up, he would condemn Bachmann and Perry for hating the American people.
Jesus also told his followers, “Moreover, stop judging and you will by no means be judged, and stop condemning and you will by no means be condemned” (Luke 6:37). Both Perry and Bachmann have made a name for themselves with conservative Christians for their criticism and judgment of gays. Bachmann said that gays were part of Satan and promised to reinstate the discriminatory DADT policy even though it was just repealed. They also support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage because it conflicts with their religious beliefs even though their religious leader commanded them not to make judgments.
Perry and Bachmann are as far from followers of Christ as the proverbial devil, and it is no accident. Each of the extremist Christians are part of the Dominionist movement that follows the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) instead of the New Testament with Jesus’ message of forgiveness, charity, and Christian love (an oxymoron). It is fascinating that there are very few Christian leaders who are willing to point out the hypocrisy of false Christians like Perry, Bachmann, and every other conservative Christian politician. Where are the outcries from the clergy who certainly know what Jesus said? There are nationally recognized megachurch preachers like Rick Warren who are silent because they too are false Christians who advocate for hate against the poor while wallowing in luxury at their congregation’s expense.
It is not a bad thing for a politician to follow a religion and the Constitution certainly guarantees them the right to worship as they please. However, when they brand themselves as “special” or “anointed by god” to lead and then contradict everything their religion teaches they are misleading voters. But are they misleading their supporters? Not hardly.
There are increasing numbers of false Christians who oppose everything Jesus taught and stood for, and they support the evil that Perry and Bachmann personify every time they open their mouths and say, “I am a devout Christian.” It is incredibly unfortunate that fake Christians like Perry and Bachmann hold sway over millions of evangelical fundamentalists who share their hatred of the poor, children, and disadvantaged Americans, and they are gaining influence and power over the government. It is bad enough that politicians are inserting religious dogmata into the laws and government, but when the religion they espouse is based on hate for the poor and love for the rich the entire country will suffer. Now if Bachmann and Perry advertised themselves as members of a religion that advocated punishing the poor to help the rich, at least they would not be lying hypocrites, but they are lying hypocrites and instead of being followers of Christ, they are followers of greed, selfishness, and corporate money. If it were not an insult to Satan, it would be appropriate to say Bachmann and Perry follow the Devil, but even Satan never said to use elected office to starve children and millions of Americans living in poverty because he was nowhere near as evil as those two evangelical, devout conservative Christians.