There are many religious people who believe that their god controls every aspect of their lives, and for them, relinquishing control of their existence to a deity makes sense. The problem is that it also excuses them from any form of self-responsibility as well as giving their religion’s leaders power to manipulate them to behave and choose a particular political ideology based on their faith. It is unfortunate that in America, fundamentalist Christians support conservative economic policies that are against their own self-interests because Republicans portray the government as an overreaching entity that is in competition with the bible and its prohibition on gays, women’s rights, and freedom of religion. Republicans and their teabagger minions use anti-government rhetoric to convince fundamentalists that corporations and the wealthy are being overtaxed and over-regulated by the godless government and it has fostered support for conservative ideals that are destroying the economy.
The notion among a large segment of Christian fundamentalists is that god is guiding the economy and anything the government does to help economic growth or create jobs is in direct contrast to god’s will. The fundamentalists’ belief explains their abhorrence of government regulations, taxation, social safety nets, unemployment benefits, and a bevy of government programs and laws prohibiting discrimination against gays, minorities, and the poor. Republicans are keenly aware of the fundamentalists’ belief and anger that god’s will is being supplanted by the government and use it to advance their policies that smaller, less-intrusive government is in line with god’s grand plan for America.
Although the bible never says god is in charge of America’s economy, fundamentalists who are typically poor and less educated have made a natural connection between religious conservatism and fiscal conservatism that prompts them to support Republicans’ economic agenda. In a study at Baylor University, researchers discovered that religious conservatism correlated with social conservatism, sexual conservatism, and lately, fiscal conservatism and that Republicans tapped into Christianity’s values regarding same-sex marriage and abortion. The study found that fundamentalists harbor a strong belief that god’s will, and the state of nature, is a free market system without any government regulation or taxation because it is disrupting and opposing the state of nature god intends for the economy. In fact, many believers “see government as a really profane object,” and it explains the obsession that “any liberal kind of suggestions on how to fix our economy” is anti-god and a war against faith.
Whether or not conservative Christians in Congress or Republicans really believe god controls the economy is irrelevant because they are using the poor, ignorant fundamentalists’ beliefs to garner support for their corporatist agenda. Because the fundamentalists tend to be poor and uneducated, they acquiesce to the party that panders to their belief-system and vote against policies that are in their own self-interests. Their belief is that if god controls the economy, then they don’t need education or social programs that would improve their lot in life. Human nature is such that people are going to trust leaders who are closely aligned with their own belief system, and instead of using common sense and voting for policies that are to their benefit, it is much easier to vote for politicians and conservative elites that oppose the government, gay and women’s rights, and social programs that help the poor.
The Baylor study also found that fundamentalists believe the unemployed, poor, and economically disadvantaged are lazy and are not taking advantage of America’s exceptional opportunities like the extremely wealthy have and therefore are undeserving of any assistance. Part of the problem with religious folks who believe god controls the economy and every person in America is that if someone loses their job, their home, and economic prosperity, it is god’s will. Many of the study’s respondents claimed it was the individual’s fault they lost their job and they do not merit receiving unemployment benefits or assistance from government programs. It is interesting that the fundamentalists ignore Jesus Christ’s commandment to clothe, feed, and assist the poor. There is no way to reconcile fundamentalists’ beliefs that it is acceptable to ignore the poorest among us to enrich the wealthy and corporations, but it is highly likely that because Republicans pander to fundamentalists’ bible-based dogma that encourages hatred of abortion, gays, and women, the fundamentalists are choosing the lesser of evils and willfully accept that god intends for millions of Americans to live in poverty.
Christian fundamentalists exemplify proverbial sheep that blindly follow their leaders who encourage adherence to church philosophy that is inherently anti-government, and in lieu of using common sense and basic self-interest, adhere to conservative economic philosophy that will, in due time, spell economic disaster for themselves and the country. Republicans have tapped into a mindset that allows them to reward the wealthy and their corporate interests at the expense of the people who support them. The Baylor study answers the question; why do ignorant, poor Christian fundamentalists support and vote for policies that are against their own self-interest? The simple answer is that Republicans and the clergy have convinced them that god controls America’s economy and if he wants high unemployment, tens-of-millions of Americans living in poverty, and social programs eliminated, then fundamentalists must support that agenda.
The Baylor study shows that fundamentalists believe that, “If God is in control and in my life, there is one way to get this done, and that’s God’s way; and God’s way is always one way; and we may not understand, but that’s the way it is.” It is tragic that in 2011, America’s economy is being subverted by Republicans who use Christian fundamentalists’ belief that god wants 99% of the population to suffer so the wealthy and their corporations can prosper, and that any attempts by the government to help the economy is an affront to god’s supremacy.
If any American truly believes that Dominionists and Christian fundamentalists are not a serious threat to America and its economic prosperity, they are deluded and need to wake up. Republicans are awake and by the time they finish, there will be two classes of Americans; elite industrialists and the peasant class. The Christian fundamentalists are being manipulated by the clergy and Republican Party to facilitate the takeover by theocrats and plutocrats, and the Americans who sit idly by thinking Christians are harmless are just as guilty as the vile Republicans and evil clergy who have nearly destroyed this once-great country.