Woe to you, Right Wing Christians, you hypocrites!

by lestro

One of the things that bothered me most about the lines of attack taken during the Republican National Convention was the belittling of not only Barack Obama’s time spent as a community organizer, but the role of community organizers in general.

“Community organizer” is the general term given to people who work to make a difference in their communities, neighborhoods and schools. Organizers rally people to work together and help themselves. It is a noble and often thankless endeavor, done not for profit or personal benefit, but to help others help themselves.

In the colonial days, it was those people who gathered around the Liberty Tree their community of like-minded patriots and rebelled against the idea of birthright nobility and absolute leadership and organized them into a force powerful enough to beat the then-untouchable British Army.

The Republican attack on community organizers is yet another example of the right wing’s penchant for spitting on those who believe in the power of the people united instead of the oligarchy of the military industrial complex.

But today on Meet the Press I saw another interesting counter-attack on the community organizer meme, one that comes right from a place that might register with the right wing.

As I went looking for the image, I came across site after site of right wing fundie apologists making the case that no, no, no, Jesus was not a community organizer. They say it demeans his role as messiah to call him that. He came as Savior, not an organizer.

Like he can’t be both. He is supposed to be God, you know.

Nevermind that he organized his disciples, who organized churches that organized an entire religious community.

Some, like this guy, for example, go even further, using another oft-quoted and little understood section of the Bible to make their point.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Matthew 10:34.

But in that quote, Jesus absolutely was organizing his community. That quote, told as part of a speech to rally the apostles to go out and recruit, was meant as a warning that they would probably turn families against each other as people some people rallied to Jesus’s message of peace and forgiveness while others would not believe and continue in their faith.

People also always use that passage to imply that Jesus approved of violence and war when (judging by the rest of the book, anyway) nothing could be further from the truth.  He was simply warning that people were not going to like what he was saying and the disciples should be prepared.

The author then goes on to further slag Barack Obama by repeating the already de-bunked attack lines about sex education and abortion, linking it to the idea that Obama is some kind of messianic figure.

I think it is fair to say, that Barack Obama is no Jesus..no, not even close.

Despite, of course, Obama never making any such comparison himself, always saying the only reason he is there is because of a movement.

“It’s not about me, it’s about you,” he said in his acceptance speech.

Besides, considering God also said “thou shalt not kill” and Christ said “love thy enemy” and “turn the other cheek,” I think it is fair to say, by the author’s logic, that warmongers John McCain and Sarah Palin are no Christians. Not even close.

Not to mention one of the commandments opposing “bearing false witness” which he is doing in his characterization that Obama supports teaching sex ed to kindergartners.

This represents the inherent problem with Fundamentalism, be it Islamic, Christian or otherwise: the cherry picking of religious passages and demanding that they be followed as literal, while completely and totally ignoring the other parts, like the overall message.

Meanwhile, McCain, Palin and their supporters do the same thing.

Page a bit further in the Book of Matthew, for example and you will come to the Seven Woes. That’s the funny thing about the Bible: Unless you read the whole thing you might miss some important bits:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness…

Kind of like opposing earmarks while requesting more per capita than any other mayor or governor.

Or basing your entire campaign on experience and then choosing as a vice-president candidate without any.

Or calling yourself a maverick and then allowing the party to shoot down the people you think should have the second spot.

Or the myriad other lies, half truths and hypocrisies that McCain camp is calling a campaign.

I don’t portend to speak for God, nor do I even claim to be a Christian, I just think that if you do claim to be a believer, perhaps you should follow the rules laid out by your Supreme Being. If you can’t even follow your own religious teachings, how do you expect someone to take you seriously when you try to hold them accountable to said belief system?

And by the way, in the traditional sense, Jesus was a liberal. He challenged the status quo with new ideas…

12 Responses to Woe to you, Right Wing Christians, you hypocrites!

  1. Clark Bunch says:

    Shame on Democrats and Republicans for wasting so much time and energy arguing over grammer and syntax. If Obama is a community organizer and Palin a governor, that doesn’t help a voter one iota in choosing the next president.

  2. solar1 says:

    Great button, makes a nice point, doesn’t really matter. Nobody really (should)care whether or not Jesus was a community organiser. It’s a nice theme though. Nice end line, I wish a lot of these liberal churches would understand that. If you don’t believe that the Bible is the word of God, which it clearly states that it is, you have no basis to your belief.

    You probably shouldn’t lump right-wing christians together like that, of course we have our share of hypocrates, liars, and people who claim to be christian, but aren’t, the majority (I hope) aren’t anything like the straw man that you have set up.

    The Attacks on McCain are kind of hard to refute since facts aren’t listed, but I will do my best.
    a) requesting more money is a REQUEST, earmarks are parts of bills that give a project money with nothing to do with the bill. Who doesn’t want more money for their town.
    b) Palin has proven herself, not with decades of experience, but with years of results. And McCain never handed out boards with “Experience”. Obama did with “Change” and then he chose a candidate with more time in Washington than McCain, hypocritacle?
    c) You don’t have any lies from McCain, just Palin, and the McCain camp has not said anything about the supposed lies, or have I just not seen it?

    Please judge others with your own standards. Let us think about some of those lies and hypocritacle things he and his camp has done. Obama’s uncle liberating Auschwitz, not knowing anything about the anti-american sentiment in his church, and you judging McCain but not Obama by these standards.

  3. Obama’s uncle was at the liberation of Buchenwald:

    His uncle was there at the liberation of Buchenwald. Obama just confused the names of the concentration camps.


    and Obama left his church:


    and here is a collection of links about the lies and distortions told by the McCain/Palin campaign, McCain and Palin:


    Please note that it is already linked to this post. twice.

    and as to your request not to lump right-wing Christians together, I think that the post is clear that this is a critique of Fundamentalism. It is calling out those who “cherry-pick” biblical passages and ignore the overall message of the Bible.

  4. solar1 says:

    Obama mistook both his great-uncle for his uncle, and the name of the concentration camp.

    Congratulations to Obama for leaving his church, but he lies when he denies all knowledge of these infamous sermons . The clapping and cheering in the background show that the church was no stranger to either this kind of sermon or sentiment. Obama had to know something, even if he wasn’t at any of these sermons. He told Wright that “you get a little rough in those sermons”.

    I skimmed that post, and I won’t try to refute any of the supposed lies, at least on this post. Notice, though, that no “lies” are on that post are from McCain. And have the McCain camp commented on any of these comments? Or have I just not noticed it?

    I wish Lestro would have said what you said he meant, if that’s what he meant.

  5. solar1,

    I was referring to what lestro wrote in this part of the post:

    This represents the inherent problem with Fundamentalism, be it Islamic, Christian or otherwise: the cherry picking of religious passages and demanding that they be followed as literal, while completely and totally ignoring the other parts, like the overall message

    and yes, you did miss statements by McCain in that post. For example, there was what he recently said about Governor Palin’s record:

    “When pressed about Palin’s record of requesting and accepting such money for Alaska, McCain ignored the record and said: “Not as governor she didn’t.”

    For the record Palin requested $197 million this year and $256 million last year. Per capita, that’s $288 this year and $376 last year

    and I would like to point out that McCain’s campaign speaks for him, and he is responsible for every lie and distortion that is made by his staff. Some of the videos and links point out how often these lies and distortions are repeated by the McCain campaign, even after mainstream news organizations have debunked them. I encourage you to look more closely at that post.

  6. and Solar1, to get a better sense of the concerns underlying this post, I encourage you to watch the video at this link:

    McCain 2008: “He will make Cheney look like Ghandi”

  7. Mark says:

    I’ve got to say that the tit-for-tat that has happened in response to this post is quite evidential of the problem with politics and the subsequent difficulties in trying to nail down one vote that I can feel completely comfortable with. The truth is that everybody has their flaws personally and nobody will be the perfect president.

    As far as the whole idea of letting someone fly or sink based on their apparent links to past or present church congregations, it is a slippery slope. As a Christian I know that I have problems, everyday, trying to get my beliefs and actual person to line up. How much more difficult would that be to defend against as a presidential candidate when throngs of people are paying and being paid to strangle whatever integrity that candidate might have.

    Everything in this election and everything written about either of the candidates is spin unless it is based on the actual actions of the candidate and a view of those actions as a whole over a long period of time. I, personally, am concerned about Obama’s lack of experience acting by comparison to traditional standards of experience by past presidents. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that I’m in favor of all or even most of the tendencies that have defined themselves over the course of McCain’s career.

    All that being said, the emphasis on the inconsistencies, inexperience, and flaws of both candidates really doesn’t help me personally as a less-than-fully decided voter. They’ve both got issues – far too many for me to have just paid $15 in order to receive my “first edition” Obama car magnet, slap it on my care, and buy the idea that Jesus can be classified as a liberal (though I did order one free Obama bumper sticker, though, I’m not sure I will use it yet). Jesus isn’t a politician, but, a monarch and His perspective regarding the idea of community-building was with the full purpose of herding his sheep and providing a social support network for those who decided to follow him and the idea that truth supercedes social, cultural, and political boundaries (e.g., read about the good samaritan). While he indeed challenged the status quo, his ideas were certainly not new.

    Jesus did take conscious steps away from the overemphasis on the letter of the law that the Pharisees maintained, but, not away from the essence of what is true and right in and of itself. Abortion, a crime against humanity (there is nothing inherently redeeming or just about it under any circumstances), is unfortunately nothing more than a political tool employed by the right. As Obama has pointed out, eight years with a Republican president have not brought about any reduction in the number of abortions performed in America.

    My frustration comes when I, as an adamantly pro-life person, have to choose between the ideal of supporting the protection of human life and the realization that nearly every other position and tendency coming from the Republican Party is at least inferior to those on the left.

  8. Pingback: “Woe to you, Right Wing Christians, You Hypocrites” « m e a n d e r s

  9. lestro says:

    While we may disagree on particulars, your perspective on these issues is always welcome, mark.

    thanks for commenting.

  10. Mark,

    as always, you provide much to consider. For now, I want to share my perspective on this part of your comment:

    My frustration comes when I, as an adamantly pro-life person, have to choose between the ideal of supporting the protection of human life and the realization that nearly every other position and tendency coming from the Republican Party is at least inferior to those on the left.

    I do not think it is inconsistent to support the Democratic ticket and be pro-life. I actually think the Democratic ticket is far more pro-life than the Republican ticket. The reason I say this is that the Democrats have the track record of supporting economic opportunity, children and families.

    Abortion is too often an economic decision. It is the Democrats that enact economic policies that actually make it far more possible to choose life.

    Without health insurance, without job security, without child care, without economic security, abortions will continue to occur out of economic necessity, whether or not the procedure is illegal. We already know the risks of making abortion illegal from the days when it was outlawed. The risks are far more severe if abortion becomes illegal now, because of the advent of the Internet – there is now a great deal of access to highly dangerous information about how to induce a miscarriage.

    Having an abortion is a devastating choice and one that is not made lightly by the vast majority of people. It is my belief that if people had greater economic opportunity and greater societal support, we would see the numbers of abortions decline.

    It pains me to hear people rail on having “their tax dollars” spent on public benefits such as subsidized housing and subsidized child care, and then advocate for abortions to be made illegal. It horrifies me to see “abstinence only” policies that try to keep teens ignorant about contraception. From my perspective, it is Republican policies that lead to greater numbers of abortions.

    I believe that the ideal of supporting the protection of human life is best manifested in Democratic policies. Abortion, like guns, will not go away by virtue of either being made illegal. I believe that the only way to reduce abortions and gun violence is to work to change the societal circumstances that lead people to make those choices.

    I do not, however, want to give up my right to a safe and legal abortion. I do not want the government attempting to make a personal and private decision for me. I believe that our Constitution gives me the right to keep the government out of my body and allows me the freedom to make a decision in accordance with my own beliefs. However, I see that as a separate discussion from the issue of how to effectively reduce the numbers of abortions.

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