Friday, October 11, 2013

Another God?

I was listening to El Rushbo the other day, as I am wont to do from time to time, and he lit into a rant that I found absolutely fascinating.  Conservatism, he said, is not a philosophy.  It is not a set of policies.  It is a way of life.  It is a way of life, he said, based on values, history, and tradition.

Sounds a whole lot like religion, I said to myself.

And then what I was hearing struck me:  Rush Limbaugh was -- whether he was fully aware of what he was doing or not -- was saying that conservatism is the conservative's religion.  It is the conservative's way of life.  It is evident in what they choose to do and what they choose not to do.  It guides their thinking.  It provides direction.  Some of this, to be clear, Rush did not say in so many words.  But it certainly seems to me that all this is a logical inference from what he did say.

And if, it seems to me, that what he said is true -- that conservatism is not merely a set of policies but is, instead, a way of life -- then it seems clear that conservative's claims to be Christian are demonstrably false.  After all, the first commandment -- the very first of the ten conservatives claim to hold sacrosanct -- is "thou shall have no other gods before me."

Christianity was, in its formative years, known simply as The Way.  It is to this day not a mere philosophy, not a set of policies, but a way of life that is based on values, history, and tradition.  Yet if Limbaugh is right, these so-called "Conservative Christians" have set another god before God -- conservatism.

Maybe this is why it's so infernally difficult to understand how people who claim to revere Jesus and the Bible can behave in ways so contrary to the message of both.

Pax tecum,

RevWik Print this post


Pete said...


Joel Monka said...

Both you and Jon Stewart seem to not understand the basic tenets of either Conservatism or Christianity as conservatives understand them. You and he seem to believe that charity begins and ends with the government; they believe that charity is the duty of the individual- they'll point out that the Good Samaritan helped the man in need out of his own pocket; he did not organize a campaign to fax your congressman about public healthcare. Jesus never said to petition Caesar to establish imperial clinics.

And, to be fair to those conservative Christians (which Jon has no interest in being) they DO give in large amounts- much larger, by all accounts, than do liberals; many studies have confirmed it. I discuss it in larger detail here:

RevWik said...

Joel . . . sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I thank you for your clarification of how conservatives think, but I believe you've misunderstood me. I don't think, and have never said, that "charity begins and ends with the government." But I certainly think it has a role to play. And my critique of conservative Christians is not that they think individuals are responsible for charity. I agree with that. Yet I don't understand how they can claim that the government should operate under Christian principles and values and also claim that it should have no role in helping build a stronger, more whole, more healthy community. That makes no sense to me. I think of the earliest Christians who, according to the Book of Acts, pooled their resources and from that collective pool provided for the needs of each member. They didn't have the wealthiest help out the poorest -- at least not directly and not individually. Their brought their resources together in common for their common good. How else can we -- as the supposedly "Christian nation" conservative Christians claim we are and should be -- how else can we bring our country's resources together in common for the common good than through our national government? THAT is what I don't understand.