Yes, I know Republican candidates for president are currently feeding “red meat” to the base, a base that consists of evangelical Christians who vote in the primaries come hell or high water. But the rhetoric used recently by Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee is more rancid than red meat. And it’s dangerous.
Jeb Bush is supposedly the more centrist candidate. Yet according to “centrist” Jeb, the federal government under Obama has adopted an “aggressive stance” against religious freedom. The solution for Bush is to revive the “Christian voice,” which he claims isn’t being heard enough in America.
So: to enhance religious freedom in America, we need to amplify the voices of Christians? Excuse me for seeing a slight contradiction here.
Mike Huckabee, of course, is a minister as well as a politician, so he is used to speaking with forked tongue. As he announced his candidacy, Huckabee claimed that Obama had not been active enough against Muslim jihadists. The answer, in his words, was simple:
“As president,” said Huckabee, “I promise you that we will no longer merely try to contain jihadism, we will conquer it!”
Super! The answer to Muslim extremism is a conquering crusade against it, led by a Baptist minister as president!
Did I just slip back 800 years into the past? Well, there’s nothing like a religious crusade to calm the waters of worldwide strife.
Few thinking Americans will be hornswoggled by such rhetorical nonsense (or so I hope). But rhetoric has a way of becoming reality.
Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and all the other “committed” Christians in the Republican Party put me to mind of one of Christ’s teachings in the New Testament:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:5 KJV)
So I have a humble request to make, Republicans: Stop talking about religion on the street corner. Stop boasting about how you’re going to fight your own jihad. Start trying to live a truly moral life. You might start with humility and compassion, both becoming in a true candidate of the people.
And, if you please, stop scaring me.
Update (10:00PM): A reader sent me this image. It’s hilarious — and frightening.