While observing the GOP debates, something struck me with the policies of Santorum, Gingrich, Romney, and to a lesser extent Paul. They were posed the question by Wolf Blitzer on CNN, “How would your religion affect your decisions as president?” The first three answered almost unanimously, that their religion creates their character and integrity, and blah, blah, blah. Paul was the only one who distinguished himself by stating that his religious beliefs would have no effect on the decisions he’d make. But there is still an unspoken answer here, religious has already influenced their decision-making process. In fact, it’s so integrated into their mindset that they can’t even see it.
All of the GOP contenders are so ingrained in their religious beliefs that it has corrupted their thinking processes and their decision-making abilities. All four of them unconsciously approach government policies in a Christian fashion, one of rewards and punishments.
Santorum and Romney treat abortion as an evil behavior, punishing pregnant mothers, dooming them to carry their child to birth, without regards to the mother’s rights or circumstances. To them, the pregnant mother is the evil which must be disregarded in order to protect the innocent unborn child. Santorum’s answer for mothers who became pregnant due to rape or incest is simply to punish the mother with “God’s gift”.
Gingrich and Romney employ both a reward and punishment system, where those states and candidates who support their candidacies would be rewarded with lavish tax deductions and pet state projects and those who oppose or challenge them will be left without.
Paul may be the most extreme of them all in regards to ignorance of his reward/punishment policies. In Paul’s religious beliefs, everyone is an individual who will be rewarded for productivity and punished for non-productivity. Those citizens who are not able to support themselves, pay for their own health care, find work, or are too sick or old to maintain a 60 hour work week are left for charity. The mentality of this can be expressed as, “those who are not able to support themselves for any reason must rely upon the charity of others for mere survival. Medicare and Social Security may be best summed up as begging.”
So to ask them how their religious views affect their decision-making process is a misleading question. The real question is how deeply has their religion affected their thinking processes? And, do fish realize their environment is wet?
It would be more important to ask the question, how does your religious beliefs affect your interpretation of the First Amendment? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
All four of the GOP contenders hold the false belief that America was founded as a Christian Nation, and as Christians they are taught to be respectful of other religions (unless we are talking about Muslims or those who attend gospel churches in poor communities). Gingrich has already claimed there is a war on Christianity, so he would extend the free exercise of the Christian religion in order to squash out other “heathen” or “pagan” beliefs. Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich have already attempted to squash the freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble to petition the government to redress grievances of members of the OWS or 99% movement (“Corporations are people, my friend!”; “Get a bath, haircut, and a job!”).
The problem with reward/punishment systems is that they only the behavior of the majority and they punish those who disagree with them. This system rests squarely on the Good/Evil paradigm. For an example of this in action today, we need to look no further than today’s news in Florida. As private prisons enrich lawmakers, Florida legislature pushes massive prison privatization plan.
Remember that conservatives have already painted anyone on unemployment, Medicare, food stamps, or frankly any government assistance as “Welfare Queens”, driving around in Cadillacs, sucking up the resources they worked hard to produce. So those lawmakers who agree with their Christian view are rewarded with riches, as those who do not fit into their neatly knit paradigm of good and evil are subjected to punishment.
In fact, this mentality has been so deeply infused with Christian lawmakers that they write two separate laws: one for them, and one for the rest of us. This is demonstrated in the GOP’s approach to the Occupy Wall Street movement as opposed to the Tea Party Movement. Both demonstrations were assemblies to redress grievances. While the “Christian” led Tea Party, who toted firearms and posters promoting a violent 2nd Amendment upheaval were granted their 1st Amendment Rights without question, the unarmed non-demonimational Occupy Wall Street movement was met with violence, intimidation, and ridicule. This is a prime example of Dominion power, one where the Christian beliefs are heralded and the non-exclusive Christian beliefs are oppressed.
So what I’ve learned from observing the GOP debates is simply the embodiment of the sentiment, “you are either with us, or your against us” has evolved into something quite disgusting and revolting. A Christian Dominionism has cast a shadow over our country, one where they are portraying themselves as the victim of a Holy war, one of which they have waged upon the rest of the world. And yet, the fish don’t even realize their environment is wet.