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Remembering the Aftermath of the 2012 Election: A Time for Christian Self Reflection

The Religious Right on Wednesday Morning

I wrote on a number of occasions before the election that my hope was the no matter who won this election that somehow we would be able as Americans to come together for the benefit of the country.

What really amazes me in the aftermath is the the fact that people that are not religious, especially those that do not identify themselves as members of the Christian Right, regardless of their who they supported for the Presidency are far more civil and reflective than religious people. Especially conservative Christians.

Actually what amazes me is not that right wing religious leaders have reacted in this manner. I expected it. But I was amazed in just how right that I was right in knowing that they would react in the way that they did to the defeat of Mitt Romney. A man that before he was nominated by the GOP was despised by most of the religious right. Mitt was a Mormon, a religious cult member and even worse than that a Massachusetts moderate. But he won the nomination in spite of their often strident opposition.

So now leaders of the religious right are apoplectic at have committed their entire credibility to support a candidate that lost an election that was not possible to lose. So instead of looking at themselves, their actions, words and attitudes that were a part of the defeat of their candidate in an election that most figured was impossible for a Republican to lose the point fingers of blame elsewhere.

It was the candidate’s fault…

It was Chris Christie’s fault…

It was Hurricane Sandy’s fault… but then if it was Sandy’s fault, and hurricanes are “acts of God” doesn’t it mean that Obama’s re-election and Mitt’s defeat was God’s will?

It was Obama suppressing the vote, except that the only people working to suppress the vote were Republican operatives, elected officials and strategists…

But to tell the truth it is their own fault. They forced Governor Romney to have to adopt their most extreme social positions to get their support, positions that he had never stridently held and in fact as a governor did not endorse. They helped put people on the ballot who simply were to be kind are best described “stupid, hateful and ignorant” of theology, history, government and economics, not to mention medicine, science, philosophy, sociology, economics and any other academic discipline.

So when I watched the men who helped send the Republican party to its doom in the 2012 election, men like James Robison, Pat Robertson, Mike Huckabee, Bryan Fischer, Gary Bauer, Buster Wilson, Tony Perkins, Eric Rush, Franklin Graham, Glenn Beck and a host of others point fingers of blame everywhere besides themselves I was not surprised. The fact that these men, and some women as well cannot see that their heavily publicized and funded positions helped destroy their candidate and party, but also have harmed the church for at least the next generation was not surprising.

The fact that rather than work with those that do not agree with them they would rather have the world judged by their version of God is telling. They are like the Taliban, except they do not get to wear the loose fitting comfortable clothes but are stuck with Armani suits and power ties.

So when I woke up on Wednesday morning after the election and over the next couple of days shut my trap and listened, I realized that the leaders of the religious right have no capability to think critically or have any sense of personal self reflection. They cannot even imagine that they might actually be at fault for their sorry predicament. They would have been great in the Bunker with Hitler, who when confronted with facts that said they they were losing the war and that it was their fault, blamed others and sought scapegoats. They could not believe that they lost and even in losing could not own up to their part.

It was embarrassing to watch because at one time I would have been one of them. It as embarrassing because as I looked and listened to the reactions of “conservative” religious leaders I realized that they were convinced of their own rightness as were those that opposed Jesus.

I had someone ask me if I was “happy” about the election. Their comments were quite sarcastic and bitter. Actually while I am somewhat pleased about the outcome, I am not happy about it because I live in the reality that no-matter which candidate “won” the election” that they need the support of all of us if we as a country and people to navigate the great challenges ahead and I don’t know if it will happen.

What concerns me as a Christian is that the better examples of attempting to find ways to bring the country together and get through the certainly difficult days ahead where people who were not Evangelicals or other religious conservatives.

The lack of understanding of “Christian” leaders about their own responsibility in this fiasco is had to understand unless you understand that most of them sold their souls for political and temporal power long ago. For years I followed their utterances and recited them verbatim. But that was before I went to Iraq and found out that they had been lying for years and I had chosen to ignore the evidence.

Hopefully responsible Christians and Christian leaders will take some time to reflect on their own responsibility for this mess rather than to continue to double down on the dumb-down that has discredited them.

But then I still believe that God still cares about everyone and that God cannot and will not be held hostage by any religious leader, denomination or community. Somehow the fact that the early church grew and thrived in a hedonistic, materialistic and hostile world shows me that this is certainly true. They had no power, had no wealth and were persecuted in ways that we as 21st Century Americans or Western Europeans will never comprehend.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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