GREED IS GOOD, GREED IS GOD - The Marriage of Religion and Politics in Modern America

America is cooked, in my view. CITIZENS UNITED didn’t pound the final nail. But America’s addiction to pseudo-religiosity did – a derivative of Christianity which drifted far from the teachings of its revered founder, Jesus Christ – coagulating into a national movement more resembling Jonestown  than a community of principled devotees to the pure Gospel.

How does one improve the political climate when the ruling party’s base unflinchingly believes untruths? Furthermore, how can one change a nation populated by a ruling minority which accepts a mythical world over the real one? Climate denial is a symptom of a more lethal strain. Its substance is a form of toxic religion which culminates in slow death.

All wars throughout history are conflicts of belief-systems, not simply monetary. Radical Islam’s attacks on Sydney, Ottawa, and Paris are manifestations of religion gone awry. Terrorists firmly believe they are “God’s chosen” – as do members of the Klan, Brown-shirts, and Branch Davidian. It’s an ugly history.

America’s religious right is not far behind. The election of Barack Obama almost brought them to the brink. Their embedded latent racism blossomed overnight into overt intolerance. Code words and dog-whistles were discarded for blatant verbal attacks reminiscent of Jim Crowe and pre-Civil Rights days. Innocent, unarmed young Black men were gunned down on the streets with impunity. Lies about the President were embraced as truth while truth was butchered daily by FOX – which was cheered by millions of loyal low-information viewers. Indeed, the FOX was guarding the American hen house. But a sizable proportion of the chickens respected FOX more than diligent fellow chickens trying to warn them.

Prosperity Theology replaced compassion for the poor. No longer were the homeless seen as God’s “angels unaware,” but as parasites and enemies of God. At a 2012 national debate Republicans screamed, “Let him die” when the question arose, “How should an uninsured person dying of disease be treated?” The audience was composed primarily of the religious right, by the way.

The beliefs of the religious right have drifted so far from true Christianity, one can honestly say, “Greed is good and greed is God.” “Free enterprise” and unregulated capitalism are placed on a pedestal ordained by God directly. (Surely our economic system is infallible since it works?) Would Jesus himself feel at home in today’s rightwing church?

“What’s destined by God proves it’s the will of God, and therefore what succeeds is sacred and what fails is fated for hell.” The wealthy only arrive at their economic status by divine intervention based on their being “chosen” of God, and those in poverty or substandard existence are only there because of “sin” and disapproval by God. Prosperity Theology is what I call “reverse Christianity” or “antichrist.” The right doesn’t see their wrong, however, and never will. Trickle Down Economics has its root in the religious counterpart aforementioned.

How one views God is how one sees man. An individual’s concept of “God” determines how one treats others. The same principle applies for a culture, nation or movement. If one envisions a vengeful, wrathful superior being, wrath and retribution are levied against “others” outside the “chosen.” The religion justifies prejudice with all its ugly manifestations: verbal abuse, theft, terrorism, deceit, murder of innocent Blacks, injustice, violence, and the ultimate – “final solution.”  Religion was the foundation for Nazism which gave birth to Holocaust. Islamic terrorism around the world is based on a misconception of God. Believing wrong causes one to do wrong.

There is another law of human nature oft overlooked – which coincides with Voltaire’s cardinal truth: “People who believe absurdities will soon commit atrocities.”

It is a massive cult gripping America spinning it to hell. The current gridlock and malfunction have roots in right religion. Remove the religious right’s powerful influence over America, a measure of sanity would return. Imagine a world without religion, as found in John Lennon’s lyrics:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one


America’s religious right loathes the concept of a Jesus who speaks of humility, meekness, generosity, compassion and sacrifice. Somehow these virtues de-masculinize the Messiah. And Republicans loathe a feminized Jesus, because humble characteristics are feminine, in their view, and feminine equals weakness. Only the strong leader is respected. How ripe they are for tyranny, but they refuse to believe it.

Nazis had the same distorted reasoning. The Jesus of the Gospels didn’t fit their ideology. So they were compelled to mold “God” into their own image by revising the Holy Bible in 1938, approved by the Fuhrer and his appointed Reichbishop, Ludwig Muller. As one would expect, the Nazi version was loaded with anti-Semitic passages – the Third Reich’s Version of the Holy Bible which was carried hand-in-hand with their other sacred document, Mein Kampf.

Republicans worship a Nazi Jesus, not the Christ of the Bible. Somewhat like radical Islam’s view of Allah, they picture a Jesus bearing a sword riding a white horse to slay millions of unbelievers. Revelation is where they lay claim to the view, but the core Gospels’ depiction must be discarded in order to arrive. A judgmental “God” justifies a condemnatory following. Thus, it’s condoned to hate and kill gays, young Blacks, Muslims, aliens, liberals, and all others not of their belief-system. It’s only logical to portray Barack Obama as the Antichrist or his immediate predecessor – as they imagine, and anyone who disagrees must be of the devil himself/herself. (I’ve been unfriended several times on Facebook by old church friends who actually believe this.)

Jesus’ Number One principle must be suspended in order for them to condone bigotry: “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love others as you do yourself.”

But in their view, this cardinal command must be set aside for the End Times prophecies to be completed – when a wrathful, vengeful “God” re-appears to annihilate billions. This eschatological element is what drives America’s religious right to insanity and what is driving America off the cliff – since the religious right is such a significant segment of society. The culture war is here and now and has its roots in religion – albeit counter to Jesus’ teachings.

America’s religious right needs to return to its “first love.”