Far be it for me to praise Bob Corker for much of anything, but when he was asked about the current state of the Republican Party and responded, “It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?” I had to give him props. That is exactly what it looks like. The one thing it doesn’t look like?
People like Jeff Sessions and the leadership of most of the Republican Party, for that matter, have been cynically using the New Testament as a cudgel, attempting to rationalize acts that can only be seen as barbaric, and citing non-existent Biblical law as a rationale for taking away the rights of others.
This past week, the phony “born again Christian” Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, the current and unfortunate Attorney General in the Trump regime, justified the recently-employed practice of ripping children away from their parents when the parents present themselves at the border for asylum. He actually did this by citing the New Testament. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. I am not going to apologize for carrying out our laws.”
Of course, as evangelicals are wont to do far too often, they cite Paul, and stay away from the words of Jesus. Of course, he also got it wrong, given that the same quote could be used to justify actions taken by Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini, or even Kim Jong Un. In other words, Romans 13 says we should all “submit to authorities” because Paul assumed that such authorities were agents of righteousness and of God’s law. In other words, Sessions is suggesting that HE is righteous and no one should question HIS decision to cite a basically non-existent law to treat children in ways that are truly un-American. There is nothing in Christ’s words that could be used to justify ripping terrified children away from their parents, even if a law existed telling you it has to be done.
This is what makes Corker’s statement about the cult-like nature of the current Republican Party so poignant. The people who support this kind of shit are in no way mainstream “Christians.” Those so-called “evangelicals” who treat Trump as one of their own, to the point that they have been able to overlook things that would bother them if anyone but Trump had committed them. The admission of sexual assault, the constant insults of good people, like John McCain, who don’t agree with him, and the sex with Stormy Daniels while his wife was nursing his child, for example.
That behavior has no basis in religion; it’s more cultlike.
Of course, even the evangelical Trump cultists have spoken out against the latest Trump assault on decency, which means even cultists have a limit. The Southern Baptist Convention and the National Association of Evangelicals have spoken out against the Sessions “zero-tolerance” policy and have called on the Trumpers to use more discretion.
That said, Trump, the head of the cult, continues to support the policy, and to blame it all on some ridiculous, non-existent “law” and passed by Democrats. On Twitter over the last few days, a number of Trump cultists have tried to cite a law passed in 1996 as “proof” such a law, requiring children to be removed from their parents’ custody at the border, exists. In addition to the problem that no such passage can be found in the law, there are other problems.
In 1996, Congress was being run by Republicans, not Democrats. One Trumper asked me pointedly, “but who would have signed the law?” Well, it would have been President Bill Clinton, of course, but he would have signed a Republican written and passed law. Then, there is the fact that the law was passed 1996 and, even if the law contained such a passage, for 22 years, ICE did NOT rip children away from families. So, why does Sessions now feel compelled to take a “zero-tolerance” approach to a law previous administrations from both parties managed to ignore?
This should surprise no one, really. The Republican Party has been actively eviscerating programs designed to help the poor meet their basic needs. Meanwhile, every time they take charge, they institute huge tax cuts, which guarantee the government doesn’t have the money to pay for anything, thus rationalizing their screwing of the poor.
They call themselves Christians, but the Jesus Christ they claim to follow said the following:
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ – Matthew 25:34-36
He said also to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’ – Luke 14:12-14
Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.’ – Luke 12: 16-21
I could go on, but this isn’t a Bible Study. I’ll leave it to the people who disagree with me to come up with quotes from Jesus or the Bible that rationalize tearing children away from their parents. Republicans are doing nothing to stop this, either, which puts the lie to the idea that the Trump/Republican cult seems unwilling to follow him off a cliff, or they plan to share the Kool-Aid or whatever metaphor you wish to adopt.
And again; the GOP was cult-like long before Donny came along. They have been using the Bible and their fake “Christianity” as a way to shield themselves from criticism for the many decidedly un-Christian things they have done over the years. In addition to looking the other way while Trump tried to ban people from the country based on their status as followers of Islam and their praise of his actions in Puerto Rico, which went beyond merely abysmal and could eventually be seen as criminal, they also have actively ignored his corrupt violations of the Emoluments Clause and allowed him to use the Treasury as his own personal piggy bank when he takes his long vacations at his own properties. If you can find a justification for stealing money from the people in any Christian doctrine, that’s another one you can cite for me.
It’s time we stopped calling people Christian just because they self-describe as such. Actions speak louder than words. You can call yourself anything you want, but if your actions are the opposite of your claimed doctrine, expect the rest of us to call you out on it.
By the way, getting back to Sessions’ quote from Paul, “enforcing the law” would also include enforcing the separation between church and state. Let’s start with that.
Also published on Medium.