When Fascism Was American

Antisemitic Christian Mobilizers in New York in 1939.
Antisemitic Christian Mobilizers in New York in 1939.

Source: Portside

Author:Joe Allen/Jacobian

Emphasis Mine

(N.B.: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  George Santayana, The Life of Reason.)

The US hasn’t seen the stirrings of fascist mobilization since the late 1930s when mounting fascist victories in Europe galvanized its adherents in America, chief among them Father Charles Coughlin and his Christian Front. This history has something to offer us today.
Joe Allen

The open racism and xenophobia that have characterized Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and perhaps provided much of its appeal, has been alarming. For a growing number of people, Trump’s rhetoric is a sign of something deeper and more frightening: the growth of a fascist movement in the United States.

Ohio governor John Kasich — one of Trump’s many rivals for the Republican nomination — produced an anti-Trump video that paraphrases Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s warning about the Nazis.

For many other commentators, as well, the violence Trump supporters have directed at critics during campaign rallies, along with the candidate’s call for banning Muslims from the United States, are further confirmation that Trump is a Nazi. In the last Democratic presidential debate, former Maryland governor and presidential candidate Martin O’Malley denounced Trump as a “fascist demagogue.”

Yet, on too many of these occasions, the fascist label has been reduced to a vague term of abuse rather than a bridge to a real political analysis of the underlying political forces that could produce a fascist movement in the United States.

The US hasn’t seen the stirrings of fascist mobilization since the late 1930s when mounting fascist victories in Europe galvanized its adherents in America, chief among them Father Charles Coughlin and his Christian Front. This history has something to offer us today.

Our Father

By late 1938, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy had shifted the balance of forces among the world’s major powers, while fascist general Francisco Franco wrestled most of Spain from republican forces. The growing power of fascism was increasingly impacting civilian populations, particularly in Germany. According to historian Warren Grover:

That year [1938] Germany demonstrated to the world that it would move with impunity in Europe and violate Jews’ most basic rights: Jewish community organizations lost their official status and recognition (March); the registration of all Jewish property became compulsory (April); over 1,500 German Jews were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps (June); Jewish physicians could no longer treat Christians (June); Nazis ordered the destruction of the Great Synagogue in Munich (July); All Jewish men were required to add “Israel” to their name and all Jewish women “Sarah” (August); Jews were barred from practicing law (September); German-Jewish passports were marked with the letter “J” for Jude (October); and finally Kristallnacht (November).

In the United States, the public and the press were virtually unanimous in condemning Kristallnacht, with one poll reporting that nearly 94 percent of Americans disapproved of Germany’s treatment of Jews.

Yet despite Nazism’s unpopularity, one voice took to the airwaves to defend these actions — Father Charles E. Coughlin, a Catholic priest based in Royal Oak, Michigan. Coughlin was a popular radio personality with an audience of millions, largely concentrated in the northeastern United States, and in New York City in particular.

In a highly anticipated broadcast that took place eleven days after Kristallnacht, Coughlin began by posing three questions: “Why is there persecution in Germany today?”; “How can we destroy it?”; and why is “Nazism so hostile to Jewry?”

Coughlin presented a simple answer: Nazism was a “defense mechanism against Communism,” and that the “rising generation of Germans regard Communism as a product not of Russia, but of a group of Jews who dominated the destinies of Russia.”

In the broadcast Coughlin minimized the Nazi “fine” of $400 million on Germany’s Jewish community with the claim that “between these same years not $400 million but $40 billion . . . of Christian property was appropriated by the Lenins and Trotskys . . . by the atheistic Jews and Gentiles” and accused the New York investment bank Kuhn Loeb & Company with helping to finance the Russian revolution and other Communist plots.

Coughlin’s unapologetic Nazi propaganda inspired swift backlash. WMCA, the New York radio station that provided his largest audience, demanded to see his scripts in advance of any future broadcasts, and cancelled his program after he refused. Coughlin later admitted that he used “Nazi sources” in his broadcast.

Following the broadcast the New York Times’ Berlin correspondent reported that Coughlin had become “the new hero of Nazi Germany.” But Coughlin wasn’t only a hero in Berlin; thousands of American supporters responded enthusiastically to his calls for militant action against “atheistic communism.”

Coughlin began broadcasting from his Michigan church, “The Shrine of the Little Flower,” in 1926, when radio represented a novel, thrilling experience for millions of people. With his rich baritone voice, and slight Irish brogue which he employed for great theatrical effect, Coughlin was made for the new medium.

The 1929 Wall Street crash and the ensuing depression impoverished large parts of Coughlin’s working- and lower-middle-class audience. In the wake of the crisis his broadcasts changed from religious sermonizing to political commentary that began with violent attacks on communism. According to historian Alan Brinkley,

[Coughlin] continued to dwell upon his abhorrence of communism, socialism, and “kindred fallacious social and economic theories,” but [his broadcasts] also emphasized other concerns: Coughlin’s fear that the selfish practices of “predatory capitalism” would drive Americans to embrace these pernicious doctrines.

As Coughlin attacked the “banksters” he blamed for the Great Depression, his audience grew massive. By 1933, the network of radio stations that carried his broadcasts reached a potential listenership of forty million.

In November 1934, Coughlin announced that he would organize his followers into a new political organization, the National Union for Social Justice. He denied that it was a third party even though it bore the hallmarks of every traditional American political party, and was organized by congressional districts. Coughlin waited for the right issue to flex the muscles of his new formation and got it in January 1935 when Roosevelt proposed that the United States affiliate to the World Court. – See more at: http://portside.org/2016-01-02/when-fascism-was-american#sthash.ShNLQb0I.dpuf


He denied that it was a third party even though it bore the hallmarks of every traditional American political party, and was organized by congressional districts. Coughlin waited for the right issue to flex the muscles of his new formation and got it in January 1935 when Roosevelt proposed that the United States affiliate to the World Court.

No president since Woodrow Wilson — for fear of provoking an isolationist backlash — had proposed the US make itself accountable to an international institution. A largely symbolic act, it initially appeared that Roosevelt would win the Senate majority needed to ratify the treaty for affiliation.

Coughlin mobilized his forces along with other World Court opponents, including the mighty newspaper chain of arch-reactionary William Randolph Hearst. They overwhelmed Washington with hundreds of telegrams over one crucial weekend and defeated the treaty. A jubilant Coughlin declared that he intended to slay greater dragons. “Our next goal is to clean out the international bankers.”

The phrase “international bankers” was a euphamism for Jews and was widely used in those years by numerous public figures including auto magnate (and fellow Michigander) Henry Ford, who bankrolled the distribution of antisemitic propaganda through his newspaper the Dearborn Independent.

Coughlin made the leap from antisemitism to open fascism after his political ambitions were crushed in the 1936 election. Coughlin had merged his National Union of Social Justice with the remnants of the late Huey Long’s Share Our Wealth clubs, led by the antisemitic preacher Gerald L.K. Smith, and old-age pension activist Francis Townsend, in order to mount a third-party challenge to Roosevelt.

The Union Party nominated North Dakota congressman William Lemke for president. Roosevelt, however, had shifted dramatically to the left during the course of 1935. In the face of failing New Deal policies and a huge upsurge in labor struggle, the president signed into law historic legislation including the Social Security Act and the National Labor Relations Act, the popularity of which undercut any electoral challenge.

As Lemke’s campaign faltered, Coughlin grew increasingly agitated and vitriolic. “When an upstart dictator in the United States succeeds in making this a one-party form of government, then the ballot is useless,” he asserted to an audience of twenty-five thousand supporters in Providence, Rhode Island. Coughlin declared: “I shall have the courage to stand up and advocate the use of bullets” and promised “more bullet holes in the White House than you could count with an adding machine.”

Winning less than nine hundred thousand votes across the country, Lemke went down in crushing defeat while Roosevelt secured one of the biggest presidential landslides in US history. With the election over, Coughlin announced that he would retire from the airwaves. Despondent, he confided to a reporter, “Democracy is doomed. This is our last election . . . It is fascism or communism. We are at a crossroads.”

“What road do you take, Father Coughlin?” the reporter asked.

“I take the road of fascism,” the priest replied.

The Christian Front

In the estimation of biographer Donald Warren, “it would not be until 1938 that [Coughlin] truly was able to recover from defeat.” To an audience diminished but still numbering in the millions, he retook the airwaves emboldened by troubles for Roosevelt at home and the victories of fascism abroad. The short-lived economic recovery of the president’s first term had been wiped out by a dramatic downturn.

The “Roosevelt recession” brought mass unemployment and the forward march of the militant CIO was halted as factories and shipyards closed or laid off much of their workforces. Roosevelt’s bungled effort to pack the Supreme Court with his allies provided Dixiecrats and Republicans cover to sabotage and roll back the New Deal. Meanwhile in Europe, fascism advanced.

Starting in 1936, Coughlin augmented his radio presence with the newspaper Social Justice, sold on the streets of major cities especially in the Midwest and Northeast. As Warren notes, “throughout 1937 and into early 1938, Jewish financial control became a regular theme of Social Justice . . . [Coughlin] printed his own version of the very centerpiece of antisemitic literature at the time, the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Coughlin also attempted to make an alliance with Mussolini, offering the Italian dictator space in Social Justice to defend the racial policies of his government. (He got no reply.) In addition to their fascination with Mussolini, Coughlin and Social Justice were fixated on the Spanish Civil War and General Francisco Franco’s martial aura. They portrayed Franco as a hero defending “Christian civilization” from marauding communists.

The paper published lurid and false stories of Christians massacred by Republican forces, and baited American Jews for supporting the antifascist cause. Six months before Kristallnacht, he told his radio audience:

If every reader of Social Justice formed at once a platoon of 25 or more persons dedicated to opposing Communism in all its forms, a Christian Front of 25,000,000 Americans would already be in action.

Coughlin claimed he was inspired to call for a “Christian Front” by the Communist Party’s support for a Popular Front against fascism, but the call also evoked the “front line” of a war and his use of “platoon” left little room for interpretation. “Rest assured,” he threatened his left-wing enemies in a later radio address, “we will fight you in Franco’s way, if necessary . . . rest assured we will fight you and we will win.”

Following Kristallnacht and the public reaction to Coughlin’s commentary on Nazism, WMCA cancelled his broadcasts. In response, according to Donald Flamm, the owner of the Manhattan station, “several thousand people encircled the block where our studios are located, denounced the WMCA as un-American, and shouted its slogan of ‘Don’t buy from Jews,’ ‘Down with Jews,’ etc.” A memorandum of the American Jewish Council recorded “remarks uttered by the picketers . . . more explicit than the legends on the signs”:

Send refugees to Russia where they can be appreciated!

This is a Christian country. Who isn’t Christian throw them out!

Wait until Hitler comes over here.

Down with Jewish war-mongers.

Heil Hitler!

Determined to punish WMCA, the Christian Fronters demonstrated outside the station weekend after weekend. In an autobiography written two decades later, Wechsler recalled,

The Christian Front hysteria reached its peak in midsummer [1939]. There was a genuine fear that a fascist movement had finally taken root in New York, and that its counterpoint was developing in other areas under the stimulus of Coughlin’s weekly sermons.

The journalist estimated that the Christian Front held thirty rallies a week throughout all of the city’s boroughs, and attracted crowds as large as two thousand supporters. Jewish storeowners in Brooklyn and the Bronx faced regular Christian Front pickets.

Gene Fein, a historian of Christian Front, notes that a typical street meeting began with the proclamation, “For Christ and Country, I open this meeting in the name of the Christian Front! The leader of the Christian Front is Jesus Christ.” Queens Christian Front leader Daniel Kurz held regular public meetings in which he would address crowds with a paranoid mix of anticommunism, antisemitism, and xenophobia.

According to Fein, Kurz denounced the Russian revolution as a plot by Jews that slaughtered “thirty million Christians,” and proclaimed an immediate mortal danger posed by Trotsky in Mexico, where he said the Russian revolutionary was building a secret army, ready to join American comrades and launch a communist revolution while the military was tied up in Europe.

The Christian Front also issued a “Christian index” listing preferred shopkeepers and stores, and street sales of Social Justice by Christian Front members provided an easy excuse to provoke fights or heckle anyone who “looked Jewish.”

The heavily Irish New York Police Department and judiciary provided a supportive backdrop, going easy on Christian Fronters while leaning hard on antifascists. A rally of the Transport Workers Union — led by Mike Quill, the most high profile Irish Communist union official in New York — was attacked and nearly broken up by rightist mobs.

In August 1939, the hysteria spurred by fascist violence in New York reached its height as the Christian Mobilizers, an even more violent splinter of the Christian Front, took to the streets. Harper’s journalist Dale Kramer reported that New York police recorded the Mobilizers holding fifty meetings a week in that month alone, drawing a total audience of more than twenty thousand.

Not to be outdone, the Christian Front called for an August 19 “Manifestation of Christianity” — a march from Columbus Circle to Union Square, well-known as the home of the Communist Party’s national headquarters and many of the city’s most prominent unions. “I was convinced that the so-called parade,” reported John Roy Carlson, who gained fame with his exposé Under Cover: My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld of America, “would serve as the pretext for another bloody riot.”

Coughlin diassociated himself from the demonstration only after intense political pressure was brought to bear from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and Mayor La Guardia’s office.

Despite spectacular street violence and the Christian Front’s remarkable degree of organization, observers were divided on the meaning of the growing movement. James Wechsler cautioned at the time that “a picture of sustained terrorism blanketing the city would be a wrong one,” and that “the Coughlin movement is still a ‘fringe’ affair; whatever mass sympathy it has evoked is of a passive sort, largely confined to the Catholic Church.”

For a variety of reasons, including the signing of the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the growing threat of a European-wide war, the fascist threat began to subside after the terrible summer of 1939. But the period provides a vivid image of how a powerful, organized fascist movement could emerge in the United States.

Past and Present

There is much to distinguish Coughlin’s United States from Donald Trump’s today. The country is substantively more diverse than it was seventy-five years ago and the traumatic memory of the Holocaust still renders the open embrace of fascism a ticket to the margins of society.

Nevertheless, three decades of inequality and austerity have impoverished large sections of the American working class — along with declining US political prestige, bloody military adventures, and pervasive outrage at corruption in mainstream politics — have made a growing number of Americans more receptive to xenophobic and racist appeals that give voice to the powerlessness they feel in the face of hardship.

Trump has tapped into this anger and sense of powerlessness brilliantly. But is Trump a fascist whose real politics are being revealed drip by drip? Perhaps. His incendiary speeches have certainly drawn comparisons with infamous demagogues of the American past, including Coughlin. But more pressing than the question of which ideological label most precisely applies to Trump is the larger political force he heralds.

Many liberals and Democratic Party strategists are overjoyed at the light in which Trump’s popularity has cast Republican presidential ambitions, and media speculation has focused heavily on his personal beliefs.

The Left should avoid this lazy politics and focus both on the economic and political conditions that have created a massive and growing constituency that enthusiastically supports Trump’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic worldview, and the potential emergence of a strong far-right movement independent of Trump. “We have been awakened,” a far-right activist recently told New Yorker journalist Evan Osnos.

The past shows that the US is not immune to fascism. We must take the current far-right upsurge seriously and use every tool at our disposal to destroy it.

Joe Allen’s latest book is People Wasn’t Made to Burn: A True Story of Race, Murder, and Justice in Chicago.

Jacobin relies on your generous support and subscriptions to keep publishing.

see:http://portside.org/2016-01-02/when-fascism-was-american

These religious clowns should scare you: GOP candidates’ gullible, lunatic faith is a massive character flaw

Their deluded debate answers removed any remaining doubt: These kooks belong nowhere near the White House

caption not required...
caption not required…

Source: salon.com

author: jeffrey tayler

emphasis mine

One of the most serious problems with religious faith is that it can afflict an otherwise intelligent person and incite her to utter arrant inanities with the gravitas of an old-time, Walter-Cronkite-style television newscaster. This problem is doubly striking when that intelligent person is herself a newscaster (of sorts). And triply striking when that newscaster (of sorts) is Megyn Kelly, the Fox News star who looks sane amid a roster of crazies headed by the faith-addled duo of Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Kelly is purportedly a Roman Catholic, but judging by her racy photos, divorce, and remarriage outside the church, the Pope and his bull(s) don’t play much of a role in her life. All of which is good, in my view.

Nonetheless, as the recent Fox News Republican presidential debates were coming to an end, Kelly decided to extract a (patently ridiculous) religion-related question from her channel’s Facebook feed and give it air time. Prefacing it by calling it “interesting,” she put the query to the politicians assembled on stage directly and in all seriousness: “Chase Norton on Facebook . . . wants to know this of the candidates: ‘I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first.’” She paused. With just a hint of insouciance, and in one of the most understated segues I’ve ever witnessed, she then asked, “Senator Cruz, start from you. Any word from God?”

Now let’s pause and consider the situation. Kelly is a political science graduate from a major Northeastern university, an attorney by trade with some 10 years of practice behind her, and a citizen of one the planet’s most developed countries. Speaking on satellite television (a technological wonder, whether we still recognize it or not, and no matter what we think of Fox News) in the twenty-first century, this sharp, degree-bearing professional American has just asked, with a straight face, a senator (who happens himself to be a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law) if he is receiving messages from a supernatural being. Yet no one in the audience broke into guffaws or even chuckled. And, of course, no one cried out with irate incredulity at the ludicrousness of the supposition implicit in the question (that an imaginary heavenly ogre could possibly be beaming instructions down to one of his earthling subjects). But since the supernatural being in question goes by the name of “God,” in the clown show that was the Republican debate, everyoneaudience, MC, and the clowns themselves – simultaneously took leave of their senses and judged the matter at hand legit.

In any event, the question gave Cruz the chance to display his bona fides as a faith-deranged poseur. He told us, to waves of applause, that he was “blessed to receive a word from God every day in receiving the scriptures and reading the scriptures. And God speaks through the Bible.” He reminded us that his truant, once-alcoholic father had found Jesus and returned to the family; that he supports the sickening array of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts now pullulating pestilentially across the land; and that he’s against Planned Parenthood. Nothing new or even interesting here. Referring to conservatives, he noted that “the scripture tells us, ‘you shall know them by their fruit.’” Well, we know Cruz’s fruit, and it is poison to the cause of Enlightenment.

Kelly then turned to John Kasich, who, punctuating his speech with a strange mix of karate chops, head wobbles, and thumb-wags, brought up his family’s immigrant background and implied his election as Ohio’s governor was a miracle, but, oddly, did so without really implicating the Lord in it. He rambled on (godlessly) about the need for unity and respect, giving us reason to think – and this is a good thing – that he considered the issue of religion too divisive to dilate upon. He finally, though, did answer Kelly’s question: “In terms of the things that I’ve read in my lifetime, the Lord is not picking us. But because of how we respect human rights, because that we are a good force in the world, He wants America to be strong. He wants America to succeed.” This bland verbiage prefaced his closing non sequitur: “Nothing is more important to me than my family, my faith, and my friends.”

Given that he is a biblical literalist and believes he is destined for heaven, why Kasich chose to pass up the chance to spout piety is a mystery.  However, he (grudgingly) recognized the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage; quite possibly, he is content with leaving faith out of public affairs.  Just as the Constitution would have it.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker spoke next. He admitted to being an “imperfect man” and straightaway proved it by claiming to have been redeemed of his sins “only by the blood of Jesus Christ.” Walker’s father is a Baptist preacher, and he himself took to the pulpit as a teen, so such language should hardly surprise us. But before you dismiss it as boilerplate Jesus jabberwocky, consider that it does serve to highlight the bizarre conceit of the Christian cult: that the good Lord could think of no other way to give us a boost a couple of millennia ago except by orchestrating a cruel, ghastly act of human sacrifice involving His own kid. (Some dad.) If nothing else, ghoulish talk of this sort should prompt Fox News post-factum to rate the entire debate NOT SUITABLE FOR MINORS, or, at the very least, VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED.

(And where are all those annoying trigger-warning zealots when you need them? Why don’t they campaign to have the Bible stamped with “TRIGGER WARNING: contains multiple accounts of genocide, warfare, murder, enslavement, sexual abuse of women and underage girls, and ritual human and animal sacrifice”?)

In any case, Walker returned to reality, if only for a brief sojourn, and said the Lord hasn’t vouchsafed him a plan of action, and “hasn’t given me a list, a Ten Commandments, if you will, of things to act on the first day.” He closed saying he planned to live his “life in a way that would be a testimony to [God] and our faith.”

On this latter point journalists may wish to ask Walker to be more specific. Since he had just mentioned a bloody, barbaric, public act of execution and its lasting salvific effect on him, we are well within our rights to demand what sort of form his “testimony” will take. He has two sons. Might he consider offering at least one of them as a participant in one of the Philippines’ horrific real-life reenactments of the crucifixion that occur on Good Friday? Perhaps he would like to take part himself? Will he, if elected president, opt to introduce crucifixion as an approved means of execution? According to the Bible, God visited genocide, warfare, exile, slavery, and rape on humanity, and has drawn up plans to destroy the vast majority of us. Which of these banes would a President Walker chose, as part of his personal faith journey, to impose on his fellow Americans? Or would he limit himself to making merely cosmetic changes, such as replacing the White House’s annual National Security Strategy with the Book of Revelation?

Without responding to the Facebook user’s question about God’s to-do list, Senator Marco Rubio sputtered out permutations of bless (noun, verb, and adjective) in pitchman’s prattle too dull to merit space here, and spoke about the need for reform in the Veterans Administration (which Kelly had asked him to address, from the Lord’s perspective, of course). One might have concluded that he hardly believed in the supernatural at all, yet one would, of course, be erring grievously: he attends the extremist Christ Fellowship in Miami, a hotbed of exorcism, creationism and homophobia.

Kelly last turned to Dr. Ben Carson. Perhaps the most disturbing example of how high intelligence and belief in balderdash myths can jointly inhabit a single mind, Carson, so faith-deranged that he denies evolution and has had himself baptized twice, dodged God entirely and offered a reasonable look into how a neurosurgeon sees the issue of race relations. We can only surmise he felt he had elsewhere spoken enough about God. He gained nothing with his audience by leaving the Lord out, but by doing so he at least offered rationalists a tiny respite from the evening’s madness.

Presidential candidates have the constitutionally protected right to profess the religion of their choice and speak freely about it, just as atheists have the right – and, I would say, the obligation – to hold religion up to the ridicule and derision it so richly deserves. In that regard, nonbelieving journalists in particular should give openly devout candidates no passes on their faith. Religion directly influences public policy and politics itself, befouls the atmosphere of comity needed to hold reasoned discussions and arrive at consensus-based solutions, sows confusion about the origins of mankind and the cosmos, and may yet spark a nuclear war that could bring on a nuclear winter and end life as we know it. I could go on (and on), but the point is, we need to talk more about religion, and far more frankly, and now, before it’s too late.

Discussing religion freely and critically will desacralize it, with the result that the public professions of faith of which our politicians are so enamored will eventually occasion only pity, disgust and cries of shame! or, at best, serve as fodder for comedians. Faith should, in fact, become a “character issue.”

The advances of science have rendered all vestigial belief in the supernatural more than just obsolete. They have shown it to indicate grave character flaws (among them, gullibility, a penchant for wish-thinking and an inability to process information), or, at the very least, an intellectual recklessness we should eschew, especially in men and women being vetted for public office. One who will believe outlandish propositions about reality on the basis of no evidence will believe anything, and is, simply put, not to be trusted.

Come on, rationalist journos, be brave and do your job. Even if Megyn Kelly won’t do hers.

 

Jeffrey Tayler is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. His seventh book, “Topless Jihadis — Inside Femen, the World’s Most Provocative Activist Group,” is out now as an Atlantic ebook. Follow @JeffreyTayler1 on Twitter.

see: http://www.salon.com/2015/08/16/these_religious_clowns_should_scare_you_gop_candidates_gullible_lunatic_faith_is_a_massive_character_flaw/

Crucifixion and Resurrection: The Republican Warping of Christ’s Moral Lessons

Whether or not one believes in a god, Jesus Christ, or the Christian bible is irrelevant to basic humanity and caring for those in need

From: Politics USA

By: Rmuse

“All around the world today, multitudes of Christians are celebrating their opportunity for salvation and everlasting life because of their savior’s sacrifice to benefit all human kind. America is no different, but there are indications that many American Christians cannot bring it upon themselves to sacrifice anything for their fellow Americans in the present and it diminishes Christ’s sacrifice and the alleged altruism inherent in the meaning of Easter. The crucifixion and resurrection story are moral lessons for Christians that the greatest expression of love for fellow humans is sacrificing oneself to benefit all people, but the sentiments being manifest by the religious right and their Republican political leaders is more akin to the sinful greed and hate Christ condemned than his commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the Christian bible, it says that “For god so loved the world that he gave his only son that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  However, the bible also says that belief or faith in Jesus and his sacrifice is not sufficient to earn everlasting life and that a devotee must show their faith in Christ by following his example of having love for all human beings and expressing that love through charity and care for the least among us. In the New Testament, James, the alleged brother of Jesus Christ wrote that, “faith, if it does not have deeds, is dead in itself” and “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17, 26). The implication is that no matter how great one claims their belief and faith in Christ’s sacrifice is, without following his explicit commandments and examples of love for all people, it is better to have never known Christ or his sacrifice.

Every Christian has heard the bible’s stories of Christ’s directives to care for the poor and infirm even if it means caring for a hated enemy, and yet here are alleged Christians, supporting Republicans’ Draconian cuts to programs that feed, house, and provide healthcare for the poor, children, seniors, and minorities under the guise of fiscal conservatism and austerity to control the nation’s deficit. Even if the notion of reducing the deficit was sincere, Christ made no allusion to an exception for caring for the poor if a government needed help to control its deficit in the present or for future generations as Republicans are wont to claim. And yet, here are Christian conservatives in Congress and state legislatures slashing spending on food stamps, housing assistance, and healthcare for the poorest Americans and they have garnered support from the same Christians who assert their faith and belief in Christ and his ultimate sacrifice as payment for their eternal life. Christ had strong words for these so-called “Christians” and it did not include granting them everlasting life or praise for their rank greed and selfishness. Christ may as well have been speaking to 21st century Republicans, conservative Christians, and the religious right when he said, “Hypocrites, This people honors me with the lips, but their hearts are remote from me, and they adore me vainly, inculcating teachings that are commands of men” (Matt. 15:7-9).

The commands of Republicans to their loyal followers is to reward the wealthy at the expense of the poor, and they have convinced their “good Christian” adherents that it is virtuous to reject Christ’s admonition to help the poor as a requirement for being a good American. The conservative Christians supporting Republican Paul Ryan and Willard Romney’s budgets and economic plans have taken to heart not Christ’s teachings, but those of Ayn Rand and wealthy industrialists such as the Koch brothers and their think tanks that inculcate the proposition that instead of helping the least advantaged, Americans are duty-bound to heap the nation’s assets on the wealthy that Christ claimed would have great difficulty in profiting from his life-giving sacrifice.

There are millions of Christians who do not subscribe to the Republicans’ teachings that the wealthy deserve more sacrifices from Americans, and poll after poll demonstrate that, indeed, the majority of Americans believe the wealthy should share in sacrificing by contributing more to assist the poor and pay down the deficit. There are Christian clergy who have spoken out against the Republican Draconian cuts to programs for poverty-stricken Americans, and yet they have had as much success influencing conservative Christians as Secular Humanists who are closer to following Christ’s teachings than so-called Christian conservatives.

This is not necessarily an indictment of the Christian faith or all Christians,  because if its devotees followed Christ’s teachings exclusively and ignored the hate-filled exhortations of the apostle Paul and the Hebrew Scriptures’ god, then commentaries such as this would be unnecessary. But there are very few Christians who bifurcate Christ’s teachings of charity and assistance for the poor from the discriminatory, racist, and anti-woman dogmata inherent in the rest of the Christian bible, and it is the latter group that deludes themselves that Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection has any relevance in aiding their eternal life as believers and faithful followers of the Christian religion. Instead, these conservative Christians are the epitome of hypocrisy that Jesus cited for their “showy display” of lip service while their hearts are intent on rewarding the wealthy with ill-gotten gains from the poor, children, and senior citizens, and no amount of adoration for their savior, his instrument of death, or their claim of faithful devotion will save them.

Whether or not one believes in a god, Jesus Christ, or the Christian bible is irrelevant to basic humanity and caring for those in need, but when alleged followers of Christ offer their supreme devotion to Republicans who claim to be Christians while elevating the wealthy to god-status and eliminate crucial safety nets such as food, housing, and healthcare for the poor, they besmirch the Christian faith and the sacrifice of their avatar of goodness and love. However, as long as they clutch their bible to their bosom, do obeisance to the cross, and proclaim their faith in Jesus Christ, they are able to justify any actions that are contrary to Christ’s teachings. It leads one to wonder to what extent they really believe in his sacrifice on their behalf, and what reward they aspire to as adversaries of Christian charity and love for their fellow man, because their works belie faith in Christ’s sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection.

Republicans will always punish the poor to enrich the wealthy and no amount of Christian posturing or reverence for the bible will change their greed and contempt for Americans who are not wealthy. The Christians who are devoted to helping Republicans punish the poor are in the same calamitous position as their Republican heroes and one would think that at Easter, they would reflect and re-evaluate the meaning of sacrifice, but obviously they are consumed with bunny rabbits, tax cuts for the wealthy, and hatred for an African American sitting in the Oval Office. The lesson for Christians is simple; if they think that dressing up on Easter Sunday, coloring eggs, and acknowledging their savior’s death and resurrection guarantees them everlasting life at the same time they support the policies and hateful agenda of Republicans, their everlasting existence is about as likely as a Jewish man coming back to life after decomposing for three days in a tomb.”

Emphasis Mine

see:http://www.politicususa.com/easter-republican-christ/