By Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet
When it comes to using religion as a weapon to push hard-right ideology, un-Christian behavior runs rampant.
June 11, 2013
Christianity is a faith that professes to defend the meek and the humble, but many Christians—at least of the more fundamentalist stripe—tend to be more interested in propping up unjust systems and using religion as a cudgel to bully the weak. Obviously, there are plenty of Christians who aren’t massive hypocrites, but when it comes to using religion as a weapon to push hard-right ideology, deeply un-Christian behavior runs rampant. Here’s a few examples of some of the more egregious recent sins of those who claim to be holier than thou.
1) Attempted murder. Tim Lambesis, the lead singer of the Christian metal band As I Lay Dying, was recently arrested in California for trying to hire a hit man—who turned out to be an undercover police officer—to murder his estranged wife. Lambesis and his wife were deeply invested in evangelical Christian culture, even embracing the enthusiasm for overseas adoption that has spread in recent years in the community by adopting three children from Ethiopia.
Lambesis’ alleged crime was the weak choice of just one man, of course, but the rush of online support he got after his arrest killed any hope that followers of Christian rock are made better people for their fandom. Lambesis fans flooded Twitter with such heartwarming sentiments about Lambesis’ wife such as, “Bitch must be crazy/annoying” and “His wife was probably a cunt anyway.” One even suggested, “Praying never trumps taking action.”
2) Enthusiastic support for bullying. The Christian right group Focus on the Family is so supportive of public school students’ "right" to gay-bash that they’ve started a campaign to combat anti-bullying programs called True Tolerance. People for the American Way put together a report on what amounts to a Christian pro-bullying campaign. Christian right activists attack anti-bullying initiatives in schools by claiming they amount to “indoctrination” of students into the “homosexual lifestyle," even though the programs in question are simply telling kids not to beat up or tease other kids for perceived sexual non-conformity. Focus on the Family pretends it isn’t openly fighting for the protection of gay-bashers by denying that anti-gay bullying is a real problem, but that excuse fools no one who has ever been or even known a teenager.
3) Starving the poor. The biblical Jesus Christ went around helping the poor and the sick and famously fed people with loaves and fishes. His modern-day conservative followers prefer to snatch food from the mouths of the hungry. Tennessee Republican congressman Stephen Fincher showed what lengths conservative Christians will go to ignore their savior’s obvious teachings regarding charity and poverty, when he deliberately quoted, out of context, a Bible verse that says, “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat,” to defend cuts to SNAP, the federal food assistance program.
Not only was the quote out of context—it’s clear that Jesus was all for feeding the poor and alleviating their suffering—it was also a deeply dishonest characterization of people who use food stamps. For one thing, when you have 8% unemployment, it’s just asinine to suggest the problem is that people don’t want to work. But beyond that, research shows that over 90% of welfare benefits go to people who currently have a job or are elderly and disabled and can’t work. In other words, even by the measure of the verse Fincher quoted, the people he would deny food to are entitled to it, having met the basic standard of being willing to work.
4) Demanding the breakup of loving families for ideological reasons. The Christian right loves to go on and on about the importance of family, but what they don’t often admit is they are only talking about their families. The Christian right is forever trying to take away the right to parent from gay people by interfering with gay adoptions, banning gay couples from using reproductive technologies, and in the case of religious right talk show host Bryan Fisher, encouraging his audience to kidnap children of gay parents and give them to straight people.