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Christians can best serve the nation by repudiating the GOP

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Christians can best serve the nation by repudiating the GOP

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If Christians are to begin to reassert their principles upon American culture, it is recommended here that they seriously consider repudiating the GOP.

Please note that there is no suggestion that Christians abandon the GOP for the Democrats or go out and start a new party. Neither is there an admonition that Christians withdraw from public affairs altogether. Their influence is too important to be wasted or hidden.

However, the 20 plus years that Christians have devoted to supporting the GOP has contributed to marginalizing their views and principles even as the GOP has risen to prominence on nearly every level of government. Every loss that the GOP suffered on the long march to power has been blamed on Christian activism within the party. The bizarre election-year efforts of congress to amend the constitution to outlaw gay marriage and flag burning as well as make the pledge of allegiance mandatory have been characterized as campaign ploys to keep Christian voters on the GOP plantation.

Even the poorly conceived War Against International Terrorism has been characterized by critics as a “10th Crusade” of Christian military intrusion into Islamic territories. This characterization is somewhat validated by a general Christian acceptance of Israel's existence as a prophetic sign of the coming final judgment.

The most devastating assault the Republicans have made on the public character of Christians is through their embrace of corrupt practices to expand the power and scope of government. Lou Dobbs, while promoting his book, War Against the Middle Class, on The Daily Show, October 11, said that, “Corporate America is spending over $2 billion a year to influence elections and to influence legislation....Today corporate America is actually writing legislation.” So what of justice if financial interests can invest so much money just for the privilege of shaping law to their benefit.

Nor should a charge of corruption stop with accusations of bribery and influence peddling against congress. Tom Delay's money laundering indictment came after investigations into his involvement in efforts to gerrymander congressional and statehouse districts in the state of Texas which shows that Republicans on the state level are willing to take orders to benefit the national party.

The Army Times reported on October 27, that, “The Halliburton subsidiary that provides food, shelter and other logistics to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan exploited federal regulations to hide details on its contract performance, according to a report released Friday.” Halliburton was granted many of its contracts to supply various services to American soldiers in Iraq without having to submit bids. Halliburton's CEO from 1995 to 2000, by the way, has been Vice President of the United States since 2001.

The connection between Republican corruption and Iraq does not end with Halliburton. Supposedly this country invaded Iraq to relieve Saddam Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction. When no such weapons were found, in spite of repeated pre-invasion claims by Bush Administration officials that such an arsenal posed a global threat, our purpose became to free Iraqis from the oppression of Saddam. Once that was completed and Iraqis were not interested in becoming an American colony, we took up the purpose of helping Iraq to develop an American-style democracy (regardless of the fact that America's government is supposed to be a republic).

When Iraq had elections and wrote a constitution, American soldiers had to remain to quell insurrections against American occupation. As it became apparent that the new Iraqi military and police forces were recruiting supporters of Sunni and Shia rivals, America's occupation has had to continue to prevent the country from breaking apart. Now, even though President Bush has declared we are on our way to victory in ending the break-up of Iraq, America is considering plans to divide the country into three separate regions (can anyone say apartheid?)

All of this grief and turmoil began with a Utopian dream that American power could scare the terrorists of the world to give up on their causes and accept American hegemony and some obvious falsehoods accusing Saddam of possessing the wherewithal to harass the world. Both the vision and the prevarications are transgressions against Christian principles, yet many Christians remain stalwart in their support for the president and his destruction of a once devoted ally of the US.

For years Christian activists have been battling accusations that they are anti-intellectual and easily led. Their reflexive support for the GOP, in spite of the party's very corrupt and devious conduct while holding power, lends credibility to the accusations.

If Christians abandoned Republican candidates to declare themselves free agents this election season, we would become a huge voting block that can define the difference between victory and defeat. We would prove that we have greater regard for the stability of the republic than do for political parties or labels. More importantly, however, we would show we have no tolerance for the type of corruption and dissembling that has marked the current political majority regardless of how slick it has been at claiming to defending our principles every election year.

In conversations with Christian friends regarding the election, the normal response to a review to Republican abuse of power has been, “But just think how bad it would be if the Democrats had been there.” I honestly can't believe that the Democrats, with all their ineptitude, could make the conditions threatening America's future any worse than they are now. Perhaps the only difference would be that the Democrats could not be accused of hypocrisy since the party has never pretended to be a band of moral paragons in the first place.

In either case, Christians can best serve the nation by demanding that those who speak of honoring their principles actually prove to do so with their conduct between election compaigns.

by Bob Strodtbeck

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