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Republican leadership has made a point of appealing to America's old-schoolers by portraying itself as having a Christian core. But its actions oppose the human compassion that is tantamount to Christianity. Tolerance and understanding are neglected for legislation refusing to recognize homosexual marriages. Compassion and forgiveness are abandoned in favor of the death penalty. Charity, generosity and goodwill are forgotten in order to try to reduce taxes. "Liberal" and "Christian" should be nearly synonymous in the ears of the American public. Liberals, socialists, hippies, or whatever other titles you'd like to call them, are the idealists in American society. They have always pushed for the equality and compassion within the human race that is the cornerstone of Christian faith.

In actuality, liberals are depicted as pests that infect traditional American culture. Republicans make a habit of pointing out liberals' personal weaknesses and flaws, pretending that they are made of a higher moral fiber. For years, right-wingers have claimed Christianity as their own to disguise their glass houses as brick, throwing stones at whomever's in sight. Why, then, if these men are such morally upstanding Christians, do they push policy that is so detrimental to Christian ideals? Restricting people's rights based on sexual orientation is wrong. If a man wants to marry a man, or a woman a woman, nobody from a local parishioner to Dick Cheney ought to stand in their way.

I refuse to believe that a God that could give up his only son for the good of the Earth would abandon someone because they happen to prefer members of the same sex. If you're going to claim to be a Christian, then you better be ready to embrace the message of tolerance and unconditional love that Jesus brought to the world. Homosexuality is not a sin, it is not an abnormality, and it is not an imperfection. It is simply a variety in the human population that should be granted the same respect that we have come to grant any other variation in the world community. The unfair treatment of gays is only the beginning of conservative Republican hypocrisy. They also seem to have forgotten their Sunday school lessons about compassion and forgiveness. According to the GOP Web site, Republicans blame current crime rates on "social upheaval provoked by the welfare, drug and crime policies of the 1960s and later." They seem to think that a strong, "effective deterrent death penalty" is the answer for crime rates that the Web site admits are lower now than they have been in a generation.

If by "deterrent" Republicans mean to say "grossly overused," then their proposal to pack the U.S. Sentencing Commission makes perfect sense. The U.S. Sentencing Commission is in charge of establishing punishment parameters to ensure that offenders of similar crimes receive similar punishments. The Commission's Web site lists "drug trafficking, fraud, immigration offenses and bank robberies" as the most common cases in federal courts. Despite the largely non-violent nature of these offenses, Republicans would like to reserve two of the seven seats on the commission for victims of violent crimes. Drug traffickers and bank robbers might not be the nicest people in the world, but allowing two bloodthirsty victims to determine their punishments is serving vengeance, not justice. Our leaders' competency in handling crime is certainly a pertinent issue, but is the death penalty really the Christian thing to do? Have we made any kind of attempt to improve our fellow man if we put him to death after his first violent offense? Are we granting the forgiveness that the Bible recommends? George W. Bush might be raising his children to turn the other cheek, but it's impossible to believe that he practices what he's preaching when he put more people to death than any other governor in history.

Now here's a mindbender: If Christians are suppose to help support the needy, then why do wealthy Republicans have such a problem with welfare? You would think that our newly elected Christian philanthropists would be all for welfare. Alas, Bush and his cronies have long been in favor of abandoning or drastically reducing welfare payments because it requires tax money. Over one trillion in tax cuts is more convenient for Republicans and their corporate sponsors than the business of ensuring that all people are able to maintain a certain minimal quality of life. Republicans may be Christian by name, but their political practices are anything but.

The Republicans that were elected to the capital this past year ought to be able to recognize that the morals they claim govern their everyday lives should carry over to the manner in which they govern the country. Unfortunately, they seem to draw a line somewhere between advocating humanitarian ideals and putting them into practice in Washington. Restricting peoples' rights, supporting and expanding capital punishment, and favoring the rich are not answers to the question "What Would Jesus Do?" Hiding practices behind the life of a man who stood for acceptance and altruism is a gross exploitation of the Christian faith.

To start off, I'm not going to try to defend all conservatives or all Republicans who say that they're Christians. I don't know them, and I certainly don't know their hearts. I can't say any more than you can if they are truly Christians or not. So I'll just try to show how you can be a Christian and a conservative and not necessarily a hypocrite.

One of your points was that conservative politics are not tolerant, and therefore not Christian. Tolerance (upper-case "T") isn't the same thing as tolerance (lower-case "t"), and it hasn't been for a long time. It's a political code word for moral relativism. I believe in certain guidelines for human behavior. Not because I'm a killjoy, not because I want to stick my nose into other people's business, but because that's how God says we should live our lives, because those things are destructive to other people and/or the person doing them. You're correct in pointing out that love is a fundamental tenet of Christianity. If my brother is destroying himself with drugs, the un-loving thing to do would be to say "Go and do your own thing, it's none of my business." Just because I don't have the same beliefs as someone else doesn't mean I'm not showing them love.

You seem to be very mad at how Republicans treat liberals, saying that they always attack their character. But you're doing the very same thing right now. You talk about the love and compassion of Christianity, but, you're being hostile and venomous towards conservatives at the same time. Politics can bring out the worst in us, so we should remove the plank in our own eye before pointing out the speck of sawdust in our brother's.

Before I go on I think it should be pointed out that most of these things you brought up are your own opinions, and a lot of times vary from what the vast majority of mainstream Christians think. We all have our own flawed beliefs. I'm sure that sometimes, maybe a lot of times, I misinterpret or misunderstand the Bible, but I'll bet you do too. You seem to be implying that anyone who doesn't agree with your politics isn't a Christian; I think that's really unfair, and, well, intolerant.

Your next point was about homosexuality. You said that you don't believe that God would send His son to die for us only to abandon someone because they're gay. I don't believe that either; God doesn't abandon anyone, ever. I'm living proof. If God were anything like us He would have given up on me a long time ago. God loves everybody unconditionally. That means He loves the prostitute and the self-righteous prig just as much as Mother Teresa and Billy Graham. But just because God doesn't abandon somebody doesn't mean that they're without sin.

I won't get into a long debate here about homosexuality being a sin. sfc and VT_hawkeye have defended that position pretty well over at homosexuality as a sin. I'll just point out that the majority of Christians believe it is. Not out of hate, or some arbitrary rule, but because the Bible says that is it. God created sexuality, and He knows when it's constructive and when it's destructive. I don't hate gays, Christianity tells me I should love them as much as Jesus does; but that doesn't mean I have to adopt their political and social worldview.

"Sin results in pain and God’s boundaries are there for our protection. God wants control of our lives because he knows we will shipwreck them otherwise. He’s not some cosmic killjoy; He cares deeply about our happiness." - Julie Roys

"We are half-hearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea." - C.S. Lewis

Your next point was about the death penalty. You questioned if it was really the Christian thing to do; after all, it's ending a human life. Quizro raised a great question in Do all soldiers go to hell?. He asked "...isn't war itself a sin? ... Terrible things happen in [the world] that demand a response . They may not be the kind of responses we would like; we may in fact end up doing things for which, I think, we should justifiably ask forgiveness of our God. But the alternative (leaving innocent civilians undefended against a marauding enemy, for example) may be to fall deeper into sin." I think the same can apply to this issue. President Bush has said that he supports the death penally because he believes that it's a deterrent—that it keeps even more people from being killed—and that if he believed it wasn't then he wouldn't support it.

Your last major point was about charity. Welfare is not charity, it's a government handout. Charity is from the heart, not given out of compulsion. What if I think that Welfare is abused and mis-managed? What if I think that a program like Workfare empowers people and helps them more? Does that mean that I hate needy people and want to see them suffer while I horde my huge paycheck? No, that just means that I think Welfare is abused and mis-managed and a program like Workfare empowers and helps people more. It doesn't mean I don't support other forms of helping people, like private charities or church programs. You're jumping to a lot of conclusions about people's motives when all you see is their actions. I think you're making a lot of incorrect assumptions.

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