Recent american politics has again spotlighted the so-called Tea Party. I’ve pondered this new iteration of a slightly more incensed brand of right-wing conservatism, and come up with the following analysis. In real life, drinking tea is healthy, but the Tea Party brew is another matter. If it promotes the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then take a swig. But if it doesn’t look, sound or taste like Jesus, then skip it altogether. You’ll be healthier for it and here’s why…
When boiled down to foundational principles, most of modern american conservative ideology coincides with the baser, un-transformed-by-Jesus attitudes of the spiritually dead man. I believe that most of the ideas that come forth from the religious right, neo-conservative, libertarian and tea-party cauldron contradict the values of the Kingdom of God.
God through Paul says in Ephesians 4:22-23, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds.” Most of tea party-libertarian-rightwing rhetoric, teaching and principles relies on the manifestation of human sin-nature unchecked by the way of Jesus.
Your average right-of-center, libertarian, tea-party, neoconservative american exhibits all or some of the following un-Christ-like attitudes. Their hero politicians and media personalities consider these as articles of good christian american faith.
- fear of change and/or transformations that would benefit larger society. (The 50’s were wonderful, we should return to that era…)
- safety and security through revenge and ‘redemptive’ violence. Rejection of reconciliation or brokered settlements/compromises. (Vietnam, Cold War proxy wars, 9/11 – Afghanistan – Iraq….need I say more?)
- worship of false gods. Money, power, public attention, global hegemony, American exceptionalism. (Read the lips and lives of conservative celebrities from Limbaugh to Palin to Beck to Dobson to Huckabee to Robertson to Barton…and tell me those things aren’t the themes of their ‘ministries’)
- fear of and/or suspicious of other cultures except American/Anglo middle to upper class, rural/suburban culture. (e.g. Muslims, foreigners, Hispanics, urban, gay, educated, Europeans, hippies…all feared and/or despised)
- embrace of extreme individualism – rejection of communal values and exultation of “everyman for himself” and “survival of the fittest” Jesus’ model of dying to self is not a right-wing/conservative value. In fact it is hated with a passion. Tea Party/conservative rhetoric and policy ideas are always about what one can get or keep for their individual selves. My rights, my property, my will, my money, my initiative… “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and did it all by myself.” (Near dogma in all quarters despite claimed rejection of evolutionary natural selection and claimed allegiance to God’s dying-to-self ways e.g…Limbaugh’s tirades against volunteerism and Beck’s condemnation of social justice)
- penchant to commodify anything, if not everything…in other words, buying and selling things is one of man’s main reasons for living; making money (especially via entrepreneurship) his highest calling. (symptom of the worship of money and laissez faire consumerist growth-obsessed free-market ideology – defended and blessed by many so-called ‘christians’.)
- tolerance and/or outright promotion of the worst of free market values – selfishness, greed and accumulation of earthly treasure. (Again look at who is truly valued in conservative america…the movers and shakers are 100% those who’ve made a bundle or who ‘look’ like they’ve made a bundle, regardless of how they’ve made it. Best example is the christian cultural warriors and owners/founders of one of the most destructive, manipulative pyramid schemes in American history – Amway/Quixstar or whatever else they call it in order to deflect the bad reputation/publicity their cult-like multi-level marketing always seems to garner)
- rejection of critical self-reflection (or in Biblical terms, “judging oneself in order to not be judged or self-examination leading to repentance.” I’ll take this one back when you can show me one conservative who ever practices the art of concession while arguing a point or has ever attempted to find common ground with an opponent or has apologized for what his ideas have wrought…ever. It is always ‘winner-take-all, unconditional-surrender in all areas and situations…)
- Scapegoating/blaming everybody else (especially the government and immigrants) for all of society’s problems. (Companion to the no-self-examination doctrine)
- rejection of the healing act of apologizing and asking for forgiveness…(exemplified best by people like Limbaugh who disdain anyone who dares to admit and apologize for american policy mistakes that have hurt innocents… particularly foreigners.)
This may not be an exhaustive list and someone else may be able to bring to attention a concrete example of another right wing value that springs from man’s sin nature. I also want to clearly state that this list should not be taken to mean that all conservatives/right wingers are all bad. As a general group, right-wingers also exhibit some good qualities, and as individuals they will not embody all of the above values. I have many conservative friends who may applaud some of these ideas, but in reality they don’t live it out. (Which is good! But it also means they’re not ‘pure’ conservatives. However, the media and political personalities they look up to are often more hard-line. I don’t condemn my friends outright, but I would caution them to be careful of the subtle negative influence that comes from the right-wing and its very confusing mix of some good and a lot of bad.)
The same goes for their ideological opposites, for which some of you might be inspired to come up with a similar list, revealing the sinful nature values of the progressive/left-wing. I won’t argue with you because all men exhibit a selfish sin-nature. Of course the other side has some un-Christ-like values.
But my main point here is to debunk the myth or idea that the right-wing/conservative element in american culture is somehow more holy or spiritual than the other side. I reject that notion and believe that the right-wing also falls very far short of the kingdom of God and its glory. In fact, I belief the right-wing is guiltier because unlike the secularist side, the conservative camp claims to be following God/Jesus in all things when it’s clear to me they are not. When I read the stories of Jesus, he was far more condemning of the rich religious class who put on a spiritual mask but rejected Him and His kingdom message. The religious right/tea party/libertarians today occupy that same glaringly hypocritical position and I believe, as in Jesus’ day, they will be judged harsher for their hypocrisy than the ‘god-less heathen gentiles’ (Democrats, progressives, or anyone who disagrees with a conservative) of our day.