The revelation of a tape recording of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking to a group of wealthy donors is the latest incident which draws attention to the governor’s lack of compassion and contempt for the less fortunate. In the remarks, brought to national attention by Mother Jones magazine, Romney deplores those who he claims are dependent upon government largesse; the “47 percent” of the President’s supporters he describes as victims who take no responsibility for their circumstances. Before his $50,000 a plate supporters, the Republican nominee casually dismissed those Americans he surmised were simply “takers” and not worthy of consideration since they are too subscribed to government handouts. Romney’s words are classic right-wing fodder but still remarkably stunning given the timing, coming just a week after the governor characterized the middle class as earners making $200,000 or more.
The sheer audacity and arrogance of Romney’s remarks notwithstanding, what I find particularly vexing is how incompatible his words are with his professed Christian faith. There has been an extraordinary effort by the media to avoid any reference to Mitt Romney’s membership in the Mormon Church for fear that it would amount to religious bias. His recent remarks should prompt the public to ask for a fuller explanation on how Romney’s faith reconciles with his governing philosophy. After all, the Republicans bathed themselves in the light of “In God we Trust” during their coronation of Romney as their candidate. And given the right’s fixation on the President’s religiosity, it is fair game to call into question Romney’s faith given the hypocrisy of his recent remarks juxtaposed against the teachings of Jesus, the ultimate authority on Christianity. If Romney is indeed a Christian, he is advocating a heretical agenda that neither sounds like the teachings of Jesus in intent nor resembles it in its application in life. So, if we are to accept the Mormon Church as a Christian body, and Mitt Romney as a true believer, it is important to question how his policy perspectives are in keeping with the ministry of Jesus.
And yes, it is a fair question since the Republican Party went to great lengths to claim God as one of its own during their convention in Tampa and threw around the word “faith” as if they own the copyright.
Jesus speaks directly to the question of comparative worth in Matthew 19:23-24 when He instructed:
“Verily, I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
There is nothing in the current formulation of candidate Romney that remotely resembles the foundational teachings of Jesus Christ. The candidate’s rhetoric violates the principal call of Jesus to care for the “least of these” and to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Still, Mitt Romney parades under the Christian banner and puts on the face of family wholesomeness while pushing an agenda that insults the very faith he professes to accept as his spiritual inheritance. The Republican nominee is so far afield of the instructions Jesus imparted in the Sermon on the Mount that one must question whether Romney truly understands the call to discipleship. His disdain for the poor and embrace of reckless profiteering is diametrically opposed to Jesus’ teaching to his disciples – “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The Republican right has perfected the art of publicly embracing Christ but not carrying the cross. There is a level of hypocrisy in the right’s Bible-jacking that is eerily similar to segregationists, including the Ku Klux Klan, using the word of God to justify their abuse of African-Americans. As well as the silence and complicity of white evangelicals, much in the same way they turned a blind eye toward Jim Crow and were scolded for doing so by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Now, instead of promoting the barbarism of physical violence and neglect, the right has perfected the art of demonizing and placing low those that Jesus would hold high while making a mockery of his teachings. To the best of my recollection, nowhere in the biblical passages attributed to Jesus is there even a hint that he held the wealthy in high esteem and considered the poor to be deadbeats. It seems that way only in the faith of Mitt Romney, and his band of holier-than-thou monied crusaders.