Hijacked Christianity

By Ellen Ratner

This may not come as a surprise to many, but I receive a ton of “hate mail.” More hate mail is generated by this column than from my 18 daily radio hits or weekly Fox News appearances. I’ve been threatened and sworn at. Virtually every aspect of my being has been criticized. Perhaps the most creative piece of hate mail came with a picture of my head attached to the body of a rat on a red white and blue magic carpet. I even put that one on my office wall.

But after 10 years of hate mail, one finally really disturbed me a few weeks ago. If I quoted the e-mail directly, WorldNetDaily and Ellen Ratner would be in the same boat with Howard Stern and the Federal Communications Commission. The gist of the e-mail, after the author called me every four-letter, vile word in the book was that it’s impossible to be a Christian and be a Democrat. Granted, I’m not a Christian – I’m Jewish – but that statement sent chills down my spine. It made me wonder how many others feel this way?

After four weeks of unofficial research, I have found that many so-called evangelical Christians believe this to be true. Granted, they would have omitted the author’s four-letter words, but agreed with his statement completely. Now this, my fellow Americans, represents a very slippery slope for the future of America. George Bush, Karl Rove, Karen Hughes and Company have successfully hijacked the American Christian psyche into believing that the Republicans are their savior and John Kerry is the devil incarnate.

It is true that George Bush is against gay marriage, but so is John Kerry. They both are on record of supporting a state’s right to have civil unions and treating every citizen with dignity. OK, not much difference between the angel and the devil there. George Bush supports giving money to faith-based initiatives and there is no indication that President Kerry would renege on that. Yes, George Bush would like to repeal Roe v. Wade and stop a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. John Kerry, while personally opposed to abortion as a form of birth control, believes this difficult choice is not a matter for the government to decide.

But it’s important to look more deeply into the issue of “choice.” The position of George W. Bush is that life is sacred. The Sixth Commandment says, “Thou Shall Not Kill.” This is a non-negotiable as far as God is concerned. It’s not a mere mortal’s right to determine who lives and dies. That should be left up to God. Fine. Can someone then explain to me how it is that the same man who uses the “life is sacred” argument to deny a woman’s right to choose her destiny can put more than 140 people to death, including a woman who proclaims the same Jesus Christ George W. Bush does as her personal savior? There is an enormous disconnect in the logic here – and that’s a problem for evangelicals. The cornerstone of the evangelical mind is that the laws of God are not up to personal interpretation. They are absolute, non-negotiable. So why is it OK for George W. to kill people in Texas? The Ten Commandments do not have a disclaimer.

There are a few other dents in George W’s halo. Let us look at the definition of the word, “Christian.” To be a Christian is to aspire to be “Christ-like,” or so my Christian friends tell me. Christ said, “Turn the other cheek.” “Do good to those who harm you.” “Love thy neighbor has thy self.” “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.” Christ was a heretic in an “eye-for-an-eye” world.

George W. Bush on the other hand, resurrected the eye-for-an-eye world. He even took it to new heights with his pre-emptive strike policy. Although it should be called a “strike” policy, because for something to be “pre-emptive” means that it was preventing an actual event from occurring. No WMD in Iraq, therefore it did not pre-empt anything (other than Halliburton third-quarter losses, perhaps) so we can strike “pre-emptive” from the George W. Bush’s “strike” policy.

George and Jesus are also very different in the company they keep. Christ was the embodiment of compassion. He didn’t even have to modify the word by tacking “conservative” onto the end of it. Christ preferred the company of renegades and those on the fringes of society to the powerful and wealthy. George W. Bush likes to golf, ride mountain bikes and roam around on his ranch.

Jesus was able to enter into the place of pain and suffering and be with those in need. George W. Bush is willing to dress up like a solider, but he won’t be present for the overwhelming grief and pain of death. He refuses to attend a soldier’s burial. Karl and Karen likely told him it would not look good. Christ did not care about appearances.

Sounds to me like those Christians out there who believe they have to vote Republican to be a Christian need to go back and study the life of Christ. They won’t find any killing. They won’t find any fund-raisers. They won’t find any contracts for the wealthy. I just hope they read it before November.