This was a popular phrase that my mother used frequently as I grew up. Frankly, it annoyed the crap out of me. If that was how it should be “done”, then why aren’t you doing it that way, Mom? Of course, I would have had my mouth washed out with soap for talking back, so I never said it……but I sure as heck thought it.
In the past month, this phrase has sprung to mind on several occasions. To me this is the motto of hypocrites and there seem to be a bunch of them in the news lately. We have a couple of poster boys and an institution that has been around for over 2000 years. These folks are preaching Morality for the Masses, and telling us just how we should be living our lives. And, by not following their mandates, we are stripping others of their Constitutional liberties, we are taking America in the wrong direction and we are being sacrilegious. If you believe them, there is a war being waged against Religion. Really? Is that really what they think? I have a bit of a different perspective.
Before I begin, let me make a full disclosure. As a child, I was raised Lutheran. Although my parents only attended church on Easter and Christmas Eve, I attended a Lutheran kindergarten, Sunday School every week, confirmation classes for two years in preparation to being confirmed in the Lutheran church and then moving on to attending church services instead of Sunday School. I have read the Bible, and those two years of confirmation classes were weekly Bible studies. Throughout this learning period, I questioned quite a bit and had many concerns about much of what I was being taught and what was in the Bible. I left religion behind, permanently, when I discovered feminism in college. I do, however, firmly believe in The Golden Rule and the ethic of care practiced by Jesus in the Bible. And, I detest hypocrisy in all of its forms.
Let me begin with Newton Leroy Gingrich, or as I prefer to call him, Newter.
At some point in his proselytizing he used the phrase “the sanctity of marriage.” PLEASE, Newter! You of all people who has pissed all over your marriage vows, not once but at least twice. If there really was a god, you would have been struck by lightning when that phrase left your lips. You who married one of your high school teachers, had her work to put you through grad school so you wouldn’t have to work. Then, while she was in the hospital fighting cancer, you told her you wanted a divorce so that you could marry your lover. Then, after marrying your second wife, you cheated on her for six years with the devout Catholic woman you would make your third wife. And due to this devoutly religious woman, who had no problem having secret sexual relations with the husband of another woman, you converted to Catholicism. So now that you have found god, you can champion the sanctity of marriage, but only between one man and one woman. Something you, of course, didn’t practice in the past. And now, you are against same sex marriage. You claim our current president, also a professed Christian, is waging a war against religion. You call the president the Food Stamp president, you want to repeal the Affordable Health Care Plan, you are outraged that Catholic hospitals and universities will be required to include contraception without a co-pay in the insurance plans they choose for their employees. Personally, I think your past affairs and disrespect for the vows of fidelity you freely took do more damage to religion than anything the president has done. Not to mention your willingness to start even more wars – against Iran, Pakistan, et al – flies in the face of the sanctity of life and your profession for being a pro-life candidate. Do you only respect “life” within the womb? What about the viable lives outside the womb? Then there is the food stamp question. Actually it’s the SNAP Program now, Newter. Who do you think is using this program? Do you realize that it mostly benefits children living in poverty, the elderly, the disabled, the working poor and the unemployed? While expressing outrage over “food stamps” you also want to eliminate ALL taxes on capital gains. So, for you and your Christian values, the extremely wealthy need more money while those struggling in poverty don’t really need food. Do I have that correct? Not exactly my idea of “Christian charity.” Well, if you are a good example of just what a good Christian looks, sounds and acts like, then I’m not buying into it.
Then there is Mr. Social Values Candidate Supreme, Rick “Frothy” Santorum.
Rick, whose wife Karen, lived with the doctor who delivered her, a man 40 years older than her and a doctor who performed abortions, without being married to him. And, now the two of you are models of a good Christian married couple. You have come into your own recently with the announcement that all employers, including the Catholic Church, must provide insurance for their employees that includes no co-pay prescriptions for contraception. Apparently you aren’t aware that 28 states already require all employers that provide prescription benefits to include contraception in the coverage. You can read more about this here: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/02/07/420114/many-catholic-universities-hospitals-already-offer-contraception-as-part-of-their-health-insurance-plans/ If we believe you, this violates the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. But you also think that states should make the sale and purchase of contraception illegal. How is that not abridging the First Amendment rights of non-Catholics? Isn’t that imposing Catholic doctrine on people of all faiths, or even those of no faith? So, let’s make sure I have this correct. Everyone should respect your belief system but you have no responsibility to respect the belief systems of others? And for you, that’s Freedom of Religion? Is that right?
And then there is the Catholic Church, the bastion of morality for millions of people around the world. And they have set such a stellar example for us all. As an historian and recent convert, I’m certain – well, not really - that Newter has thoroughly studied the Church’s history of imposing morality across the planet. We have the s0-called witch dunkings/drownings and burnings during the Dark Ages (mostly elderly, widowed midwives), the Crusades that waged war against Islam, the conquering of the New World that led to the massacre of indigenous peoples and, of course, the most recent moral crusade of ignoring, condoning, empowering the pedophiles within their ranks. Ah yes, these are the guys that I’m going to look to for moral conduct and advice.
Apparently all of these pious Christians missed this, which even I – the non-believer – remember quite well. It’s John 8:7: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. So, if you are wondering What Would Jesus Do, ponder that passage. Or maybe you could work on setting a better example by practicing what you preach - before you even preach it.