Many of you who read this paper are conservatives, so you might be taken back by my question, ‘Are Conservatives Hypocrites?’
Consider that most conservatives consider themselves to be “free market” folks. Let the market decide, no government meddling. Consider this, many conservatives who are business owners believe that they should be able to do whatever they want to make a profit such as getting tax breaks while they move jobs overseas or no import charge for products manufactured overseas. They want no government regulations, because they believe the government is keeping them from really growing their business.
Yet if their company gets into financial trouble, many of these same “free market folks” then want the government to bail them out, in other words they get to keep the profits when successful and get a life line when they fail. That’s not how a free market works. An entrepreneur is in one sense a gambler, as he takes their money and starts a business. If these entrepreneurs succeed, they become wealthy. If their business fails they lose their money and file for bankruptcy.
That’s how a free market works. It is all about taking risks and reaping the reward or losing it all. Takes gutsy people to do that. Essentially the public decides if your business succeeds or fails, thus the old adage: “The customer is always right.”
I’m not a business expert, and am not claiming to be such, but I’m simply using broad strokes in explaining the free market and business, to illustrate my next point.
I think many of these same conservatives fail to realize how unique America truly is and how wise our founding fathers were. They chose to not have a state religion as the European nations had or as many of the colonies had prior to becoming states. Yep many colonies had a state church that you were required to attend and pay taxes to support the preacher, it was the law. Think about that the next time they pass the collection plate in church. At least it’s a voluntary donation, not a mandatory tax.
In some of the southern colonies the “state church” was the Anglican Church, in New England the Congregationalist Church, etc. Pennsylvania was the oddball in that it was founded by Quakers who didn’t force their faith on anyone. So as a result of the abuses meted out to many people in most of the colonies, our founding fathers wisely gave us a “market driven” faith system.
So what does that mean? Simply that you, I, your neighbors, and my neighbors are all free to have faith, practice faith, or have no faith and practice no faith. We all are free to go to any church, synagogue, temple, etc, we choose. So as in the free market business model I mentioned earlier, so too does the public decide which faith’s will grow or shrink. We literally have a free market faith system in the United States. Some of you may be Catholic, others United Methodist, Baptist, Assembly of God, still others like myself Lutheran, others Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim. Believe it or not, there are even conservatives who are Atheists. They are fiscal conservatives, but have no religious beliefs at all. Just as there are many liberals who are Christians, Jews, Hindu, or Muslims, and yes Atheists too.
Many conservatives want to claim this was a Christian nation. It wasn’t. I’ve done a ton of reading on this and won’t belabor the point here. Many of the founding fathers were men of faith, many Christian, others deists, and others part of the Enlightenment. They weren’t hostile to God, faith, or religion. They wanted the freedom to believe and practice their beliefs as they saw fit with no government meddling thus the freedoms we all enjoy to worship God as we please or not worship God.
Many folks are going to be upset by the announcement that a group of Atheists are launching a TV station dedicated to godlessness. I’m serious.
I say, so what? Much of what’s on radio, TV, the movies, the internet is already dedicated to godlessness. The thing those of us with faith need to realize is if we have the freedom to worship God in our churches, etc, then others have the freedom to not worship. We shouldn’t feel threatened by this. What this should do is remind those of us who call Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, that we are to make disciples of all nations.
Maybe we should be looking at what Jesus did that made people want to follow him. Look how they loved one another was a claim made by many who saw those first Century Christians, who were modeling what Jesus had taught them. Jesus didn’t spend his time bashing the government, or those who were not his followers.
Jesus didn’t try to legislate his agenda. He loved them unconditionally. He changed hearts, one heart at a time. So maybe we should look at how our approach to living our faith is different from what Jesus taught. Do those outsiders see a bit of Jesus when they see us or do they see some angry, hateful person who’s judging folks, not loving them.
I recommend all Christians, both conservative and liberals, to do a devotional study reading the words of Jesus. These are usually the red lettered parts in the New Testament. Those are Jesus’ actual words. I think you’ll find the time spent worth doing, and won’t change your views and beliefs, but how you approach others with your views and beliefs. I’m troubled by many folks saying they like Jesus, but don’t like Christians. Maybe it’s time to get back to basics in our faith walk. If our actions don’t reflect what we claim to believe then we truly are hypocrites, that applies to both conservatives and to liberals.
Mike Cannatelli lives in suburban Wilmington with his wife. He repairs electronic instrumentation the food industry uses to detect bacteria in food. He plays supper club music on the piano and is a voracious reader who is a registered Independent voter.