(RNS) It is tragic to watch contemptuous right-wingers declaring war on America.

Sepia map of the United States

Sepia map of the United States photo courtesy Shutterstock

With little heed for consequences on either actual people or the national interest, they declare war on the poor, the hungry, Native Americans, the unemployed, gays and lesbians, immigrants, minority voters, women, military dependents, and public education.

The recent farm bill — which gives public subsidies to agribusiness and denies food stamps to the hungry — is just the latest sortie in a determined decades-long assault on American values.

They claim the moral high ground, but actually violate everything Jesus stood for. We hear a lot of talk about posting the Ten Commandments in courthouses, but we really should be reading the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 outside every legislature.

They claim to stand for small government, but actually disdain all government, from police forces (begging for gun controls) to public hospitals (saddled with the uninsured), from food stamps to schools, from consumer protections to online privacy, from bridge and highway repairs to housing values. Down with government, they say, except, of course, for government’s ability to shift public money to the wealthy.

They claim to be patriotic, but actually violate every reasonable value this nation holds dear — including values extolled in years past by genuine conservatives.

My father was one of those conservatives, a Taft and Eisenhower Republican. We had lively debates at our dinner table and disagreed on much. But I cannot imagine him rigging election rules against black voters, punishing pregnant teenagers, or denying equal rights to gay couples.

My parents wanted nothing but the best for public schools and gave countless hours to keeping schools strong. My father believed in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and would never disdain have-nots as “losers,” for he himself had emerged from the war with nothing and built a business. As one who survived for a time on cans of baked beans, he would never blame the hungry for being hungry.

He was a man of honor. Our table grace each evening asked God to “make us ever-mindful of the needs of others.”

These right-wing zealots aren’t people of honor. They are mean-spirited thugs. Their scorched-earth campaign isn’t about a theory of government or about strengthening free-market capitalism. It is about contempt. It is about nihilism.

It is willful destruction of an economy — by concentrating wealth in a few hands, eviscerating the middle class, winking at fraud, unleashing predators, and creating a permanent underclass marked by deprivation in a land of plenty.

Their campaign is willful destruction of a political system that has always struggled against our baser instincts, but has managed, until recently, to remain grounded in a balance of power, not a seizing of power.

It is willful starvation of a public education system that once was a ladder to success and a seedbed for creativity.

In disdain for the dark-skinned, they ignore America’s history as a nation built by immigrants and deny the American dream to those who come seeking it.

It is a campaign so reckless and mindless that it could take us all down, themselves included.

(Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the author of “Just Wondering, Jesus” and founder of the Church Wellness Project. His website is www.morningwalkmedia.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @tomehrich.)

Categories: Ethics, Politics

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Tom Ehrich

Tom Ehrich

Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the author of “Just Wondering, Jesus” and founder of the Church Wellness Project. His website is www.morningwalkmedia.com.

11 Comments

    • My gosh I just saw that this guy consults with churches? About hat? How to show bias and hatred?

      Please let us know which churches you have worked with so we know which churches to avoid.

  1. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    WOW! I haven’t seen such a hate-filled screed in a long time. I didn’t realize how totally evil our conservative brothers and sisters are.
    Maybe this writer should learn how to make his points without designating those who disagree with him as some sort of satans.

    • Rev. Brescahan, I don’t see the hate or a suggestion that if you disagree you must be a tool of Satan. The facts speak for themselves. Unfortunately, too many of us have been soft-peddling the truth so as not to hurt someone’s feelings. One thing I question: that they have declared war on America. That would require telling us what they intended to do before they did it. In fact, when given a chance they simply did these things, made war on the American Dream and many million Americans.

  2. I can see the truthfulness of this blog, but the blog seems a little biased towards views that conservatives may not even have. Politicians on both sides are influenced by special interest groups and they have to conform to these views for fear of losing support…

  3. Thank you! It is way past time for our religious and political leaders to be calling the theo-political right out on their violations of both religious/spiritual principles and American values. Please do this more often and louder.

  4. The political Christian be he right wing of left wing is still political and politics belong this world. What does a Christian and the world have in common….?
    For all our faults (we Christians who have political opinions) we need to express love as well.
    I think I am a right winger, not far-right and I am not a rich, racist, homophobic cigar smoking fat guy or any other stereo-type you could throw in. I am so because I am not left wing and I am not left wing because the left (nearly everyone I know) are idealistic without a foundation!
    Everything is moving to the Day of Judgement. Left or right, right or wrong!

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