Friday, April 27, 2018

The Gospel According to Paul Ryan

One Monday, November 6th, 2017 Congress was debating the Trump/GOP tax plan. U.S. House of Representatives Chaplin, Father Pat Conroy opened the session with the following invocation.

(From the congressional record...)

The Chaplain, the Reverend Patrick J. Conroy, offered the following prayer:

God of the universe, we give You thanks for giving us another day. Bless the Members  of this assembly as they set upon the work of these hours, of these days.

Help them to make wise decisions in a good manner and to carry their responsibilities  steadily, with high hopes for a better future for our great Nation.

As legislation on taxes continues to be debated this week and next, may all Members  be mindful that the institutions and structures of our great Nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue  to struggle.

May their efforts these days guarantee that there are not winners and losers under  new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans. May Your blessing,  O God, be with them and with us all this day and every day to come, and may all we  do be done for Your greater honor and glory. Amen.

That  prayer apparently was just too much hippie leftist socialism for some Republicans who complained to  House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Mordor), who in turned fired Conroy for having to much of a  "tilt to the left".    Yeah...  you read that right,  Just  to be clear;  A prayer that simply called for lawmakers to have a sense of compassion for the poor and to work to ensure all Americans benefit from their actions,  was considered to be offensive and partisan by Congressional Republicans.

Additionally  there are rumblings that  Ryan also was trying to placate conservative evangelical members of the GOP Caucus who  may have anti-catholic sentiments. Something Catholic television network EWTN broadly hinted at:

The fact that  the Republican Party, and the broader American Conservative movement has had a decidedly revisionist approach to their "christian" faith is nothing new.   Comedian Will Ferrell was joking about it  over a decade ago..

In the 1980's the GOP ran against the threat of Soviet Communism. In the 1990's the GOP ran against the threat of Gay people. After 9-11 it was the threat of "Islamo fascist terrorism" and then in 2004 it was both Islamic terrorists AND the Gays. 2008 and 2012 saw the GOP come full circle and run campaigns that all but screamed "Vote against the SCARY Black Man! (Who was probably a Muslim too!)".

With this week's debacle over the firing of Conry , we have seen how clearly the GOP has created it's own religion, aligned to a warped fundamentalist extremism and the Golden Calf of the worship and protection of extreme wealth. Blessed are the top 1% and cursed be the poor for pulling resources away from the all deserving rich. in 2018 we have a GOP that is utterly disconnected from actual Christianity, while at the same time still claiming America is under dire threat from non-Christian extremism.

All the while carefully redesigning Christ into an image that fit their Grover Norquist/Koch Brothers talking points. Where poor people are lazy "takers" and it is wealthy or "job creators" as they were dubbed,  who were truly doing the Lord's good work and therefore needed all the support and protection Government could offer. 

One can't help but wonder how Evangelical Conservatives, having already sold their Souls to support Donald Trump. (A thrice-married serial lying adulterer, who pays off porn stars and centerfolds, and brags about being able to commit sexual assault because he is a "celebrity"); will spin their justification for the firing of a Christian minister for praying for compassion for the poor.

Then again, "blessed are the Rich"  has always been the Gospel According to Paul Ryan.  Who has spent his entire career in public life trying to destroy the Social Safety net of the United States and  turn it into tax cuts and benefits for the wealthiest of Americans.   For Ryan, killing any and all  programs that provide health care to poor Americans has been his most cherished dream since  his carefree college days.

Ryan's gospel doesn't just  insist (despite all evidence to the contrary), that  such redistribution would ultimately leave the poor better off, in part by improving the economy as a whole. But also he claims that his agenda was a moral one.  Saying  that the rich were the worthy "Makers” and the poor were the evil  “Takers”,  lazy people who subsist on government handouts.  Often citing  Ayn Rand, the libertarian philosopher, as one of his  major influences. 

Now we see this warped perversion of faith coming full circle.  Where even hearing in a prayer that they should be caring as much for the least of these, as they do for the wealthiest of these, was too much for Republicans  to take.   Faith as become  just another  GOP "alternative fact" .   One that elevates hypocrisy to the level of doctrine.     By their works shall Ye know them...

Here endeth the lesson.

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