My brethren and sistren in God, did you know that God is the Chairman of the Texas Republican Party? Yep:
Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell offered a greeting to delegates to the Republican convention. "It's great to be back in the holy land," the Fort Worth native said to the cheers of the party faithful.For the 4,500 delegates at last week's biennial gathering, it was both an expression of conservative philosophy and religious faith, a melding of church and state.
At Saturday morning's prayer meeting, party leader Tina Benkiser assured them that God was watching over the two-day confab.
"He is the chairman of this party," she said against a backdrop of flags and a GOP seal with its red, white and blue logo.
The party platform, adopted Saturday, declares "America is a Christian nation" and affirms that "God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom."
"We pledge to exert our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and dispel the myth of the separation of church and state," it says.
Theocracy. But the Texas Republican Party has long been known for this kind of talk, I've been told. I've also been told to ignore all this godly weirdness, because it's so extreme that nobody could take it seriously. Then the Texas Republican Party gave us George Bush and the war in Iraq and all the rest of our locusts and boils. Is it now time to take the godly nutters seriously? Before they take away my driver's licence and my bank account, because the women in the Bible didn't have such things.
Funny how I used to have a lot of respect for fervent Christians*. This had something to do with the way I was taught Christianity, with a focus on the teachings of Christ, which are mostly about caring for the poor and the least important among us. But the new breeds of Christians don't care for the wimpy kind of Christ. Their Christ is a warrior, perhaps a marine going to fight us, and their Christ hates illegal immigrants to the United States:
At Saturday morning's prayer meeting, ministers delivered prayers, gospel singers sang, and the Rev. Dale Young, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Laredo, picked up the convention's dominant theme of immigration.
"Lord, your words tell us there's a sign that this nation is under a curse, when the alien who lives among us grows higher and higher and we grow lower and lower," he preached.
No mention of the Samaritan who was the alien deemed more godly than the natives? Nothing from the Sermon on the Mount, not even the bit about turning the other cheek?
And man created God in his image. In the Texas Republican Party, this is how a god looks.
*I still respect true Christians but no longer confuse fervency with faith.