Dear Religious Right: The Republican Party Is Playing You For Fools

ted-cruzWhile Republicans often like to act like they’re for “religious freedom,” the truth is the GOP couldn’t care less about religion. The Republican party uses Christianity as a tool to manipulate millions of Americans by playing on irrational fears often linked to their religious beliefs.

History shows us that one of the single most effective ways to control large groups of people is through religion. Looking back throughout human history, those who questioned or doubted some of the long-held belief of religious leaders were often shunned, imprisoned or sometimes even killed.

In this country, religion is used by Republicans to manipulate tens of millions of Americans into voting against their own interests. You have politicians quoting the economic teachings of someone like Ayn Rand, a woman who rejected religion while embracing selfishness, while trying to cite the beliefs of Jesus Christ. They’re literally trying to mix two completely contradicting ideologies.

But it works for them because they use religion to distract people from thinking rationally.

Right now we have millions of people who feverishly oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage, but they really have no idea why. Claiming “the Bible says…” isn’t a logical defense even when factoring in just the religious context of an argument, considering the Bible lists plenty of rules that these same “devout” Christians seem more than happy to ignore. And being that the legal aspect of marriage in this country (which is really the only one that matters) has absolutely nothing to do with religion, citing religion to oppose the legal definition of marriage makes absolutely no sense.

Abortion is another issue where the religious right gets completely manipulated by Republicans. This is the party that claims to be “pro-life,” while essentially bragging about how much they love using the death penalty. Not only that, but the GOP continually proves that they only care about “life” when it’s a fetus. After that child is born, the very same “pro-life” party is out there pushing for cuts to government programs such as Medicaid and SNAP – the biggest beneficiaries of those programs being impoverished children. I’m not exactly sure how a party can be “pro-life” while pushing for cuts to food and health benefits for children who are sick and starving.

A point that’s never made any sense to me is if Republicans are so concerned with preventing abortion to “preserve life,” wouldn’t they be the biggest advocates for proper sex education and access to birth control? Considering that unplanned pregnancies account for the vast majority of abortions, one would think that a party that so strongly opposes abortion would be the biggest supporter of anything that might help prevent someone from having one.

Except, they’re not. In fact, Republicans are almost as opposed to sex education and access to contraceptives as they are to abortion itself. In other words, they’re literally supporting policies that lead to more women having abortions – while opposing abortion rights.

But the newest propaganda tool is this ridiculous idea that “religion is under attack.” That’s why we’ve seen a gluttony of these “religious freedom” laws being pushed in many Republican-controlled states. They have actually somehow managed to bring Jim Crow-style laws into the 21st century. Only, instead of “whites only” they want it to be “straights only.”

And because Republicans manipulate these religious people so well, millions of Americans are supporting these laws that seek to legalize discrimination.

But the bottom line is, the religious right is being played for fools. Republicans realized that if they just acted as if they cared about certain social issues, they could manipulate millions of people into supporting economic policies that screwed themselves over. They realized that people would be too distracted with their opposition to same-sex marriage or abortion rights to realize that while they survive on Social Security, or their children go to public school, the party they vote for is pushing for cuts to entitlement programs and reductions to funding for public education – all while supporting more tax breaks for the rich.

Even now millions of conservatives oppose the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that they’re benefitting from the law. But they’ll never support the law because President Obama is a “Christian-hating Muslim” as far as they’re concerned.

It’s just amazing to me how these people fail to see that they’re being manipulated and used. The Republican party is using these social issues to make the richest among us even richer by getting millions of Americans to vote for an economic platform that literally only benefits millionaires and billionaires.

But I think the worst part is, Republicans don’t even try to hide the fact that they treat their voters like fools – and conservatives seem to eagerly eat it right up.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • Michael Siever

    My biggest problem with the religious right isn’t that they are necessarily wrong about Islam; it’s that they are hypocrites over Islam. Sure, these right-wing Christians aren’t necessarily wrong in telling us how countries with Sharia law execute gays and treat women and non-followers of their faith like shit. But, look me in the eyes and tell me they wouldn’t dream of having the exact same thing here in America, with Christianity in lieu of Islam, if they ever got a super-majority in both houses of Congress, control over the White House, and 2 or 3 more seats on the bench of SCOTUS. They rag on American Muslims for not denouncing Islamic terrorism, but I don’t see any fundies denouncing Scott Lively for his crimes against humanity in Uganda, or that guy in California, of all places, who wanted to put a “let’s execute the gays” initiative on the ballot. They have got blood on their hands, too.

    • CanisRattusImperator

      Hmm… That’s not equivalent at all. You would be correct if Jesus and Mohamed taught the same thing. Jesus said to love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you and to turn the other cheek if struck. So if you kill folks in his name, you are not following his teachings.
      Mohamed said you should subjugate the non-believers. He personally led an army in the sack if Mecca, and during his lifetime, oversaw the conquest of the Arabian peninsula. So, if you go around killing folks in his name, you are following his teachings.

      • RRoocckkyy50

        Hmm, but there are chapters & verses through the Bible that are contrary, or contradict, the next; it was made that way: A multiple choice/choose your own adventure book.

        Jesus is all loving in one sense, as a war monger that loves taxation in another, it all depends on which verses you chose to fit your bias. The Bible was designed that way.

      • Susan Weber

        There are verses in the old testament that tell you to kill non-believers. It is all about cherry picking. READ your own bible. 2. Chronicles 15:12-13, Deuteronomy 13:13-19 to name a few.

      • RRoocckkyy50

        Yep. 🙂

    • RRoocckkyy50

      I agree with you, Michael.

  • Guest

    How is this news?

  • Keith

    Ted Cruz is not using the Religious Right, he is one of them. Listen to one of his fathers sermons, talk about crazy!

    • GilGordon

      He isn’t one of “them”, the man is play acting and his father is nothing more then a 21st Century version of Elmer Gantry! Both wear the label of Christian, the label, and that’s all there is about them that is Christian!

      The people they sell their version of snake oil to, are so easily manipulated by the act that Cruz the Elder puts on…because they have a delusional desire to believe that they actually make a difference and by using hate in the name of their God they can bring about the Apocalypse.

      If the people of the religious right would actually read the Bible, and not listen to Cruz and others like him…they may wake up and realize that they’ve been duped…but people like that need to be led, because that’s what they’ve been told since Christianity stopped being a good idea and was made into a belief!

      • Keith

        Well, I chose to find god on my own. My personal opinion is that Religion is the most destructive force in human history.

  • pfair143

    Religion has been hijacked by the right from a reason to believe to an excuse to hate.

    • Gary Menten

      Historically, religion has always been ripe for hijacking by whatever clever dick comes along who is able to convince the masses that a heavenly reward awaits those who do as charlatans tell them to in this life.

      • pfair143

        Today’s right shall take their place in history but will not acknowledge it just as the others have not done.

  • Mark Duwe

    Here’s a fact the religious right, and I mean the part that is over 50 or 60, will have to get used to. Kids, 18-25, believe in the idea of heaven and hell less than any other time in recorded history. Once kids stop believing in these myths the religious right will die a slow death in a quiet nursing home.

    • marecek21

      If they would prefer, we could make it a quick one.