Every so often a liberal pundit argues that even though Paul Ryan considers himself Catholic, his beliefs (on economics, at least) are closer to those of Ayn Rand than those of the Vatican. In a Friday piece for AlterNet, atheist writer CJ Werleman, author of books such as God Hates You. Hate Him Back, made a similar but far broader charge, claiming that Republicans in general routinely “conflate…Rand’s Atlas Shrugged with the Bible.”
In his article, Werleman discussed findings from a recent survey in which respondents speculated about the positions Jesus Christ would have taken on current political issues. Werleman opined that 80 percent of Democrats were right to think that Jesus would have backed universal health care (“it’s hard to imagine Jesus would deny care to those who lack the financial means to enjoy the comfort of our for-profit capitalist healthcare industry”) and declared that overall, the poll results showed that “Democrats align themselves more with the values of Jesus than [does] the proclaimed party of Jesus, the GOP.”
From Werleman’s piece (emphasis added):
Do you recall the part in the Bible where Jesus healed the leper, the blind, and raised Lazarus from the dead? I do. Apparently, Republicans remember those three respective biblical stories a little differently. According to a new YouGov poll, Republican Jesus did indeed heal the leper, the blind, and a dead man, but only after he asked each for a co-pay.
The poll was conducted July 1-2 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. On a wide range of political issues, from healthcare to gun control, from raising taxes on the rich to climate change, respondents were asked what would Jesus support or oppose.
According to the results of the poll, a majority of Democrats and independents have read the same version of Christianity’s Holy Book as I. For Republicans, however, it appears that, once again, they’ve conflated Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged with the Bible.
Eighty percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents said Jesus would support universal healthcare. Indeed it’s hard to imagine Jesus would deny care to those who lack the financial means to enjoy the comfort of our for-profit capitalist healthcare industry. But that’s not the Jesus Republicans know. Only 23 percent of Republicans believe Jesus would support healthcare for all.
“I was sick and you looked after me….I tell you the truth, whatever you do the least of my brothers, you also do for me,” Jesus said.
“Whatever,” Republicans say.
The Bible makes it clear Jesus was a Marxist before Marxism had a name. He distrusted the rich. “It’s easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter Heaven,” forewarned Jesus. The credo of the Beatitudes demonstrated Jesus saw the world in terms of class struggle. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.”
But only 18 percent of Republicans believe Jesus would support higher taxes on the rich…Sixty-three percent of Democrats believe Jesus would support raising taxes on the rich…
The decline of the mainstream church has allowed the Christian Right to misuse the Gospel to champion unfettered capitalism. For Republicans, “prosperity theology” has replaced the Beatitudes. In this Ayn Randian philosophy, God rewards the faithful with material wealth. The flip side of this theology is that to be poor means you are of little faith, and, ipso facto, must be a sinner…
Clearly, Democrats align themselves more with the values of Jesus than the proclaimed party of Jesus, the GOP. To put Republican values in view, consider Matthew 25:31-46. In this oft-quoted New Testament passage, Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”…