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By Herb Silverman
I don’t think that politicians in our secular country should be quoting the Bible to make their case for legislation. That’s why I half agree with Virginia Rep. Dave Brat, the GOP lawmaker who famously upset former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 Republican primary. Here’s the half with which I disagree. Brat said that it’s fine for Republicans to quote the Bible, but not for Democrats to do so. He continued, “Our side, the conservative side, needs to re-educate its people that we own the entire [biblical] tradition.” What especially drew Brat’s ire was President Obama’s reasons for allowing Syrian refugees to enter our country, which included a biblical reference from James 1:27 about looking after widows and orphans.
If politicians can’t provide good evidence-based reasons to support an issue, they shouldn’t rely on an ancient pre-scientific book written by bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, intolerant, superstitious men. I understand why politicians often pander to people who prefer black and white theocratic decisions. After all, political pandering is bi-partisan. Brat, however, goes too far. Although I find his comments mildly amusing, if I were a Christian I’d be incensed by the way Brat is giving Christians a bad name (or worse name, depending on your point of view).
Some Republicans say we need to take our country back, but they usually don’t specify where or from whom. Perhaps they want to take our country back from a black president, or from Democrats. But they are not saying we need to take our government back, so perhaps they want to take our country back to the bad old days before we adopted civil rights legislation, equal rights for women and other minorities, and social programs that helped people in need.
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