Watchdog Blog

Herb Strentz: God, Checking in on the Iowa GOP

Posted at 10:59 am, June 4th, 2012
Herb Strentz Mug

Intrigued by Republicans who say GOP stands for God’s Own Party and that the Iowa GOP is controlled by the religious right, the Almighty is considering sending Archangel Gabriel to Des Moines to take in the Iowa GOP state convention, Saturday, June 16. Such a visit might result in this exchange between Gabe and the Almighty (OMG in the vernacular).

OMG: So how’s it going?

GABE: Well, Sir, it’s not exactly what we had thought in terms of ‘God’s own…”

OMG: Well, that’s not surprising that our expectations are not met. Been there; done that. But there must be a lot of John 3:16 signs, right? I mean, it’s interesting how those signs show up even at football games.

GABE: Yes, but 3:16 is about You loving the World and these folks are into American exceptionalism, not concerns about others in the world. They see global concerns as some sort of United Nations plot with a diabolical scheme called Agenda 21 to deprive them of their freedom. Paranoid, if you ask me.

OMG: Agenda 21? Oh never mind, but what about the grace offered through My giving of My Son?

GABE: That’s another thing, Lord, they condemn just about anything they can characterize as a handout.

OMG: Well, okay, so long as they take steps to help one another. You know, the Good Samaritan kind of thing.

GABE: Well, your supposed party isn’t into Luke 10 as much as it is into Platform Planks 1.9 and 4.7. As I read those, they want to make sure that people don’t have to help those they disagree with — like renting to them or providing medicine. I know Your Son socialized with tax collectors and sinners but that’s a tough sell here. Tax collectors especially. And “socialize,” too.

OMG: But there is concern with the needy, right? “The first shall become last, and the last shall become the first”

GABE: I don’t know how to put this Sir, but Plank 4.1 is against any redistribution of wealth, or sharing the good things in life, I suppose. And despite the manifold healings performed by Jesus and his disciples, Plank 18.3 says being healthy is “a privilege.”

OMG: Is there any bit of scripture they abide by?

GABE: Oh, I suppose, Mark 14.7. You know, “The poor you will always have with you.” That seems to be sort of a mission statement here.

OMG: Enough, Gabe! Enough! Give me some good news.

GABE: Sure. Let’s see. Well, under Plank 26.23 when the meek inherit the earth they won’t have to pay an estate tax. And Plank 12.11, among others, calls for posting the 10 Commandments all over the place and Planks 6.13 and 12.10 support voluntary prayer.

OMG: Oy Vey! Look, the 10 Commandments weren’t my best work, didn’t accent the positive enough and then Moses loses his temper and breaks the first set. How about the new commandment given by my Son, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I thought we made it clear in Matthew that “all the law and the prophets” depend on that. And what’s so great about supporting voluntary prayer? We’ve never been much on coerced prayer up here.

GABE: Pardon me, Lord, but don’t blame the messenger. Oh, and maybe in terms of good news, Plank 12:12 is for preserving “In God We Trust” and other signs of the Almighty, like “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance — preserving those phrases in public life.

OMG: Okay, to recap: You think John 3:16 is likened to a devilish UN scheme, the Good Samaritan isn’t a role model, not much concern with helping the poor and the sick, but lots of support for “In God we trust.” That about do it?

GABE: Well, maybe I shouldn’t mention it, but Plank 17.8 would allow people to carry concealed weapons into services where they worship You — something to keep guns handy in case anyone tries to drive out the moneychangers, if you get my drift. They don’t much care for government protection against bullies — none of this “don’t cast the first stone” Oh, and they’re pretty much against separation of church and state.

OMG: Against separation of church and state? Seems to me the platform you’ve described does a pretty good job of separating love, concern, hope and compassion from politics.

GABE: Uh, I’m heading home Sir. This isn’t heaven. It’s the Iowa GOP.

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