CPAC- Anti-Jesus, Anti-American, Grifter Central, The Future Of The GOP
There hasn’t been much actual news out of CPAC this year— a tin pot fascist from a backward 4th rate Central European mini-state, a laughable right-wing version of performance art, the racist founder of Papa John’s Pizza claiming the quality of his old company’s pizza is now as bad as Little Caesar’s, as well as lots of crap celebrating violence against America and against democracy. The word of the weekend: illiberalism. And this was the film CPAC was pushing all weekend:
Tim Dickinson reported that “the conservative convention in Dallas this week menaced America with what seemed to be thinly veiled calls for violence, mostly coming from proud fascists like Orbán, Steve Bannon and Pizzagate progenitor Jack Posobiec. “Orbán,” he wrote, “called on CPAC attendees and the far-right in Europe to forge a global movement. ‘We should unite our forces,’ Orbán said, to ‘take back’ Washington and Brussels.” It’s outrageous— a symptom of what’s so weak and pathetic about the Biden administration, that the DOJ didn’t bundle Orbán onto a plane and send him back to Budapest immediately.
Calling Biden an “illegitimate imposter,” convicted but still unpunished criminal Steve Bannon reminded the audience that “we are at war” and claiming that the Democratic Party has been overrun by “radical, cultural Marxists” and “groomers” who “want to destroy the Republic,” and then calling on the Republican Party to pursue absolute victory over “power-mad and lawless” Democrats, asserting: “There can be no half measures anymore.”
On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz, laying on a thick Texas accent for the home-state crowd, inveighed against what he called the “power hungry, abusive totalitarian nitwits” of the Biden administration and the Democratically controlled Congress. Cruz likened his service in the Senate to that of a gladiator: “It’s like the old Roman Colosseum where you slam on a breastplate and you grab a battle axe and you go fight the barbarians,” he said of his Democrat colleagues. “As they say in the military world,” Cruz continued, “it is a target-rich environment.”
Cruz then suggested that more than elections may be needed for conservatives to take back Washington from those he called “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” Cruz told the crowd, “We’re on the cusp of something extraordinary in this country … And each of you are the vanguard. You are the dangerous radicals. Like the men who signed the Declaration of Independence … like those who died at the Alamo, you are the courageous heroes,” he insisted, “fighting for liberty in our country.”
I guess what passes for the big news comes this evening with the release of the annual who-do-fascists-want straw poll. Believe it or not, not everyone wants Señor Trumpanzee in the White House again, not even everyone at the fascist conclave.
This morning, John Pavlovitz hit the name right on the head: a microcosm of American Conservative heresy. “If you want to see a US State Representative engaging in performative religiosity in a fake jail cell while kneeling in pantomimed prayer at the feet of an admitted insurrectionist pretending to be a martyr— you can go to there and do that. While there, you’ll also see an endless parade of self-flagellating white Evangelical ministers advertising their defiance of non-existent oppression, a sea of Donald Trump-as-messiah airbrushed atrocities slapped on bellies and bumpers, and a small army of snarling and flexing ‘God and Guns’ supermarket soldiers who regularly pack heat at the Piggly Wiggly, open-carrying Bibles they’ve never read. What you won’t see there at CPAC— are any actual followers of Jesus, at least not the one from the Bible. You won’t find his compassionate heart for the poor and vulnerable, his expansive embrace of disparate humanity, or his sacrificial love for those who are hurting at CPAC— nor will you find any of these things in this GOP or at Trump rallies or in Right-Wing Evangelical churches.”
The only thing decent people of faith will find in Conservative religion is embarrassment.
Human beings earnestly seeking a meaningful and redemptive expression of empathy in the life and teachings of Jesus want no part of this heretical, predatory performance art. They want nothing to do with fear-mongering culture wars on same-sex couples and women’s rights and public education, or the overt racism of a white nationalism that would have been openly hostile to the Biblical Jesus.
They find it so cringeworthy that they are reluctantly leaving the faith tradition of their pasts and departing local churches, so as not to be mistaken for the precise kinds of charlatans and frauds Jesus spent his entire life warning people not to become.
Actual seekers of a spiritual path the calls upon their better angels and leans toward the common good, are embarrassed by Marjorie Taylor Greene and her party’s incessant mockery of genuine spirituality that aspires to love one’s neighbor and to do no harm.
Conservative Evangelicals are not the last faithful remnant of Christ’s Church standing firm for the Gospel in a Godless world that they claim to be— they are actively, violently, and almost singlehandedly triggering the exodus. Their shameless religious whoring and their loveless, predatory theocracy is something people of goodness simply cannot abide any longer.
As someone who was raised in the Christian tradition, who has spent more than two decades serving as a pastor in the local church, and who is still working out a working religion with fear and trembling— I am gradually extricating myself from it all, not because I no longer find great beauty in the teachings of Jesus, but because I am finding none of that beauty in this grotesque mockery of him.
In the coming days and years, the narrative of the MAGA Christians will continue to be what it has been since Donald Trump ascended as their vile, belligerent, spray-tanned messiah. They will talk about people like me and about you, and about the millions of human beings who have departed from the pews, as if we’ve done this because we have rejected Jesus’ invitation to love God, others, and ourselves.
But the truth is, we departed it to escape them, because their shameless, wanton weaponizing of religion was too grievous and cringeworthy to be associated with.
We’re not ashamed of Jesus, MAGA Church— we’re embarrassed by you.