Religious right, or wrong?

If Jesus Christ were on earth today, would he pledge support for Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan and the “Christian Coalition?” I doubt it.

The “religious right” has become the new dark empire of American politics, with Robertson serving as the 20th- century Darth Vader. The image is partly undeserved, but the religious right is definitely a force. I’m just not sure the dark side isn’t responsible for some of their force.

Far be it from me to criticize those with religious motivation for entering the political arena, but the agenda of the Christian Coalition seems to be straying a bit from the pages of the gospels.

Men and women with religious convictions have been the movers and shakers of U.S. policy since the 13 colonies.

The abolition of slavery, war protests, the civil rights movement, prohibition, pro-life struggles and the very framing of our Constitution all obviously had major players of deep religious faith. Contrary to the opinion that religion is medieval and stagnant in “modern culture,” it would seem that the U.S. would be stuck in the dark ages if not for the boldness of many brave souls who took their strength from God.

The modern Christian Coalition, however, would like to propagate an across-the-board conservative economic program to satisfy its white, middle-to-upper-class constituency.

Wasn’t Jesus the guy who preached about feeding the poor? Was this the same guy who forgave a thief and murderer on the cross? Didn’t he chase the moneylenders out of the temple? Weren’t his archenemies, the pharisees—the conservative religious leaders of the day?

Maybe I’ve got the new Democratic, bleeding-heart translation of the Bible, but I’m pretty sure Pat Robertson’s says the same things as mine.

The Christian Coalition, largely made up of Reagan disciples, used to focus most of its attention on abortion and other pro-family, pro-God items like school. Its real momentum surged on the grass roots circuit in local and school board elections.

The Coalition finds much of its new fervor personally attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton and slamming domestic policy unfavorable to the wealthy. They’re now trying to develop a position on NAFTA.

I realize there are legitimate grounds to criticize all the above items, but I’m not sure where the concept of a Christian endorsement for a particular economic agenda comes from. Christians should have a place in economic decisions, but I’m not sure Christ’s interests are being served here. Pat Buchanan’s interests, however, are definitely being served.

I searched vigorously through my Bible concordance, but I was shocked to find no entry whatsoever on NAFTA. Imagine that. Well, I suppose we’ll have to look to our modern-day pharisees for an answer.

It’s refreshing to know that a Christian politician believes in God and absolute truth, but many if not most political issues don’t come down to black and white, figuratively speaking. Unfortunately, when issues do come down to black and white literally speaking, the Christian Coalition often leans heavily toward white.

It seems a bit pompous for Christian leaders to try to stamp a cross on sticky economic issues. As a Christian, I try to look at everything that confronts me through Biblical lenses, both personally and socially. I realize that sometimes I’ll be wrong because of my own flaws and misunderstandings. The same goes for any priest, pastor, theologian or Christian politician.

As David Broder, syndicated pundit, said last week, “….on many vexing issues, the religious right may not have a monopoly on truth.”