Maryann Tobin

Since the birth of the Tea Party in 2010, the Republican Party has taken a sharp turn to the right. But while the talking points seem to reference more freedom, reality is turning out to be something quite different.

The Christian Bible seems to be the new handbook for Conservative politicians these days. But are they really practicing the teachings of Jesus Christ, or are they just using religion to achieve some other goal?

Even people who have never read the Bible know that Jesus often preached about healing the sick and feeding the poor. The very premise of the teachings of the Christ in the Bible is actually much closer to liberal political principals than conservative ones. So why then has the Republican Party attached itself so vehemently to the Good Book?

The issue of women's reproductive rights and abortion are probable the best example of the blurring lines between religion and politics.

Under Tea Party rule, women now have less freedom to control their own bodies. Abortions, which are constitutionally legal, now face more barriers than ever before. That's because conservative lawmakers believe that constitutional laws that conflict with their personal religious beliefs should be blocked by the government on the local level.

Yet the fight over abortion rights is not about preserving life. If it were, right-to-life advocates would not murder abortion doctors.

Regardless of religious background, millions of people are familiar with the Ten Commandments, particularly the one that says, "Thou shalt not kill."

In order to apply Biblical principals to justify exchanging the life of a fetus for the life of an adult, one has to go back to the Hebrew Old Testament and invoke the familiar promise of revenge in trading "an eye for an eye."

The Christian Bible is well known for its numerous contradictions. What is coming into question as religious beliefs further infiltrate American conservative politics, is not only the mixing of Church and state, but the use of the Bible as a political instrument to promote policy.

Have conservative lawmakers pushed the electorate across an ethical precipice into an environment of religious fundamentalist governing?

Abortion and women's rights are legitimate political issues, but they also seem to be the symptom of a deeper problem. Not all American women are Christians.

If government uses the individual interpretation of religious doctrine as the basis for lawmaking, especially if those laws are not supported by a majority of the electorate, how do the principals of the Constitution escape becoming hollow words on a museum exhibit?

Freedom of Religion must also include freedom from having the religious values of others forced on unwilling citizens by the government. That is what happens in fascism, dictatorships, and communist governments – not in American democracy.

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