Anyone who watched the Bill Moyers report on the career and activities of Ralph Reed would have been deeply troubled. What Reed stands for is not the gospel of a homeless man who was unjustly tortured and executed for the sins of the world, which is what he claims, but what seems like a different gospel, one that supports the interests of the well-to-do against those of the weak and underprivileged.
Few trends are more worrisome than the uses now being made of biblical terms and images in politics. Politicians deliberately and calculatedly proclaim their devotion to God. Would that it were true! — at least I wish that an authentic appreciation of the biblical texts as they are would be reflected in the behavior of our leaders; there is a great absence of discernment and wisdom fitting to the challenges of leadership in the modern world. The Psalmist (139:20, NIV) says, “They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.” Even people who know nothing about the Bible or have no use for it consider the new prominence of religious claims in politics to be cynical, like the psalmist here. We are all disgusted by the pious use of grand moralistic rhetoric by public figures whose life bears no particular evidence of an authentic fear of heaven. The recent past provides examples without number of the callous use of moral claims to justify policies that are animated by the usual incentives: pride, envy, greed, lust.
Here let us insist what we all intuitively feel, no matter what side we are on: that claims to high minded moral ideals in order to masque the agendas of the rich and powerful, to the detriment of the poor and the weak, debase all that is authentic and good in the world.
Here is some of what Moyers had turned up on the activities of this guy.
Ralph Reed: From Purgatory to Power[For the rest click on the site above, or watch Bill Moyers and Company, PBS]
BILL MOYERS: Welcome. If you watched the Republican Convention in Tampa only on Primetime television you would have missed the story we're about to report. And it's the one that could make the biggest difference on Election Day in November. On the seventh day, we're told, God rested. But not Ralph Reed. There he was, the Sunday before the convention opened, speaking at a rally of his Faith and Freedom Coalition.
RALPH REED: We're here today not just to celebrate faith and freedom but to pray for its survival. And unlike the other side, we haven't gathered in this city this week to anoint a messiah, because you see we already have a messiah. And we're not looking for one here on earth.
BILL MOYERS: Reed's message was directed to conservative Christians Mitt Romney must convert to his cause if he's to be elected president. Romney is a Mormon, a faith many on the religious right consider a cult, even a heresy. There's no love for Romney among these people, but they are united in their loathing of Barack Obama. And that's where Ralph Reed comes in.
RALPH REED: Four years ago, we heard a lot of talk about hope and change. People were fainting at campaign rallies. There were Che Guevera posters hanging in dorm rooms. There was one candidate who stood in front of Greek columns and vowed to heal the planet and cause the oceans to recede. But you see our hope is in something this world doesn't fully understand. We hope for a kingdom yet to come. The hope of a new heaven and a new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness. A place where every tear will be wiped away. And every broken heart will be healed. And all the pain and brokenness and poverty and injustice of this world will be gone.
BILL MOYERS: But first there's the devil to chase.
NEWT GINGRICH: I believe that Barack Obama is a direct threat to the survival of the country I grew up in.
PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY: Dear friends, our religious liberty is at stake in this election, because Obama is at war with all religion in any public place, any public square, any public school.
TED CRUZ: For the first time in centuries the president of the United States has officially declared himself an enemy of traditional marriage between one man and one woman.
BILL MOYERS: You are witness to a modern tale of resurrection. A second-coming. The Bible speaks of Lazarus, raised by Jesus from the grave to walk again among the living. Ralph Reed, too, has been returned to life, political life. But he goes Lazarus one further. Lazarus was a poor man. Reed is rich, and he just keeps getting richer from mixing religion and politics. And that's a story you don't want to miss. ...