Faith is always an important subject during Republican conventions and during Republican primary debates to determine who is worthy enough and convicted enough by God to lead this country. Until this point, it was always perplexing to some why faith in God would matter so much to a party that ignores some of the most important teachings of the God they are so adamant about believing in.
But, I've finally found some answers. A Republican friend of mine asked me to join him attending a fundraiser for the Republican running to be a state representative in his county. Being the open-minded individual I am, I accepted the invitation.
As we entered, there was a greeter at the door passing out Bibles. You know, the same way they do at the gay pride parades to heal all of the homos. But this one was different. On the cover it said The RIV Bible. I asked the greeter, "What's the RIV Bible? I've never heard of this before." He responded, "Ah, it's the Republican International Version. It's kind of like our own denomination. There's already too many to keep count of, so what's one more going to hurt?" I couldn't help but agree, and I began to read Matthew.
In the book of Matthew of the RIV version, there's a couple of interesting interpretations of the verses I read growing up as a child:
Matthew 5:38-42 You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' And I tell you, this much is true. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, then sock them on their right cheek. If someone kills you, kill them back. If someone wants to sue you for $400, then hire a lawyer. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you and their credit score shall determine how much interest you shall charge.
Matthew 6:5-8 And when you pray, do be like the righteous, as they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, the more hypocrites who see you pray, the larger the reward. So when you pray, go onto a stage, invite all of your supporters and charge an admission so that everyone can see. Then your Father who sees what is done in public, will reward you. And when you pray drag out your requests and speak as long as you'd like out loud because your Father knows not what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 7:1-2 Do not judge , or you too will be judged. So I say to you, if you just cannot withstand to judge your brother or sister use this phrase, "Hate the sin, not the sinner" As this is something I have said several times before.
Matthew 10:34-37 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. (Surprisingly enough this was just as it read in the versions I read as a kid. This one wasn't translated differently at all.)
Matthew 19:16-26 A man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus said obey the commandments if you want to enter life. "Which ones though?" asked the man. Jesus told him, Don't murder, don't steal, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. "Well I've done all these things." responded the man. Then Jesus said to him that if he wants to be perfect to go sell of his possessions and give to the poor, because charitable donations are tax-deductible anyways. Then Jesus turned to the group and said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." When the group heard this they gasped, "Who then can be saved? We're all so rich." Then, Jesus, remembering that most of his followers were very rich responded, "Well it certainly is a task for a rich man to enter into heaven, but with God all things are possible. Carry on. But still sell all your possessions if you want to be perfect and give to the poor. But if you don't want to, that's okay. Because of God."
Matthew 6:1-4 Be sure to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you don't, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, make out an outrageously large check that should be held by yourself and the recipient for a photo opp. And when you give to the needy take your right hand and your left hand and grasp them together and shake them over your head. Then, your father, who sees what is done in public, will reward you.
After reading the RIV version of the Bible, I immediately forgot about all of the versions I had read before. I finally understood why faith was so important to the Republican party.