Republican leadership has made a point of appealing to America's old-schoolers by portraying itself as having a Christian core. But its actions oppose the human compassion that is tantamount to Christianity. Tolerance and understanding are neglected for legislation refusing to recognize homosexual marriages. Compassion and forgiveness are abandoned in favor of the death penalty. Charity, generosity and goodwill are forgotten in order to try to reduce taxes. "Liberal" and "Christian" should be nearly synonymous in the ears of the American public. Liberals, socialists, hippies, or whatever other titles you'd like to call them, are the idealists in American society. They have always pushed for the equality and compassion within the human race that is the cornerstone of Christian faith.

In actuality, liberals are depicted as pests that infect traditional American culture. Republicans make a habit of pointing out liberals' personal weaknesses and flaws, pretending that they are made of a higher moral fiber. For years, right-wingers have claimed Christianity as their own to disguise their glass houses as brick, throwing stones at whomever's in sight. Why, then, if these men are such morally upstanding Christians, do they push policy that is so detrimental to Christian ideals? Restricting people's rights based on sexual orientation is wrong. If a man wants to marry a man, or a woman a woman, nobody from a local parishioner to Dick Cheney ought to stand in their way.

I refuse to believe that a God that could give up his only son for the good of the Earth would abandon someone because they happen to prefer members of the same sex. If you're going to claim to be a Christian, then you better be ready to embrace the message of tolerance and unconditional love that Jesus brought to the world. Homosexuality is not a sin, it is not an abnormality, and it is not an imperfection. It is simply a variety in the human population that should be granted the same respect that we have come to grant any other variation in the world community. The unfair treatment of gays is only the beginning of conservative Republican hypocrisy. They also seem to have forgotten their Sunday school lessons about compassion and forgiveness. According to the GOP Web site, Republicans blame current crime rates on "social upheaval provoked by the welfare, drug and crime policies of the 1960s and later." They seem to think that a strong, "effective deterrent death penalty" is the answer for crime rates that the Web site admits are lower now than they have been in a generation.

If by "deterrent" Republicans mean to say "grossly overused," then their proposal to pack the U.S. Sentencing Commission makes perfect sense. The U.S. Sentencing Commission is in charge of establishing punishment parameters to ensure that offenders of similar crimes receive similar punishments. The Commission's Web site lists "drug trafficking, fraud, immigration offenses and bank robberies" as the most common cases in federal courts. Despite the largely non-violent nature of these offenses, Republicans would like to reserve two of the seven seats on the commission for victims of violent crimes. Drug traffickers and bank robbers might not be the nicest people in the world, but allowing two bloodthirsty victims to determine their punishments is serving vengeance, not justice. Our leaders' competency in handling crime is certainly a pertinent issue, but is the death penalty really the Christian thing to do? Have we made any kind of attempt to improve our fellow man if we put him to death after his first violent offense? Are we granting the forgiveness that the Bible recommends? George W. Bush might be raising his children to turn the other cheek, but it's impossible to believe that he practices what he's preaching when he put more people to death than any other governor in history.

Now here's a mindbender: If Christians are suppose to help support the needy, then why do wealthy Republicans have such a problem with welfare? You would think that our newly elected Christian philanthropists would be all for welfare. Alas, Bush and his cronies have long been in favor of abandoning or drastically reducing welfare payments because it requires tax money. Over one trillion in tax cuts is more convenient for Republicans and their corporate sponsors than the business of ensuring that all people are able to maintain a certain minimal quality of life. Republicans may be Christian by name, but their political practices are anything but.

The Republicans that were elected to the capital this past year ought to be able to recognize that the morals they claim govern their everyday lives should carry over to the manner in which they govern the country. Unfortunately, they seem to draw a line somewhere between advocating humanitarian ideals and putting them into practice in Washington. Restricting peoples' rights, supporting and expanding capital punishment, and favoring the rich are not answers to the question "What Would Jesus Do?" Hiding practices behind the life of a man who stood for acceptance and altruism is a gross exploitation of the Christian faith.