Following Jason Rapert’s announcement that he was quitting his day job so that he could beg people for millions of dollars in order to spread the gospel of a known hate group, a friend’s email reminded me of a post I’d considered writing many times before. Specifically, it has become exceedingly clear that–despite his protests to the contrary–Jason Rapert is a modern-day Pharisee.
First, some context, for the heathens and non-Christians in the group.1 The Pharisees were prominent leaders during Jesus’ time, and they were viewed–especially by themselves–as the best, most holy, most righteous leaders.2 Most notably, Pharisees were infamous for taking the laws of the Old Testament, adding to them, and making them ridiculously specific, so that they could then show the people just how great the Pharisees were because of how they kept the letter of the law according to how they themselves had written it. Over time, the term “Pharisee” has become synonymous with a religious hypocrite; while that is a facet, however, Jason Rapert is much more of a traditional Pharisee than “hypocrite” can possibly cover.
Let’s look at the evidence.
Verse: Do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father.” -Matt. 3:9.
Translation:3 Pharisees exult and glory in their connection to godly men.
How it applies to Rapert: How many times have you seen Jason Rapert bragging about knowing Franklin Graham or name-dropping some famous religious leader. He consistently implies that, because he knows these men, that makes him a better Christian.
Verse: The Pharisees do all their deeds to be noticed by men. -Matt. 23:5.
Translation: Pharisees treat their displays, especially of religion, as a demonstration, so that others may see them and offer words of approval.
How it applies to Rapert: Really? This is Rapert’s raison d’etre. He is literally incapable of undertaking deeds, large or small, without screaming about it from the rooftops.
Verse: Woe to you, Pharisees, because for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. -Matt. 23:14.
Translation: Similar to the last verse, Pharisees make their public prayers lengthy so that people will think they are more godly.
How it applies to Rapert: A 3,700-word email about what God has planned for you, how much money you need to complete God’s purposes, and how bad America is and will be if you are not given the money? Yeah….
Verse: They love to sit at the head of the table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called “Doctor” and “Reverend.” -Matt. 23:6-8 (MSG)
Translation: Pharisees love positions of honor and meaningless titles.
How it applies to Rapert: An honorary doctorate for his religion? Check. A person who feels the need to sign all emails “Senator Jason Rapert” and even introduces himself on voicemails as “Senator Jason Rapert”? Check. “Preening in the radiance of public flattery”? That’s pretty much the first line of his CV.
Verse: You Pharisees tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law. -Matt. 23:23.
Translation: Pharisees care more about the letter of the law than the spirit of the law (e.g., they care more about black/white issues than Jesus’s commandment to love one another).
How it applies to Rapert: Jason Rapert spends infinitely more time telling people–through words and through his introduction of legislation–what they are doing wrong in the eyes of god than he does trying to be Christ-like. When pressed on an issue, or when questioned about his interpretation of what the Bible condones, Rapert blocks/ignores the person questioning him and proclaims his own superiority for following the rules.
Verse: God, I thank You that I am not a swindler, or unjust, or an adulterer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get. -Luke 18:11-12.
Translation: Pharisees love to point out their own accomplishments and exult in what they are not in an effort to elevate themselves above others.
How it applies to Rapert: Jason Rapert never misses an opportunity to remind people of what he has accomplished (even when those “accomplishments” were meaningless or were overall bad for most Arkansans).
He also frequently points out people that he considers to be non-Christian (based on the criteria he has laid out for what constitutes a true Christian), in an effort to elevate himself morally above the people he sees as failing.
Verse: The Pharisees were lovers of money. -Luke 16:14.
How it applies to Rapert: Begging for $4.2M+ per year, taking payment from a company that he alleges will create a lock that makes classrooms safer in active-shooter scenarios, taking commissions from the people to whom he provides financial advise or sells insurance. The list goes on and on; this is, quite literally, the easiest of the Pharisee attributes to see in Stanley.
Verse: The Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.” -Matt. 12:2.
Translation: Pharisees become critical of others over relatively minor matters.
How it applies to Rapert: You know, above, when I said love of money was the easiest one to pin on Rapert? I stand corrected.
(Note: there were maybe TWO supportive comments regarding his meeting with the new UCA President. ALL OF THE REST were negative. Gotta love how Stanley spins it as “some of the hateful posts.”)
Verse: Woe to you, Pharisees, because you devour widows’ houses. -Matt. 23:14.
Translation: Pharisees take advantage of poor people.
How it applies to Rapert: Lying to constituents–or using religion as a guise to fool those constituents–in order to get them to vote against their own interests is the big one. But there is also his asking people to donate to his new religious endeavor without concern for whether the people can afford any donations (and implying that one should give, regardless of means), and using his Holy Ghost Ministries and the money it raises from donors to promote himself as a godly man.
Verse: The Pharisees said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons.” -Matt. 12:24.
Translation: Pharisees assume the worst in others and are suspicious of all.
How it applies to Rapert:
Verse: The disciples came and said to Jesus, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” Jesus said, “Leave them alone.” -Matt. 15:12-14.
Translation: Pharisees are thin-skinned and easily offended.
How it applies to Rapert: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Verse: The Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” -John 9:16.
Translation: Pharisees judge godly people for not doing something a Pharisee does.
How it applies to Rapert: Are you a Christian who disagrees with Jason Rapert about, say, gay marriage or anti-discrimination against LGBT people or allow trans-gendered persons in the Boy Scouts or any other issue? According to Rapert, you must not actually be a Christian, because you don’t think the same way he does.
Verse: The Pharisees went out and conspired against Jesus, as to how they might destroy him. -Matt. 12:14.
Translation: Pharisees are motivated by jealousy and hatred.
How it applies to Rapert: The man literally spends the overwhelming majority of his legislative time introducing bills that hurt women, the poor, minorities, and other groups that he hates. He fights against marriage equality, either because he hates the LGBT population or because he is jealous of them. The list here goes on and on.
Verse: The Pharisees told him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out. -John 9:34.
Translation: Pharisees persecute people they don’t agree with.
How it applies to Rapert: See literally everything I wrote in the previous entry, then throw in having a hearing on Valentine’s Day on his proposed petition to the federal government to outlaw gay marriage.
Verse: Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. -Luke 12:1.
Translation: Pharisees are hypocrites.
How it applies to Rapert:
Call him a hypocrite and see how he bristles, even when he is actually being a huge hypocrite. Also:
Verse: You Pharisees have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done. -Matt. 23:23.
Translation: Pharisees ignore the spirit of God’s laws in their quest to focus on the letter of the laws, and they ignore justice, mercy, and faithfulness to God as a result.
How it applies to Rapert: The next time Jason Rapert introduces a bill that is both just and merciful to all people, it will be the first time. Jason has thrown “love thy neighbor” out the window–making him unfaithful to God–in his quest to strip justice and mercy from the groups with which he disagrees.
This list could go on and on, but there is no need, because the conclusion is inescapable. Whether in the more modern sense of Pharisee (e.g., a religious hypocrite who believes that God needs him in order to achieve some goal) or in the more traditional sense of Pharisee, as laid out above, it is clear that Jason Rapert’s faux Christianity and fake godliness are little more than a mask he wears to hide the fact that he has far more in common with the Pharisees than with the Jesus he claims to love. Worse, because he has managed to get elected, he is able to impose his Pharisaical beliefs on the people of Arkansas, while disgustingly doing so in the name of his personal concept of religion as a tool for imposing hatred and bigotry.
The delicious irony here is that Jason Rapert, while proselytizing and suggesting that others will go to Hell unless they believe as he does, ignores Matthew 5:20: “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” So, if you believe in such things, it would appear that Jason Rapert is going to be keeping company in the afterlife with the very people he condemns.