At Westbrook’s annual tree lighting, the school brass band played Christmas carols, and a woman led the large crowd in a sing-along. But very few sang or seemed to know the words. I’m writing to urge folks to learn the words, not only to bring joy to your heart this season, but also to know about Christianity, which is one of the most powerful political forces in America today.

The heart of Jesus Christ’s teachings are captured in the song “O Holy Night”: “Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His Gospel is peace; chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name, all oppression shall cease.” These are the ideals that have thrilled billions of believers for 2,000 years.

Jesus’ teachings are not found in obscure Old Testament passages that are used to suppress people who are different from us. They are not found in the sometimes anti-Semitic writings later in the New Testament. And they are not the ideals of capitalism.

In fact, he literally turned the tables on religious leaders who put money and power above the needs of the common people. Instead, Jesus teaches us to care for the poor, to respect women, to forgive each other for minor sins and to love our neighbors in spite of our differences.

Whatever our beliefs, we all share the belief that actions speak louder than words, that people should act as they claim to believe. Yet politicians wrap themselves in Christianity and, in the name of appearing to be moderate, repeatedly vote for capitalism over Christian ideals and support leaders who act non-Christian and promote hatred instead of peace.

Look closely at their records and their support for your own ideals. Hypocritical politicians do not deserve your votes.

David Brown