Grrr: The Bitter Diatribes of a Liberal Evangelical Christian
Yes, I'm an evangelical Christian. Yes, I'm a registered Democrat. I just thought that I should preface everything I'm about to say with that.
Repeatedly, over the years, I've been asked (mostly from fellow Christians) how I could be liberal and an evangelical Christian at the same time. To which I usually ask, "What makes you think that Jesus is a conservative?" Time and time again, the issues of gay marriages and abortion come up in supporting the idea that conservative standpoints are inherantly Christian. Bible passages usually spring up further bolstering this ideology. And I won't deny (to some extent) that when it comes to gay marriages and abortion, that conservative viewpoints match up with Christian viewpoints (though I don't agree with conservative means of propagating this ideology). The morality of these two issues is a common point for conservatives and Christians.
What I don't understand is why many Christians, on the basis of these two issues, gay marriages and abortion, then deduce that conservatism equals Christianity. Or would go even further to say that George W Bush's stern denunciation of these two issues therefore shows "strong moral character," "courage," or "integrity." Integrity is a character that is shown in action. On the issues of gay marriages and abortion, all George W Bush has done is give a verbal denunciation. In other issues however, he has 1) made the rich, richer by making them the biggest beneficiaries of the tax cuts he has put in place, 2) set a new U.S. foreign policy precedence of preemptive strikes (by the way it can be argued that Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike and that 9/11 was a preemptive strike), 3) allowed big corporations to ignore previously applied environmental laws protecting natural habitats around the world (we backed out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001... who was President in 2001?), 4) increased military spending in a nation that already far outspends any other country on weapons (including WMDs), 5) lied about the reason why we're in Iraq, still doesn't concede that he made a mistake (some call that integrity, I call it bullheadedness), and numbers of US and Iraqi casualties are the result of this war that never should've started... that we continue to maintain.
When I was in Japan, people asked me about these 5 issues and many others that I can't seem to recall. What's more is that the Japanese know that George W Bush is Christian because he blares out his faith in word with a bullhorn. Naturally, they asked me one of two questions. 1) "Is George W Bush really a Christian?" 2) "Are George W Bush's decisions based on his religion?" My biggest tiff with Bush is that he was a roadblock to my sharing my faith. Because he's so publicly Christian, many people around the world equate what he says and does as Christian. Many countries naturally assumed that already with America's policies pre-Bush, but with Bush announcing his faith in very direct manner, more people are taking note. By observing Bush's policies, many I came across came to the conclusion that to be Christian meant that 1) you don't care about the underprivilaged, 2) you support the concept of war, 3) you don't care about the environment, 4) you want to be the king of the hill, 5) you stick to your guns even if you're wrong (overly simplistic, I know). Is this integrity?
All that said, I'm quite angry at the Democratic Party. Never before have I felt so alienated by the Democratic Party. I can understand why there's been such a backlash from evangelicals against the Democrats. I have felt belittled and ignored. Democratic think tanks threw faith out as a non-issue years ago, and have been paying the costs since then. In their books, people don't make decisions based on their faith. How terribly wrong they've been. The black Christian vote switching to the Republicans this time around is as clear an indication of that as you can possibly get. Instead of downplaying the gay marriage and abortion issues, why not highlight their civil service policies and show the connection to the life of Jesus? Why not highlight environmental issues and point the way to Bible passages that support such stances? Why not show how morally unacceptable this war is instead of engaging in a back and forth of who's right? If the Republican party wants to go on a values war, show America your guns.