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For 20 plus years I have gone to men's Bible studies and a conservative Presbyterian church where they expoused right wing republican principles and I've always felt a hypocrisy in some of the issues where politics and religion join sides.
I started thinking about this again in 2016 when Donald Trump won the Republican nomination by espousing many of these issues and many of my conservative Christian friends supported him.
What causes this un-holly alliance between fundamentalist Christians and Republicans?
The standard answer is both are for traditional family values and agree on social issues such as school prayer, intelligent design, embryonic stem cell research, homosexuality, abortion, and pornography.
There are some issues where the conservative view is consistent with a literal reading of the Bible e.g. creation/evolution, but many others, the environment, distrust of the poor and minorities, pro wealth, where the republican ideology seems to be anti-Christion
A 2016 Pew Research study showed 2 of the mainline denominations leaning republican and 5 democratic.
National Council of Churches, representing most of the mainline churches, voted against the Iraq War.
However the evangelical churches are growing faster than the main line churches.
In 2016 60% of all protestants voted for Donald Trump.
One attraction of the Bible is there are many places where it is open to interpretation. Proof-Texting -- Skipping around the Bible to find passages which can support a particular belief or doctrine (e.g. slavery) -- is commonly used by people on both sides of the political spectrum.
Common Issues Y-Strong support, y-Minor support, N-Strong Opposition
1. Although the conservatives don't make a big deal about the environment, environmentalists were enemy #2 behind gays in my men's bible study .
|Creationism ||Y ||y
|Right to Life ||Y ||Y
|Marriage Equality ||N ||N
|Environmentalism1 ||y ||y
|Climate Change ||Y ||Y
|Care for the poor ||n ||n
| welfare2 ||n ||n
| Healthcare ||n ||N
|Muslims & Palestinians ||N ||N
|Illegal Immigrants ||n ||N
|Affirmative Action ||n ||n
|Gun Control ||n ||N
|Stronger Military ||y ||Y
|Feminism ||n ||n
|Income Equality ||n ||N
[Aside: I am a leader in the Sierra Club, so am sensitive to this issue]
2. One leader in my church said that "anyone can make a decent living if they are willing to work".
Some apparent hypocrisies.
- Money the poor and income disparity
Jesus talked more about wealth and money than any other subject except the Kingdom of God.
There are over 700 direct references and hundreds of indirect references to money in the New Testament. Nearly 2/3rds of the parables Jesus gave deal with money.
Mark 10:25 "In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!"
Matthew 19:21: Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Luke 16:19-23 NIV "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
"The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side."
In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard [Matthew 20:1-16 ] the workers who were hired later in the day are paid the same as those who worked all day.
In 2015 my church voted to leave the PCUSA, the largest Presbyterian Denomination, because it was too liberal, for a more conservative denomination. A major driver in the movement to make this change were some wealthy conservative members, who threatened to leave without the change, which would would have left the church financially strapped. The Jesus I know is not happy with that.
See Money in Bible Topics for more.
- Marriage Equality
Jesus didn't have anything to say about homosexuality (That's in Leviticus in the old testament and the apostle Paul also talks about it.) but Jesus has a lot to say about divorce. Yet my church has no problem with divorced people serving as elders, but would not tollerate a homosexual person in any leadership role.
Mark 10:7-12 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.'So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."
In Matthew 19:8-9 Jesus allows divorce for infidelity,
"Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
See Gay Marriage
- The Bible doesn't discuss abortion nor does it say a fetus is a human.
The clearest passage on life is Genesis 2:7,
"Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."
It was the Pope that said life begins at conception.
The anti abortion argument uses Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart".
See Abortion: What the Bible Says (and Doesn't Say)
- Xenophobia - A severe aversion to foreigners, strangers, their politics and cultures.
The rise of Donald Trump has shown how much Xenophobia there is in the U.S.
The parable of the The Good Samaritan [Luke 10:30-37]. Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews. A man was lying by the road, beaten by robers, was passed by a priest and Levite, but a Samaritan picked him up and took him to a inn where he took care of him.
Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
[Leviticus 19:34] "The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself."
- Environment and Climate Change
Genesis 2:15 says:
"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it."
Even though 95% of scientists agree on man made climate change, most all of my conservative Christians friend are deniers.
They use Genesis 8:22,
"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."
to say the Bible predicts global warming.
See my discussion in environment.
- Family Values
- Republicans and conservative Christians make a big deal out of family values. These include values within a family such as honesty, loyalty, industry, discipline, and faith.
The religious right has included the political issues such as fight against abortion, gay rights, and feminism in family values.
However several studies show that "divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience."
Source U.S. divorce rates: for various faith groups, age groups and geographical areas | ReligiousTolerance.org, which sights Barna Group statistics.
You've also heard "Couples who pray together stay together" and there is evidence that this is true.
Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia says there is some confusion about definitions, but he does say.
"Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35% less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation. Nominal conservative Protestants, on the other hand, were 20% more likely to divorce than the religiously unaffiliated.
Source: Christians question divorce rates of faithful - USATODAY.com
The other disturbing thing is the number of prominent republicans with sexual indiscretions. Donald Trump and his advisor and former Fox New CEO Roger Ailes.
Thats not to say the democrats are any better, e.g. JFK, Gary Hart, Bill Clinton.
A while back our church had 2 female associate pastors and a female friend told me we had "Too many women on staff".
The Catholic church does not allow women Priests, the Presbyterian Church of America does not allow women in leadership positions.
The Truth Project a DVD-based small group curriculum from Focus on the Family talks about hierarchy in a number of their lessons, e.g. God sent, Christ who sent the Holy Spirit. They define the family as a hierarchy "Christ loves the
church as a man loves his wife; the wife submits to her husband as the church submits to its Lord."
[Ephesians 5:22-24] "Wives, asubmit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands."
So, there is biblical evidence to support sexism, but there are also passages to support a more progressive view toward women.
The story of Jesus in Martha and Mary's house. [Luke 10:39-42] "Mary "sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word," while Martha, who "was distracted with much serving," asked Jesus to tell Mary to help her"
Jesus' response was "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
The subtle message is Mary, by sitting at Jesus' feet to listen to his
"word", was assuming the role of a rabbinical student, a role reserved in Judaism exclusively for men.
See All About Eve: Feminism and the Meaning of Equality | Bible.org
10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Jesus - OnFaith
I can understand people out of the mainstream who support Trump for president. See:
Voices From Donald Trump's Rallies, Uncensored - The New York Times
But, I know a number of educated, successful business people, mostly evangelical Christians, who are also strong supporters.
I don't get it.
A Message to Christian Fundamentalist
Inerrancy and Authority of the Bible
Faith vs Reason
What Shapes Political views
Religion and the Environment
My Favorite Republicans (There are many good ones)
Evangelical Trump Defenders Are Destroying the Church's Witness
What's Worse for America: Trump or Progressives? Dueling Petitions Show Evangelical Divide
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