I was born in 1980. In the world I was born into, there was never a time when Evangelical Christianity was not symbiotically linked to the Republican Party. This marriage has puzzled me for a long as I could remember. At a very personal and emotional level, I have always known that there was a glaring disconnect between the political, economic, and social agenda of the Republican Party and the Christian faith I had grown into. Thirty-five years later, I have come to understand that the political religion that Republicans espouse is antithetical to Christianity. And yet, Christianity has become vital to the success of the Republican Party.
It is likely that the Republican Party would not exist today if not for the Christian Evangelical vote. Hundreds of thousands of Christian voters wrestle within themselves because of their deep spiritual conviction, their political beliefs, and the notion that in order to be a serious Christian you must vote Republican. For this marriage of faith and politics to endure, it was entirely necessary for modern Christianity to stray from its true meaning: followers of Christ. Christianity, by most beliefs, is the internal work of becoming more like Jesus. Emphasis may vary be denomination, but one thing remains the same: being like Christ requires us to examine ourselves and to change those things about us that are not like Him. Being Christian is about seeking forgiveness and forgiving. It is, indeed, a personal, internal affair.
Unfortunately, many of us have transformed the faith into a bludgeoning tool that self-righteously allows us to believe that others need to change into being more like us. Although very few Christians will ever put it so bluntly, the reality is that our faith has become less about changing our personal behavior and character and more about telling others what they need to change. Modern Christianity–more precisely, the conservatively political Christianity–is about forcing Americans through legislation to live according to Biblical principles. Yet Christ never forced himself on anyone. He never condemned those who were not like Him. Indeed, he did not come into the world to condemn the world but that the world, through him, might be saved.
And to add insult to injury, not only is America no closer to being a Christian nation socially, Republican policies have exasperated poverty, income inequality, and set back matters of social and economic justice. It is because of this deceit that I find it necessary to speak the obvious truth: God is Not a Republican.
This post was adapted from the Introduction of the book, God is Not a Republican.