Nowadays, politics and the religious right have become intertwined, and the relationship is harming the country. Let the religious right tell it, and this country’s transformation is dependent on a far-right version of Christianity. Now, as a Christian myself, I see the Christian faith as a force for tremendous good in the world. But the religious right does not approach the world from the same perspective. Indeed, far-right Christians focus on riling social conservatives into a frenzy to vote against abortion, gay marriage, and gun rights. Wealthy Republican donors pay prominent pastors who, in turn, convince their congregants to vote for Republicans.
With Donald Trump in office and his promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which guides churches to avoid political talk if they wish to retain their tax-exempt status, churches push hard to create a fictitious faith. They paint of picture of a Trump that doesn’t exist. They gloss over his failures and call them success. Of course, pastors have always talked about social issues but avoided a political candidate’s implicit endorsement. That has changed.
Before the 2018 midterm elections, a video of pro-Trump pastor Paula White told congregants to “vote red,” or Republican. More annoying was the music playing in the background. A soft, sentimental tone played while Paula White guilt-tripped African-American congregants to vote Republican. To any rational person, it was disgusting. Of course, her congregants believe most of what she says and little of what they hear from real pastors — a sign of cult-like behavior.
Like many on the religious right, Paula White uses Bible verses/passages out of context while playing soft music in the background as a form of pulling at their emotional heartstrings. My point: voting for the religious right negates reality. And it’s based on self-gain, not faith.
Under Obama, a Democrat, abortion was at a 40-year low. But, White and other religious right leaders say Republicans oppose abortion, without telling congregant statistics. Further proving the religious rights’ goal is for self-gain, not the truth.
Left-leaning Christians must ask white evangelical Christians, what is it we disagree on — do we disagree that showing the love of Christ is wrong? Of course, that thinking would be the antithesis of Christianity. When you think about it, we agree on a lot. As Christians, we agree on representing Jesus Christ through loving our neighbor as we love ourselves and reflecting the forgiveness & strength of love through Christ to others. We agree Christ is the savior of all who would believe in Him.
The commercialized religious right has become a poster-child for what Christianity is not. It’s a warning of what Christianity was never intended. White evangelical Christians might believe being a “Republican” is pious and someone favorable with God. But it’s not. No political party represents God owns God. But Christians who think the Republican party reflects Christianity lack everything faith means.
(© 2020 Andrew Cyr)