Many who know me today or read my writings are surprised that I once identified as Evangelical and Republican. I get asked: Why did you leave?
But here’s my truth: I didn't leave them, they left me!
Moreover, when I see what they’ve become, I have no desire to go back.
In my opinion, they abandoned me when they abandoned their foundational principles—those core values we held in common, those beliefs that held us together. Back then, the two might’ve shared some interests and there was definitely crossover in their audience, but they had different missions and distinct identities. They were separate entities.
Rather than maintain that historic, essential "wall of separation" envisioned by our country's founders, the two became bed partners. The Grand Old Party was the Sugar Daddy, and the Bride of Christ became the Whore of Babylon. Jesus’ instruction to “render unto Caesar” gave way to “fornicate with Caesar.”
My Party and my Church lost their soul in this illicit union.
And they lost me!
Together, this unholy power couple now opts for condemnation over compassion, compliance over conscience, oppression over freedom, arrogance over humility, fear over faith and legalism over love. Neither seem to care about the "less fortunate" but focus on the “most influential.” The “whosoever” message of Good News is replace with a codified set of rigid beliefs that demand conformity. The higher aspiration of Jesus’ “do unto others” is superseded by callous principles of unrestrained Capitalism. Charity is the victim of Materialism.
Under their joint sovereignty, the “meek” will not inherit the earth; that’s reserved for those armed with an arsenal of weapons. Prominent preachers and politician get rich and famous, while “the least of these” are ignored or mistreated.
Sadly, this corrupt religio-political alliance has gathered zealous followers—those who respond to trite clichés and platitudes over plans of action, those who prefer being told what to believe rather than how to think. They are legion, thriving on a rhetoric of distrust and discord. Listening is easier than discerning.
Loud is better than logic.
They appreciate the finger-pointing, the stereotypes and the name-calling; it offers an outlet to their suppressed anger and bigotry, and gives them a tangible target for all of America’s problems.
It’s “those people” who are not “us.”
“We the people” is re-imagined as “Us, God’s select.”
And now, this abominable amalgamation has produced a malicious spawn, one who embodies and vocalizes all the offensive traits personified by their adulterous relationship. He is a Carny Conman who galvanizes the fearful, the furious, and the foolish. They have their “savior,” created in their image and born out of a shared lust for power and fortune.
Granted, he's nothing like the Savior the Church once worshiped, followed and proclaimed. But prostitution comes at a price; the will of the Client takes priority. So, the Church had to replaced that Savior as too weak, too merciful, too forgiving, too universal. He was brown, Middle-Eastern, poor and homeless, which would never do as the public image for their re-branding. The new “savior” affirms (and increases) their anxiety, endorses their aspirations, embraces their concerns, detests their opponents, condones their wars...and identifies with their country.
The manifesto for a national religion has been created.
The Incarnation of that message has been raised up.
Defiance and deference, as well as reason and common sense, have been ridiculed (or ignored) into silence.
Nomenclature has been redefined—love is harsh, good is evil, greed is noble, up is down.
The nefarious Plan is coming together, and unfolding around us.
I’ve been asked in recent days why I left the Evangelical Church, and the Republican Party.
But the facts are:
I didn't leave the Republican Party.
I didn't leave the Evangelical Church.
I was orphaned.
They. Left. Me.
They went where I would not go.
To them, I was of no value.
I was a sickness that needed to be healed, a "sin" that needed to be excluded, a problem needing to be fixed! I was no longer a part of the whole, just a target of contempt and derision.
I became a means and message for fundraising.
My church and my Party changed.
So I've changed too.
There was a time I spent time, energy and lots of words “explaining” how the distinctions, and why I remained in such an abusive relationship.
“Yes, I’m Evangelical, but...”
"I am a Republican, however..."
I've stopped making excuses, stopped trying to accommodate. I will not put effort into bridging that ever-widening gap created when they left me behind, deciding I was not welcomed. My loyalty is not to a Party nor to a specific doctrinal statement within the religious community.
You may wonder why I'm so critical of both.
The pairing of these two powerful forces is dangerous.
Their combined message is enticing, but deceptive.
Their victory will be detrimental to many, especially the most vulnerable around us as well as any who refuse to lock-step with their movement.
So I cannot...I will not...be silent!
My Church abandoned me, but my faith remains intact.
My Party abandoned me, but my values and my ideals remain.
My faith, my values and my ideals are part of who I am, and they help me see beyond myself, to those around me. The One who called me faith, the One who exemplified my faith, also calls me to faithfully care for those who are hurt, oppressed and neglected. There is no doubt; He was very specific!
That faith, combined with my values and my ideals, inform the allocation of my time, energy and resources, which includes how I vote!
My votes...and my affiliations...are precious to me.
They are a reflection of me. I don’t mark a ballot or favor a candidate in spite of those essential aspects about myself, but because of them. They speak to my character, my beliefs, my principles, my ethics. They reveal how I perceive others around me, especially the ones in need. The person who gets my votes and the church that gets my loyalty demonstrates the kind of person I am. I won't turn a blind eye or a deaf ear, nor will I support a church or a candidate who does.
Unlike my Party and my Church, I will not abandon me