Are You a Follower of Jesus or the GOP? Debunking the Myth of the Idolatrous Christian Conservative

by Sarah J. Flashing

Call it a straw man argument or a false dilemma of sorts, either way it’s fallacious and cliche. But it’s time to debunk the myth that Christian Conservatives who vote [Conservative] Republican or passionately engage in political discourse on issues pertinent to our time in history are merely followers of the GOP and not authentic followers of Jesus. Confusing political leadership with messianic figures is definitely not the domain of conservative evangelicals.

Because Christians may prefer the moral or fiscal policies of particular political parties or leaders, it does not logically follow that they are blindly committed or even solely committed to the work of the political realm, erroneously believing that’s where culture shifts occur. In fact, an honest look would reveal that political parties reflect their constituency (for the most part), not the other way around. For the average citizen, their interest is to support leaders whose worldview best, though imperfectly, reflects their own. Of course, there are the cases where some have supported candidates whose moral philosophy might seriously conflict with their own in certain areas, but this is because in their moral hierarchy, some issues have achieved a primacy that dictates another direction of support. Ultimately, no on is going to support a candidate they reject–no one does that–but some find other reasons to support candidates they would might otherwise reject on other grounds. The “lesser of two evils” approach of voting exemplifies what this well and is not the exclusive domain of liberals or conservatives.

The reason I find this issue of particular importance is because I’ve observed in the statements of some faith writers the assumption that some Christians who are outspoken conservatives who don’t vote Democrat are not truly followers of Jesus but simply parroting the views of political conservatism. One writer recently stated on Twitter: “I…follow Jesus. I don’t follow the GOP.”

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There is a significant amount of information that prompted this statement of which I have no access, but what was available is sufficient for this discussion as evidenced by this statement from another following her tweet,

It’s sad when people confuse their patriotism or political affiliations with their religion.

I ask, rather rhetorically, how it is possible for our spiritual commitments and our political philosophy to have no relationship. It’s virtually impossible to separate our moral views grounded in scripture from our moral views as we hope to see them realized in the political realm, no matter how hard anyone tries. Again–the political realm merely reflects the values of culture, it doesn’t ground the views of the culture it represents. The moral values as expressed by a candidate are intended to draw in a like-minded constituency.

While I’m quite sure there are many claim Christ who desire political sophistication over an influential biblical moral framework, I venture to say there aren’t as many who equate love for country with love for God as some would like to suggest…


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