Social Issues

2 Ways Modern Republicans are Anti-Christian

I was seven when I saw the original Star Wars trilogy, and eleven when The Phantom Menace came out. To say that Star Wars had an impact on me would be one hell of an understatement. I was obsessed. Completely and utterly obsessed. I loved everything about those stories, and almost everything I wrote for over a decade was Star Wars fanfiction.

Like with Star Trek, Star Wars helped shape my views and opinions, and two of the things that affected me most were the Jedi Code and the statement Yoda makes in The Phantom Menace:

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

I didn’t fully understand what he meant as a teenager, but as I’ve grown I’ve come to appreciate the truth in this quote. Over the last few months I’ve come to appreciate it even more, as it’s been occasionally difficult to not let my justified and righteous anger over so much of what’s happened– police brutality, domestic Christian terrorism, the utterly depraved, utterly evil policies advocated for by Bush, Cruz, Trump, Carson, and all the rest– to not let that anger transform into hatred.

Hatred would be easy. Hatred would even feel good, probably.

But Yoda was right: hate leads to suffering. What’s become vividly clear to me, watching with nauseated horror this circus-cum-trainwreck, that the Republican party is deeply and terribly afraid– and that fear is leading to anger, and then to hate, and culminating in terrorist attacks and assaults and murders. People’s homes and churches are burning to the ground. Little girls are being attacked at school for wearing a hijab.

Many Republicans say they’re Christians; in my experience, they tend to be Republican because they think that Christianity is Republican. However, the modern Republican approach to many issues– from foreign policy to economics to domestic public health concerns– blatantly contradicts two Christian principles.

In the first chapter of Paul’s second letter to Timothy (if he wrote these letters, which is … doubtful), we find this passage:

 … I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God …  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling …

The context of this passage is one of suffering . Regardless of whether or not Paul wrote this to Timothy or some later person wrote it in Paul’s name to the persecuted church, it’s clear that the author of this letter was encouraging their reader not to be afraid. To live by their Christian principles (love, joy, peace, kindness, forgiveness), to use their Spirit-given gifts, regardless of what the people around them were doing or what the frightening consequences might be.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the modern Republican party is wholly consumed by it. Fear is the driving force behind calls to only admit Christian Syrian refugees (just in case you think Trump’s the only one who thinks Muslims shouldn’t be let into the country, that was Bush). Fear is turning into barely-restrained panic, prodded and goaded by white supremacist, fascist, misogynistic, and homophobic rhetoric. Christians are afraid, and so they’re filing for Title IX exemptions that will allow them to discriminate against women, people of color, and LGBTQ persons while still receiving federal money.

We’re so very afraid, and we’re letting that fear dictate almost all of our political choices. We’re letting unprincipled men and women use that fear as a weapon to control us and maintain their power.

Fear is leading us to suffering.

But it’s not just fear controlling us. We’re being manipulated by lies.

One of themes woven throughout Scripture is that the truth will set you free: that Christians are supposed to value and love truth, that we’re supposed to be honest, that we’re supposed to condemn duplicity. Many of our Bible stories are about the consequences of lies and self-delusions, encouraging all of us to be honest about who we are and what we’ve done.

In fact, truthfulness and honesty are such bedrock Christian principles that the greatest antagonist of our faith is called the Father of Lies:

If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!

We’re afraid of lower social classes, of black people, of LGBT people, of Muslims, of foreigners, and all of that fear is based in lies. We’re Christians– we’re supposed to love and accept the widow and orphan, the foreigner, the weak, the prisoner, and yet conservative Christians have gone out of their way to lie — with unbelievable impunity— about all of these groups for decades.

Read the common Christian propaganda about the AIDS epidemic from the 80s– it’s almost totally bald-faced lies, and the things that aren’t are still twisted half-truths. Or, for a more recent example, look at the videos the went viral this summer that claimed that Planned Parenthood is “selling baby parts” for financial gain. Carly Fiorina is still using this outright deception, and Ted Cruz is just thrilled to pieces with Troy Newman’s endorsement. If you don’t know who Troy Newman is, he argues that people who murder reproductive health providers are committing “justifiable homicide.” All of this led to Robert Dear shooting twelve people at a clinic– and a rapid increase in aggression and violence since the release of the videos.

Many Christians are convinced that the “only faithful Muslim” is a radical jihadist, that “true Muslims” are committed to killing infidels, and peaceful, loving, tolerant Muslims aren’t real Muslims. This is a lie. It’s possible to make any religion look brutal and violent– in fact, a straightforward, un-nuanced, un-contextual reading of the Bible (yes, even the New Testament has its problems) could lead someone to conclude that God wants his followers to commit genocide, since he commanded them to do exactly that repeatedly.

Or how about the despicable lie that transwomen are just looking for a way to assault women in restrooms? The truth– the truth that Christians are supposed to uphold and cherish– is that there have been exactly zero times that this has ever happened. Instead, Christians in Houston fought tooth and nail against allowing trans people to use the appropriate bathroom because of nothing more than fear and lies.

We’re not supposed to be afraid. We’re not supposed to lie. But, instead, it seems like modern and supposedly Christian Republicans are rarely capable of anything else.

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  • Perfect love casts out fear.

  • Only two ways?

    🙂

    Hope that wasn’t too flippant; this was a really good and thoughtful post.

  • Missionary Dave

    Fear can be found in all political parties and theological ideologies. It is not a product of any particular group. History clearly shows us that even Democrats restricted the entrance of certain groups. Carter kicked out and banned people from a Muslim nation (Iran) and Roosevelt went as far as to place Japanese immigrants and citizens in camps.

    Any Christian who actually takes the time to study the Scriptures should never fear any man. We are to have a Godly fear and that fear alone.

    I love everyone and I fear no man or woman. That said, your post made some excellent points regarding the love of Christ. I believe those positive aspects were overshadowed by a virulent swipe at a particular group when in reality it is a heart issue and not a matter of politics.

    • I’m not arguing that Democrats don’t– or have never had– serious problems. Today, though, Democrats aren’t the ones advocating for Muslim registration and Muslim camps and barring Muslims from coming into the country. They’re not the ones shooting black churches or bombing reproductive health clinics. Today these actions are taken by right-wing conservatives, and acknowledging that fact is not a “virulent swipe.”

      When the Democratic party starts advocating for these atrocities, I’ll write the exact sort of article about them. However, that’s a hypothetical. Trump and Bush and Carson and Cruz and Fiorina aren’t hypotheticals.

      • Missionary Dave

        So 57,762,169 unborn children aborted since 1973 is not an atrocity?

        Of course, Bernie, Hillary and most Democrats are Pro-Choice…so there you go. But again, such issues can never be reconciled by politics. As I stated previously…it is a heart issue. I firmly believe that careful study of the Scriptures, prayer and discernment will lead any person to come to the knowledge of the truth and learn what God expects of us.

        A recent poll on December 9th shows that 18% of Democrats do support some type of ban. I have yet to hear any candidate speak of camps.

        FYI. Just because someone says they are a conservative Christian does no make it so. And not aligning oneself self with the Democratic Party does not give way to the assumption that the person must be a Republican. The recent shooting at the Planned Parenthood Clinic is a perfect example. That individual had no association with any local church or pastor. He was mentality unstable person who wanted to hurt someone else because he was hurting himself. Had he been active in a Bible believing/teaching church that encourages people to study to have checks and balances with the teaching and counseling with a pastor he may have been able to see that Christ loved him enough to comfort him in his anguish.

        My next door neighbors are Muslims and we have a good relationship because we avoid discussing politics. We do talk about our beliefs without disdain or prejudice. They recently gave me a book “Miracles of the Qur’an.” In return, I gave them a Bible. I have read the Qur’an through many times. How about you? Most people have not read and studied the Qur’an. The Our’an teaches that abortion, sex outside of marriage, consumption of alcohol and gambling are not permissible. Moreover, I awaken to the call for prayer coming from the mosque that is a 3 minute walk from the house, so I do have an ample amount of exposure to Muslim culture and ideology. I have yet to meet any Muslims here that believe any particular U.S. political party is either against or for them.

        • Beroli

          What does “it’s a heart issue, not a matter of politics” even mean?

        • I’m pro-choice, after years of careful reflection, Bible study, and prayer. Please see my series on “Ordeal of the Bitter Waters” if you’d like to understand why.

          Most Christians did not think that abortion was a problem until recently. In fact, in the 70s, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a statement that said abortion should be legal, including to protect the emotional and mental health of the woman.

          The historic opposition of the Catholic Church to abortion was not argued on the basis of fetal personhood, but instead on the Curse of Eve– they believed that women could not be allowed to avoid the consequences of the curse, not necessarily that they thought the fetus was “alive”. In fact, St. Augustine made it clear in his “If They Have Ever Lived” that fetal personhood was an unresovable question.

          As for the rest of your comment, any honest examination of the evidence will show you that the majority of actions like mass shootings and terrorist bombings are carried out by conservatives and conservative Christians. Like Timothy McVeigh, for example.

          • Missionary Dave

            Maybe you should consider more prayer and study. Romans 1:18-32 would be a great place to begin.

          • Feminist Cancer

            Your last paragraph is complete bullshit and you know it.

        • pragmatic1

          She’s very selective on what she considers an “atrocity.”

        • pragmatic1

          You need to remember. Samantha is a filthy feminist pig nazi. “Atrocities” (in her mind) can only be perpetrated by white men.

        • Aibird

          I’d like to point out to you that Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton both advocate for policies that teach sex education, promote safe sex, and other techniques that have been PROVEN TO WORK and decrease the abortions significantly. You can examine European countries who have incredibly low rates of abortions, and notice how they have robust sex education, promote safe sex and provide the materials necessary for it, and so forth. Studies have shown these tactics work.

          So your initial statement in this reply doesn’t make sense, as they are aware of abortions, and they are promoting policies that would naturally start to decrease them. Pro-choice does NOT mean pro-abortion, and to imply that is not only harmful but disingenuous.

          The rest I’m not entirely sure what your point is as it seems unrelated to the above post.

    • Also, in the future, please keep things like “virulent swipes” out of your comments, regardless of who it’s directed at. The tone of this piece was far from being “bitterly hostile, spiteful, and malevolent.” Don’t escalate your rhetoric when it’s not called for.

      • Missionary Dave

        Ditto.

      • pragmatic1

        It was incredibly hostile. And you’re a raging c***!

  • Tenel Ka

    This came just at the right time…. thank you for the SW reminder 🙂 That is awesome.

    I hate this spirit of fear.

  • Beroli

    Merry Christmas, Samantha.

  • pragmatic1

    So Samantha… how does it feel to be a dismal failure at life? I seriously hope that you get your wish and get all the Muslims your heart desires here in the US. After all, it’s working so well for Germany and Sweden.

  • pragmatic1

    So Samantha… what do you think of the NYE rapes in Cologne? Do those not count since they were perpetrated by subhuman Muslim filth (aka, “not white men”)?

  • pragmatic1

    I hope that you get government to do everything you want. It’ll affect you way more than it affects me. The thought of you getting assaulted by a pack of Muslims kind of gives me the warm fuzzies!

  • pragmatic1

    Samantha… you are pure evil.

  • Aibird

    Samantha, thank you for writing this, and I want you to know that despite the horrible comments by angry people — you are appreciated and what you write is good and needs to be heard. Thank you for all you do.

  • J. Rachel

    Some of the individuals posting on here make it clear that they have no problem with violence being perpetrated against the innocent so long as they are the ones controlling that violence. It is my sincere hope and prayer that whether or not they consider themselves to be Christians, they find a way to address the hatred and fear in their own hearts. What exactly is distinguishing your hatred and fear from the hatred and fear of your enemies? What are you so afraid of?

  • Feminist Cancer

    J. Rachel, what kind of gibberish are you talking? What am I so afraid of? How about rapefugees coming over here and blowing up our citizens and raping our daughters? #rapefugees #feminismiscancer

    • And with that blatant display, you’re done here. Have a wonderful life.

      • Plain English

        Well, it sure doesn’t take long for true believers to hack away or use their God-given knowledge as a sledge-hammer. I chuckled when I read missionary dave say he loved everybody. We all love everybody because that is shared delusion, dave. Everybody loves everybody right to death! I love you so much I cannot endure your freedom to choose if you disagree with me! Because GOD! Christian love as it is practiced now in political action is a sickness, an extreme very similar to extreme Islam, which is why dave likes it so much. (Actually, I don’t know dave at all and am speaking about the generic dave who appears everywhere you find fundagelical real estate. )
        Enjoyed the post SamanthaField but feel that every time you make some point from a believer’s viewpoint, the believers come out with their Jesus bleach to clean you up.