For some reason over the last week or so I’ve made the mistake of engaging in religious debates with Republicans. Normally I’m pretty good about not wasting my time trying to reason with people who are unreasonable. However, against my better judgement, I found myself in discussions with people who honestly believe that if Jesus Christ were alive today, he’d be a gun-toting, war-loving capitalist who had no problem with greed.
But throughout each of these conversations with different Republicans, there was one thing that I noticed was missing: Christ-like values.
Ignoring all the other rhetoric, it’s fairly indisputable that Jesus Christ (whether or not you believe he existed) was someone whose values were:
- Helping the needy and the poor
- Providing for the sick and elderly
Was there more to him? Of course. But if you take anything away from Christianity, those should be the values you try to emanate. It’s why I’ve said true Christianity is transcendent; you don’t have to believe in the Christian God, or any god for that matter, to look at those values and recognize that they’re the foundation for what constitutes a fairly decent human being.
But while I was talking to these so-called “Christians,” I didn’t see a single one of those values in anything that they said.
What I heard from these folks was a system of beliefs wrapped up in fear, hatred, judgement, disdain, greed and anger. They talked a lot about their distrust of Muslims, this president, liberals and how homosexuality was a sin. They spoke of their belief that guns keep a society safe and how “hard-working Americans” shouldn’t be robbed to provide taxpayer-funded programs to those who “don’t want to work.” A couple of them used the “S word” – socialism – though neither could accurately define the term when I asked them to do so.
Like with most Republicans I encounter, the basis on which they claim to be a Christian typically comes from four areas:
- Their views on homosexuality.
- Their views on abortion.
- Church attendance.
They honestly feel that because they oppose gay rights and abortion, go to church and tithe that they’re “good Christians,” despite the fact that basically none of those has much to do with the values for which Jesus Christ – the man on which Christianity is based – lived and died. And when it comes to homosexuality and abortion, those are two issues about which Christ never spoke a word.
It’s never made sense to me how people can call themselves Christians, yet follow almost none of Christ’s teachings. Not only that, but they support a political party that’s built itself on ideologies, especially economically, that are in complete contradiction to those teachings.
So, while Republicans are clearly free to continue to call themselves Christians – I just don’t see it. If there’s one rule on which Christianity should be based it’s that you have to try to live your life based upon the teachings of Jesus Christ. There’s a difference between believing in God, or cherry-picking certain parts of the Bible to follow, and being an actual Christian.
And when I look at the Republican party – especially the greed, hate, fear and paranoia that often drives it – the last thing I think of is a party built on true Christian values.
So, I think we need to make it a rule that a person (or group of people) isn’t allowed to identify as Christian without first acting like one.