Monthly Archives: November 2012

Is the GOP the “Christian” Party?

If someone says “evangelical Christian” and “political party” in the same sentence, which party comes to mind?

No one who follows national politics could deny that white evangelicals by and large see themselves, and are seen by politicians, pundits, political operatives, and the public in general, as being effectively married to the Republican Party. When evangelical leaders comment on the GOP, they are apt speak of “we” and “us.”

God's Official PartyI think that it is a grave disservice to the cause of Christ that in the public mind Christians are now almost universally seen as an integral part of the “base” of one party. Does it have to be said that God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat?

Yet we live in a day when many pastors so much identify “Christian” with “politically conservative” that they endorse conservative politicians, invite them to speak in their pulpits, and feel no qualms about instructing their congregations that they should vote for conservative candidates.

By creating the impression that the Republicans are the “Christian” party, the evangelical establishment brings upon Christianity responsibility for all the shenanigans (voter suppression attempts, pandering to racial resentment, etc.) that party and its politicians may choose to engage in.

Moreover, is that kind of heavily partisan political involvement even an appropriate role for people identified in the public mind as primarily representing the cause of Christ?

Many evangelicals believe that Christian leaders are called to speak prophetically to the nation and its leaders. For example, Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has said that evangelical leaders, as embodied in the National Association of Evangelicals, should serve “as a prophetic witness for life, family, religious liberty, stewardship and justice.”

But you simply cannot with credibility mix the prophetic with the political. In our society today, no one listens to evangelical leaders as speaking prophetically because they are so identified with one political party they are dismissed as just another special interest group trying to get their guy elected. In effect, they have chosen being political over being prophetic.

The issue is not whether Christians as individuals have the right to affiliate with and advocate for a particular party. Of course they do. The real question concerns those who claim the title of Christian leader, and who present themselves not only as speaking for the evangelical church as a whole, but by implication, for God Himself. Is it appropriate for such high profile individuals, in their role as Christian leaders, to present evangelical Christianity to the public mind as an appendage of a particular political party, be it Republican or Democratic?

I think not.

Ron Franklin

Did Black Christians Compromise By Voting For President Obama?

In the aftermath of an election in which President Obama received 93 per cent of the black vote, radio show host and author Michael Brown, a self-proclaimed white evangelical, wrote an “open letter to black evangelicals” accusing them of voting to reelect the president out of “blind allegiance to the Democratic party.” He goes on to insinuate that African American evangelicals compromised their Christian convictions out of racial solidarity.

“Was there no moral compromise involved in voting for him? Are there no issues that could disqualify him in your eyes?” he asks.

I try not to get upset about anything I read online. But to me Brown’s question is incredibly insensitive, ignorant and offensive. In fact, I think there is a good case to be made for replacing “him” with “Romney” in that question and asking it of white evangelicals.

Yes, President Obama took ungodly stands on abortion and same-sex marriage. But far more emphasis is placed in Scripture on issues such as greed, honesty, care for the poor, not to mention worshiping and proselytizing for a false god.

Think about how Gov. Romney is perceived among African-Americans on these important biblical issues.

Gov. Romney is someone whose stated policies would gut programs that help the poor in order to lower taxes on the wealthy, because he considers them the “job producers.” By his own policy pronouncements, a Romney administration would inevitably subject the poor to even greater misery than they now suffer.

With more than 30 million poor people in this country sometimes literally dying because they can’t get insurance and cannot pay for the health care they need, Gov. Romney promised that his first priority would be to take back the access to medical care that was given them by ObamaCare, leaving them in a condition where quite literally Gov. Romney’s dog has better medical care than these people would. Yet, before he ran as a “severely conservative” Republican, Gov. Romney fathered ObamaCare (RomneyCare), and even in this campaign, couldn’t refrain from expressing his pride in that accomplishment.

In other words, Gov. Romney had no problem condemning millions of his fellow citizens to lives filled with stress, anxiety, pain, suffering and early death, by removing their access to medical care, just to enhance his political prospects.

This is the Romney African Americans know.

He ran what many in the press call the most dishonest campaign in memory. He started by running ads that took a statement President Obama had made about Sen. McCain in the 2008 race, and made it seem that the president was talking about himself. He continued by falsely accusing President Obama of removing the work requirement from welfare, being fully aware that “welfare” functions as a code word to stir up negative images of black people among many in the Republican base. He topped it off with a final lie about Jeep sending jobs to China.

When Newt Gingrich, who became a Romney surrogate, called President Obama a welfare/food stamp president, and when another surrogate, John Sununu, said the president needed to learn how to be an American, Romney made no protest. He also had no problems campaigning with birther Donald Trump, whose comments about the president were overtly racist.

This is the Romney African Americans know.

“Was there no moral compromise involved in voting for (a bishop of an ungodly religion that aggressively seeks to convert people to its unbiblical belief system)? Are there no issues that could disqualify (Gov. Romney) in your eyes?”

Michael Brown should pose that question to himself.

Ron Franklin

 

Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (public domain)