A big part of the Republican party’s voter base over the last three decades has been found in evangelicals who side with the party simply because it appealed to their desired approach to enforcing morality in regards to social issues such as abortion and homosexuality.
As an evangelical myself, I have at times fallen for the trap that Republicans actually care about social issues and have therefore up until this year pledged to cast my vote for them in all the national elections. However, the reality of the situation has forced me to take a closer look at the matter. While I am an evangelical when it comes to my Christian faith, I see myself as more of a peculiar moderate when it comes to politics.
I hold very strong to pro-life values, although I lend understanding to the fact that I could not fathom what it is like to be pregnant as a result of rape, or to be faced with a situation in which bearing the child threatens the mother’s life.
Yet, the fact remains that abortions for the purposes of rape or life of the mother are only 1% of all abortions. Frankly, I think it would do our nation well for abortion to be outlawed in all cases except for those of rape and life of the mother at stake. After all, those who choose to have sex are aware of the risks of pregnancy. If they don’t want to experience the consequences of the potential risks, the solution is pretty simple: don't have sex. It won't kill you. I promise.
The peculiarity of my political views is complicated when one considers my position in regards to same-sex relationships. Although I stand firm on faith-based moral objections to the homosexual lifestyle choice, I do not feel it is the government’s role to legislate marriage.
Marriage is a sacred institution, which was never meant to be controlled by the government. Quite honestly, I could care less if same-sex couples are given a piece of paper by the government proclaiming them as married because that will never alter the mind of God to issue his stamp of approval on the immoral lifestyle choice of homosexuality.
It was for this reason that I voted against Amendment One in my home state of North Carolina. It is a decision that brought much criticism from evangelical friends. However, as I casted my vote the one thought that came to mind was that “if we as Christians think it is our role to establish a political kingdom here on Earth and to bump out of office the ‘immoral leaders’ of our government, what makes our attitude any different than that which led the Pharisees to reject Jesus as Messiah in his first advent.”
I will be the first to acknowledge that too often, evangelicals have spent too much time trying to change the political landscape of society and not enough time trying to reach people with the life-changing message that is at the heart of the gospel message.
The lack of trust people have for Christianity is not because of a negative experience with Jesus himself, but rather due to a misrepresentation of the Christian faith exhibited by Christians who forget the fact that Christ himself was more worried with reaching people with the love and truth of the gospel message than he was with establishing a kingdom so as to enforce morality throughout the land.
It is for this reason that I have vowed never again to be involved in the militant mission of groups like the Christian Coalition or the Moral Majority. In retrospect, these groups did more harm than good in their representation of the gospel message. Not only did they do more harm than good, they also displayed a large sense of gullibility in assuming that Republicans actually cared about social morality.
If Republicans really cared about social morality, they would not be empowering the rich to get richer with huge tax breaks. They would stand for the themes of social justice, and would not abort the hopes of those less fortunate with destructive policies that only benefit the wealthiest among us.
When they had the majority and could have passed legislation overturning the right of women to murder unborn babies from 2002-2006, they would have. Instead, to paraphrase the words of President Bush in his 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, “This party had its chance and it did not lead. Now it’s time to vote for those who will.” The only question that remains now is, who are they?