Trigger warning: in this article, I am not nice to Christian Republicans, and if my anger is likely to hurt your feelings, you may not want to read this.
I have made no apologies about leaving Christianity in recent months, and I have no intention of going back. I know for a fact that there are good Christians in the world, (and by “good” I mean people who aren’t soaking in luxurious bubble baths while eating bonbons and laughing “let them eat cake” at the parade of impoverished children crossing their television screens). But let’s face it, given the performance of the “moral majority” in recent days, the bar for “decent Christian” is set pretty goddamn low.
I have been stunned as I have begun to distance myself from the toxic and harmful beliefs of people that I truly do care about, and how many lies and falsehoods I was fed as a Christian, which seemed so reasonable at the time, encased in my safe little bubble of religious arrogance.
But one by one, as I have re-engaged my brain, I have come to discover how many of these are not only false, but pretty reprehensible in the light of Jesus’ teachings. Here are a handful.
“Jesus’ teachings applied to individuals, not to bodies of government”
This one is a favorite of certain members of my family, who, when confronted with the reality that Jesus taught socialist principles, feel they are safe in arguing that those principles only apply to individuals interacting with individuals, and not to systems of government. Because our government is made up of robots, apparently?
Either way, I know the Bible pretty well, and I certainly couldn’t name for you a place where Jesus said “feed the poor, clothe the naked, shelter those who seek refuge, and love your neighbor – which, by the way is everybody – EXCEPT in situations where the government is MAKING you do these things. Then you’re off the hook.”
“Jesus would have condemned taxation on this level as theft”
Another important point to my very conservative friends and family members is how completely unfair it is that the government has the right to take money out of their paychecks to pay for things they don’t want. Honestly, I feel that unfairness too. I’m pretty sick of huge chunks of my paycheck going toward wars that we should not be participating in, and government bailouts for giant corporations who refuse to pay their workers a living wage and live like fat cats in the meantime.
But arguing that pennypinching your tax dollars, which go to things like feeding poor children, is the moral thing to do because Jesus would have called it theft is pretty low, even for the GOP.
“Caring for the poor is the responsibility of the church, not of the government”
This one is not necessarily a lie in and of itself, so much as a glaring logical fallacy. Sure, the church was commanded in the Bible to take care of the poor, but nowhere was it instructed to do so to the exclusion of any other organization also helping the poor. And furthermore, the logical fallacy comes when you realize that without government intervention, many Christians just won’t do it.
The implication that if the government would just get out of the church’s way and put money back in Christians’ pockets than they could zoom about like busy little bees doing the good work themselves is just flat false. I don’t know a single far-right Republican who has plans to set aside portions of their income, should their taxes be lowered, in order to funnel toward people who need it. You want your taxes lower so you can keep more of your money for yourself. It’s that simple.
“Abortion at any stage in geststation is always murder.”
Again, not necessarily a lie (though also not true) so much as dishonest in its framing. I believe that it is okay to believe that life begins at conception. I do not think it’s cool to teach children something that is basically a religious belief as though it was scientific fact.
Here are some scientific facts: the parts of your brain responsible for making you a person – basically, setting you apart from any other clump of organic matter – do not develop until about halfway through a pregnancy. So if you want to believe that life begins at conception, go for it. But don’t teach your children that this is a fact when in reality it is part of your religious belief system.
“It is moral to use the poor treatment of American veterans as an excuse to not help other demographics”
This one makes me extremely angry, because the way that our country treats veterans is not only appalling but abhorrent. So when I see memes going around on Facebook arguing against raising the minimum-wage because “people flipping burgers should not make more than our service people do” I kind of want to scream.
Reality check for you: Liberals have been trying to get your party to flow more money into veteran services for very long time, and just because your party isn’t interested in paying service people better doesn’t mean that our party is bad for wanting to be sure children don’t starve. The two are not mutually exclusive.
“If people really want to make a living, they will find a way to do it.”
Even I was guilty of spreading this ridiculous falsehood when I was a Republican Christian. Then I became a single mother, and now hearing people I care about echo this lie just breaks my heart.
The implication that a woman like me, raising a daughter, working two jobs just to pay rent, trying to put myself through school so that my child can have a future outside of this low income hell, should just “find a way” to make the money necessary to pay for health insurance I can’t afford without government help, is disgusting.
The sheer lack of compassion coming from the conservative side of the aisle makes me ill. Your party doesn’t want me to make a living wage working 40 hours a week, wants me to have to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt to continue my education and better my future, isn’t interested in offering me childcare services so that I can draw from a broader pool of employment, and expects me to somehow find time for a third job to pay for my child’s health insurance?
“The United States should stop taking in refugees because it needs to focus on its own people first.”
But. You. Don’t.
You don’t care for your own people first. You don’t work to pull hardworking people out of poverty. You don’t care about senior citizens, about young children, about the disabled. You pretend they don’t exist and slam their caretakers for not doing enough to provide for them.
And at the end of the day, we see right through you. We see how your racism and xenophobia is fueling this fight, and how your own fears are ruling your head and destroying any hope of kindness or generosity. If you were hoping to emulate Jesus, you could not have gone further in the wrong direction.
So, in a nutshell, really quickly, here is my short list of reasons why I have abandoned the Republican Party and will never look back:
– I believe that every parent who is willing to work 40 hours a week should be able to pay their bills on what they make.
– I believe that the lack of a stay-at-home parent in a household should not prevent a low-income person from finding employment.
– I believe that someone who has just found out their child has cancer should be able to survive the ordeal without going bankrupt in the process.
– I believe that the wealthiest 1% in our country should be expected to pull their weight and pour back into the system that allowed them to acquire their wealth in the first place.
– I believe that compassion should always trump fear, and that while our country has the resources to do so, it should keep its borders open to any human being fleeing terror and violence.
– I believe decisions about womens bodies should be made by women. Full stop.
– I do not have a problem, even as someone who scrapes by at the end of every month, contributing my taxes to be sure someone else’s children have food and healthcare. And I cannot fathom how you do not feel the same.