In modern times, it is automatically assumed that most major Christian churches will be voting for the conservative party. This has lead to some questionable choices when many Christians ignore a candidate’s problems just because the candidate is conservative. Recently NPR has decided to examine these voting trends to understand the underlying causes.
It is interesting to note that until the 1980s, Christians were routinely involved in more liberal movements. Things like the Civil Rights movement and anti-war protests were frequently created and lead by churches. In fact, the charitable teachings of the Bible seem to lead towards more socialist views. Yet in the past few decades, the Christian demographic has become overwhelmingly Republican. Somehow, a religion that calls for peace, charity, and generosity was taken in by a few vocal preachers who insisted that Christians support a party that pushes for war and an “everyone for themselves” mentality.
Many Christians are beginning to question why their churches are so strongly supporting Republican candidates. Russell Moore, the President of the Ethics Commission at the Southern Baptist Convention is starting to protest the voting guides handed out in churches. Moore says, “On many issues, there did seem to be a clear Christian position — on the abortion of unborn children, for instance, and on the need to stabilize families. But why was there a ‘Christian’ position outlined on congressional term limits and a balanced budget amendment and the line item veto?”
A lot of the blame for this sort of behavior seems to be placed on Jerry Falwell and the other Evangelical preachers who supported Ronald Reagan. They created the concept of the “Moral Majority” that campaigned under the promise of upholding moral standards and fighting back against supposed anti-Christian laws. Over time, this devolved into unquestioning support of the Republican agenda. Though presidential candidates on either side of the party line tend to be Christian, the Republicans claim that they are the only ones to truly care about Christian values.
Pastor Duke Kwon encourages Christians to look beyond Republican propaganda and realize that the issues are not so black and white. One candidate may have a more moral opinion on something such as the death penalty, but another might be proposing policies that take care of the poor or preserve the health of the planet. Jenifer Sarver implores Christians to “not use our faith as a political tool or a bludgeon. We should use it to extend mercy and grace around us.” She says that she will be voting for Hillary Clinton in this election because the other option is so unchristian.
One positive of the current presidential election is that many Christians are beginning to realize that the Republican party does not necessarily represent the Christian right most effectively. A few right wing zealots continue to support Trump merely because he is Republican. However, many others are realizing that his repeated affairs and callous disregard for others goes against Christian teachings. People are beginning to realize that politics may be somewhat more nuanced than Christian Republicans against atheistic Democrats.