Jamie Freeze Baird
"I don't understand how a Christian can be a Republican"
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By Jamie Freeze Baird
November 23, 2009

After four years in a large secular university, I was looking for an oasis. I found that oasis at Regent University, a small Christian university located in Virginia Beach. Instead of professors who use God's name in vain, I have professors who pray in Jesus' name. Instead of professors who deride the Bible, I have professors who bring devotions from it every morning. Instead of professors who mock Christians, I have professors who are Christians. Regent is a breath of fresh air.

No longer am I the minority opinion on campus. My views are the status quo at Regent, and I have to admit that the feeling is very weird. After fighting for your basic rights for four years, it is very hard to sit back and enjoy those rights. Of course, I'm not one who evades controversy, so I quickly found the "liberals" on campus and have enjoyed rousing debates and discussions with them.

One day, a fellow student and I were chatting about current events, and the following statement was made by my friend: "I don't understand how a Christian can be a Republican." She must have noticed the look of utter confusion on my face, because she quickly said, "Well, I mean, some Republicans are good Christians, but most of them aren't." As a Christian who typically votes and calls herself Republican, I was intrigued and asked for an explanation.

Her argument was two-fold: 1) Christ taught His followers to practice compassion, yet Republicans are against many welfare programs or relief programs and seem to care only about corporations and making money. 2) Christ taught His followers to reach out to people, not judge them, yet Republicans judge the poor and the criminal and leave them where they are.

On its face, she had a very compelling argument. After all, many Republicans are opposed to the current welfare system, and many Republicans have strong views on punishing criminals. Yet did those views run counter to Christianity?

I don't believe a person's relationship with Christ is dependent on their political affiliation, but I do believe that a person's relationship with Christ is evidenced by the way they live their lives. My friend pointed out several weaknesses that Christians are vulnerable to. From my own experience, I know how easy it is to get on a self-righteous horse and look down on others. I know how easy it is to judge those around me instead of reaching out and helping them. I know how easy it is to sit back and do nothing while those around me are suffering and needy. Yet I'm still a Republican. Why?

I believe we have been blessed beyond measure as Americans. It is our duty to care for those around us and improve the lives of others, yet I'm not sure the government is the best institution to help people. It seems that things work out better when communities and individuals help those in need. People learn how to be selfless and compassionate. But if the government does the job for them, people go on being selfish, thinking that the government will always be there to help out the poor and less fortunate. Basically, people use the government as a scapegoat to neglect their duty to their fellow man. After all, if the government is always there to do your work for you, there is no need to do the work yourself. Now, I know many Democrats contribute to charity and volunteer their time, but I think that the mindset that the government is supposed to take care of people is a dangerous one to fall into. We need to step up to the plate as individuals and realize that we, not the government, are tasked with taking care of the poor. There is nothing wrong with making money, but we, as Christians, need to live out the principle of "to whom much is given, much is required." And since we have been blessed beyond measure, we need bless others beyond measure. It is a shame to those who profess Christ that the government has to take care of the poor and needy. If we were doing our job properly, the government wouldn't have anyone to take care of.

My friend also felt that Republican Christians are too busy judging others instead of reaching out to people particularly in reference to the way typical Republicans relate to criminals. Why, she wanted to know, are Republican Christians so bent on condemning criminals instead of reconciling them? As I thought about it, I realized that many Republicans claim to be "tough on crime" which means that they are pro-death penalty and harsh sentences. How does this jive with what Christ taught? We know that He was always just, but we have several instances where He showed great mercy towards people who deserved punishment. I think we can all agree that Christ came to redeem people, not condemn them, but how do we incorporate that into current society? I do agree with my friend that Republican Christians often are quick to ask for harsh penalties for crimes. I would say that some crimes deserve harsh punishment, but I worry that we focus so much on the victim or the crime that we forget about the life of the criminal. Jail isn't always the answer for people. We need to protect citizens, but we need to protect all citizens even criminals. We forget that crime isn't a product of the environment or lack of education; rather crime is a product of a sin-sick heart. Our legal system isn't equipped to deal with the hearts of men, but as Christians, we know Someone who is equipped to deal with the hearts of men. But as Christians, are we concerned about the healing the hearts of men or judging the hearts of men? Sadly, I know that all too often Christians are too busy judging instead of healing.

As Christians, we should endeavor to uphold the teachings of Christ in our day-to-day activities. However, we need to understand that we can't separate our faith from our political views. I see the Left moving away from the morality of Christianity, but I see the Right moving away from the compassion of Christianity. As Christians, we are called to be Christ-like; not Republicans or Democrats. We should not worry whether we fit into the "mold" of either party; rather we should worry about whether we fit into the mold of Christ. As a Christian, I reject the materialism that is prevalent in both parties. As a Christian, I reject the injustice that is prevalent in both parties. As a Christian, I reject the selfishness that is prevalent in both parties. As a Christian, I embrace biblical foundations that serve as my roadmap for life. So the question isn't whether a Christian can be a Republican (or Democrat). The question is whether Christians are being Christ-like in a Christ-less society.

© Jamie Freeze Baird

 

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Jamie Freeze Baird

Jamie Baird received battlefield experience in the war of ideology while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, she served as Vice President of the College Republicans and was the lone conservative opinion columnist for The Carolinian, UNCG's student newspaper. After surviving college without becoming a liberal, she graduated in 2009. Jamie received her Master of Arts in Government, with certification in Law and Public Policy from Regent University in 2011, where she was also active in the College Republicans. You can contact Jamie at jamiebaird12@gmail.com with questions, comments, rants, and snide remarks.

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