Robert Meyer
God is not a Republican
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By Robert Meyer
October 11, 2016

With the presidential election season upon us, you're likely to see a bumper sticker sporting the slogan "God is not a Republican." Variations of this theme making a similar point are "Jesus was not a Republican" or "Jesus was a liberal." These assertions convey an obtuse and distorted perspective of the connection between the Republican Party and Christianity.

In 1976, like many evangelicals, I enthusiastically supported the presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter. I believe Carter was the first candidate to declare that he was a "born-again Christian." However, by 1980, Carter's poor job performance, coupled with the fact that Ronald Reagan articulated a platform that Christians could conscientiously support, resulted in migration toward the Republican Party began in earnest. Though I was young and poor at the time, I had to agree that Reagan's vision better represented my ideological stance.

In his 1961 inaugural address, President Kennedy asserted that "..the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."

Kennedy merely reiterated what the Democrat President Harry S. Truman declared a few years prior. "The fundamental basis of this nation's laws was given to Moses on the Mount...If we don't have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State."

No Democrat candidate today would say such things. In recent decades, the Democratic Party has lurched toward the precepts of secular humanism, leaving the populist moorings of William Jennings Bryan, of a century ago, in the trash bin of history.

In 2000, when Al Gore needed a running mate to shore up his moral and religious appeal, he called on a devout orthodox Jew Joseph Lieberman. Look at all the columns written at the time criticizing Lieberman's references to God and religious faith. In 2004 Lieberman was running for president, yet Al Gore wouldn't touch him with a ten foot pole. Two years later Lieberman couldn't even secure the Democratic Party's nomination for Senate.

About the time of the run up for the 2004 elections, Democratic Party bosses, disgruntled about the patronage of evangelical Christians with the Republicans, were determined to regain a higher percentage of Christian votes. They called on several prominent Christian liberals, such as Jim Wallis of Sojourners to give policy guidance for reaching conservative evangelical voters.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/17/politics/some-democrats-believe-the-party-should-get-religion.html?_r=0

But you can't flaunt what you haven't got.

Few people know and scarcely fewer will remember that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt prayed for protection on national radio just before the D-day invasion.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=16515

In spite of that, liberal pundits have tried to make recent presidents with Christian leanings sound like loony tunes, with the use of subtle misrepresentations. For example, it has been claimed that Ronald Reagan asserted that God was on America's side. What Reagan actually said, intoning Lincoln during the Civil War, was that we must be cautious about claiming that God is on our side. Rather we must ask whether we are on his side. A somewhat related claim is made about G.W. Bush, who supposedly told a middle eastern diplomat that God told him to invade Iraq. The Bush White House denied this claim. Supposedly, the concept Bush was conveying is that his time spent in prayer before the invasion gave him calm and peace of mind about his decision. It was not a claim that God had whispered in his ear. A false view of American Exceptionalism is habitually ascribed to conservatives who identify as Christians.

In 2008, President Obama made numerous references to biblical themes during his campaign. John McCain said little about his personal faith. Yet in doing research, I discovered that the Democratic Party had sponsored a subsidiary organization called "Atheists for Obama." McCain had no such organized support from atheists. The explanation that I received for that from a prominent atheist, was that Obama's version of Christianity was compatible with the objectives of secular humanism. Go figure!

In 2012, at the Democratic National Convention, delegates voted to amend the written platform by removing "God" from it. This result was promptly reversed by Obama and the Democratic leadership in order to avoid a public relations catastrophe. Why this action doesn't make Christians who identify as Democrats nervous is a complete mystery.

Claiming God is not a Republican infers a claim that has never been asserted. No, God is not a Republican, it's just that the Republican platform hasn't abandoned God.

© Robert Meyer

 

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Robert Meyer

Robert Meyer is a hardy soul who hails from the Cheesehead country of the upper midwest... (more)

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