This post, from a conservative blogger I follow named Tim Strickland, was very thought-provoking to me. Tim asked a simple question: Is Christianity a requirement to be considered a true conservative in America today? He was looking for answers from other conservatives, but didn’t find much in the way of replies. I don’t expect he’ll find any here either, considering my audience, but I wanted to share this with y’all since it is a thoughtful and valid exploration of the way conservatives and the religious population of the US seem to have aligned themselves in recent years. Thanks, Tim, for letting this godless liberal borrow your post! 🙂

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6 thoughts on “

  1. Chris, thanks. I hadn’t thought about it before, but I could actually counter-pose the question here as well. I’ve personally found many more folks of “other” religious persuasions aligning themselves with the liberal or libertarian side of things. So the counter-posed question might be, how much does religion (or lack thereof) play in your determination to be liberal? Are you liberal because the religion of the conservatives puts you off somehow?

    I realize there are so many other topics that drive a person’s need to be conservative or liberal. But, I’ve had some liberals tell me they like some of the conservative ideas BUT all that religion stuff makes them uncomfortable. So please don’t think that I believe religion is the biggest topic here… It just makes me wonder why…

    • Fair questions…so I’ll open it up to anyone reading this who wants to leave an answer. Readers, what say you?

      As for myself, I do find that conservatism seems to imply Christianity in particular, and religious affiliation in general. I’m not religious so that does make me feel like I’m on the wrong side of the fence. Much of the conservative legislative agenda lately has had undeniably religious overtones, especially with contraception, abortion and gay marriage issues. It’s as if a religious orthodoxy is the standard being applied, when to my mind, the Constitution should be the overriding authority on any American legislative issue.

      Beyond that, as you noted, I do sometimes find myself agreeing with (or at least understanding) certain conservative viewpoints. But I can’t say I agree with all that many, so even if there was no religious element involved, I doubt I’d be able to classify myself as a conservative.

  2. Great article Tim, and you pose a question I’ve long pondered, but coming from a much more moderate stance. I think part of the problem is that what being Conservative means is in an odd state of flux. How it got linked to a particular mindset for some in the Christian faith is something I can’t quite get my head around, other then a push in regards to a couple of social issues. That push has snowballed into something strange and angry yeti like.

    Whatever being conservative is today is actually a bit harder to pin down then we’d like to assume. It is almost like there are sub-sects of the mindset, and sometimes they sharply disagree with each other.

    Personally I think religion and politics make for a poor partnership, especially in a Representative form of government. The problem lies in the fact that pushing religious ideals as political ones ends up being far to narrow, and represents only some, when our government should at least attempt to represent all. Even though I am a Christian, I can’t help but thinking of my non-Christian neighbors in this election cycle. Who’s representing them? Who is listening to their voices, their needs?

    But then I’m one of “those Christians”. The kind that asks all those questions, plays devil’s advocate, and who’s favorite word is “why”.

  3. Tim — and Chris — I know of no conservatives who are not, at the very least, professed Christians. The thing Icannot understand, however, is how a devout Christian can also be a ‘conservative Republican.’

    “Do unto others.” “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Lift up the downtrodden.”

    How hollow those phrases seem coming from ‘conservative Christians’!

  4. First, what a wonderful and thoughtful article. I may have found a Conservative to follow and ‘talk’ to in the blogosphere.

    My experience historically is the two are not linked. Conservative primarily is one of Social and Economic standards, not religious. The piety (religion) entered into the mix in the 80’s with the Moral Majority. I can remember my father back then, who was a lifelong committed Conservative ranting (not raving) about the insertion of religion and of the ‘snake oil salesmen’ of Biblical proportions (his words) into our political debate. My dad was not churched (Southern term).

    Suddenly it was very much an ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ debate. The Godless Liberals vs. The Christian Patriotic Conservatives, never could they find common or middle ground. Those who were in the middle, the moderates on either side of the aisle, the un-churched; we were left out of the debate more and more we were sent to the side of the godless to wither, it didn’t matter what our political stance might be on any given issue, pick a side and it better be Christ or you were out of there, your voice drowned out by those who carried the pitch, the brands and they stakes for the fire in the town square.

    Today, we are a nation divided by more than just politics. The greatness of our beginnings have been trampled in the dust bias, bigotry and re-written history. We have folded in on ourselves with the aisle becoming ever wider and both sides refusing to set aside differences to reach across the chasm to find common ground.

  5. I agree with the last comment. The GOP embracing of the evangelical right began in earnest back in the 1980’s courtesy of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. It was in part out of political necessity, but many GOP leaders wondered if this was the right path to take. One even brought up Upton Sinclair’s quote from much earlier – “When terrorism comes to America it will be carrying a cross draped in an American flag.” I don’t want to belittle the actual terrorism that has occurred on our soil, but seeing religious pictures with Jesus present at the signing of our Constitution is a good case in point. God is not an American; he has bigger things to worry about. And, our forefathers got it right with a separation of church and state. I think our religious leaders need to be inclusive – that is when religion shines. When it is exclusive, then it does more than any to divide us. Good post and good comments.

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