Friday Challenge: A Civil Discourse (Yeah, Right)

It’s a frequent story that when a person leaves fundamentalism their politics change as well.

Today’s challenge is to tell the story of if and how your personal political stances have changed since you left the fold of fundyland. To what degree does your theology (or lack thereof) affect your politics?

122 thoughts on “Friday Challenge: A Civil Discourse (Yeah, Right)”

    1. My first first? Honolulu! Unfortunately, it happens on a political post. Oh well, I’ll take it.

      My political stance has not changed at all. I just don’t have to hide it now, and that is a big change.

      I got tired of driving on my last dollar’s worth of gas to the out-of-the-way post office to pick up our Registered Letter from the Moral Majority. (Yes, they sent everything registered mail, and even though it was my husband, not me that was a member, it was my job to go fetch whatever was at the post office.)

      I got exhausted listening to thinly veiled political rants from the pulpit, when really really, every last politician out there is a politician first, [insert religious affiliation here] second. The fact that conservative churches can’t seem to tell that they are being pandered to baffles me.

      I shed the church, the husband, and the pretense. I vote my conscience, and I choose to believe all of you vote yours, so peace be unto all y’all.

  1. I agree with Josh and Joe. But am still a socially conservative voter. My progressive leaving of fundyism hasn’t changed that.

    Ha ha ha…I just noticed I used the word progressive. Perhaps a Freudian slip.

  2. My experience is probably not typical. I grew up fundy, went to fundy schools, and graduated with honors from Fundy U. All during that time I was somewhat conservative but middle of the road without any real, strong convictions.

    Now, years after leaving fundyism, I have become much more conservative. It has put me in a weird place. I can’t stand being around the typical fundy people, but I also can’t stand being around liberals either.

  3. Well, technically I’m still a fundy (full disclosure), but anyway… I grew up a huge fan of Ronald Reagan (still admire him) For the most part, I have voted mostly Republican. There were a few exceptions when I voted for Democrats and Libertarians. IMHO, the Republican party has changed over the years into Democrat Lite. Now, I’m at a point where I don’t even want to vote in national or state elections. (We tend to know local politicians somewhat personally, and local politics seems further removed from the national party nonsense.) Not sure who I’m going to vote for in the presidential election. Not enthralled with either party.

    Currently reading by Francis Schaeffer. Just last night, I read chapter 5. Schaeffer discusses the relationship between worldview and politics. It’s very relevant to this discussion and I highly recommend it. He quotes Herbert Schlossberg: “There are no societies that are cavalier towards property rights but which safeguard human rights.” In this, I think both Democrats and Republicans have slid too far way from recognizing that basic human rights are God-given (because we were created in the image of our Creator), and not government-given.

    So, I don’t know that my changing views on fundyism and politics are cause-effect or just correlation. Like most of the topics discussed in this forum, I feel, once again, that I’m a work in progress.

      1. Great book! And I was also a huge Reagan fan.

        Have I changed since leaving fundyland?

        Not really. I was/am very conservative both fiscally and socially, and can’t imagine changing. I have never placed my hope in man, even when Mr Falwell was doing great things in the Moral Majority (we need him back, Lord!)

        Are we better off now than 4 years ago?

        Yea, I didn’t qualify for food stamps 4 years ago! 😆

        1. I tell ya — with the price of gas, it’s just terrible! Over $4 a gallon now. Our paycheck didn’t go up correspondingly to match the tripled cost of gas.

          Don’t know if we qualify for food stamps yet though.

  4. I’m still pretty conservative, but I no longer feel like I’m saving the world when I vote Republican. And I no longer idolize Ronald Reagan. And I’ve realized that Jesus isn’t partial to the free enterprise system, not from what I can tell from the Bible anyway. That’s not to say I advocate communism or big government, but it just doesn’t seem like God has anything to say about it one way or the other. Capitalism works better than communism, not because it’s glorious and biblical and God-honoring, but because it is founded on man’s self-serving, competitive nature. This makes it work, but it doesn’t make it glorious. Actually, it’s rather sad. In a world where we truly loved each other the way Jesus loves, we wouldn’t need capitalism.

    1. Absolutely right! I think people who truly love the Lord, and love their neighbor (and are not lazy) can make a communist/communal society work (Acts 2:44-45).

      However, with the societal problems of laziness and man’s sinful nature, capitalism is far more effective and productive.

  5. My personal politics are still rather conservative, but as I posted yesterday I am getting away from the political Christianity.

    I noticed several years ago how the “god” card was being played and it started turning me against the political machines. As my eyes and heart were being opened to the errors and excesses of the IFB, I was also seeing how my politics were tinted/tainted by the Fundie glasses I wore.

    In the public arena “God” is some generic, one size fits all, political poster-boy. He is trotted out to endorse politician’s agendas and is merely part of the political juggernaught found in Election Campaigns. I have become convinced in my own mind that this view of “God” is what God meant in Exodus 20:7. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”

    As a Christian I do not believe that the changing of the guard in Washington is the panacea for all that is wrong with America. I also do not hold to the Fundie thinking that we can legislate against sin and all will be right with America. (That is the same bilge that Billy Sunday was preaching to bring about Prohibition… it didn’t work then either.)

    So, what is left?

    The individual’s view of, and relationship with, the God who has revealed himself in Scripture and Creation. While there will always be wars, famine, hatred, violence, corruption and the general effects of sin in this broken world, we can have real “Hope” and real “Change” as we take our eyes off of the politicians, and the political processes and humbly walk with Christ and do everything (e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g) as unto the Lord.

  6. Since I left fundyland, my views have not changed, but I now have different reasons for who and why I vote. I’ve voted (I’m from Canada so its named differently) New Democrat and mostly now conservative (equivalent to your republicans). And the reason for the conservative is that we work hard for what we have (full time job and 4 side businesses) and am tired of our hard earned tax dollars being squandered. So, there you go, a “furinner’s” political view…

    1. Interesting perspective. I think most Americans would agree with me that in our country, both parties are equally guilty of “squandering” tax dollars. They just do it in different ways.

      1. “Most Americans”? Never! Republicans only see the Democrats as wasting money. I remember hearing how evil Clinton was because he was downsizing the military. Republicans never see their pet projects as wasteful.

  7. I’ve not really changed politically as I am still very conservative, but my underlying attitude has changed.

    I used to be filled with fear and anxiety: what if the wrong party took power and we lost our freedom? But now I am learning to rest in Christ and focus on loving Him and serving others in love. If my focus is a comfortable life, then I have much to fear, but if my focus is becoming more like Christ and showing Him to the world, then I can do that no matter how the culture changes.

    1. Well said PW 🙂 Fundamentalism does lead to so much fear and anxiety in many of it’s followers. Obviously that is not of God, as he tells us hundreds of times in the Bible not to “fear not” or “be not afraid”.

  8. I have gone from a Moral majority conservative Republican to an independent (almost apolitical). I used to believe that the solution to all of our problems was putting more conservative Christians in public office, even considering a career in politics. Now I believe that our priority as followers of Jesus should be the kingdom of God, rather than a kingdom of this world. I believe that we can participate in the process, and I vote, but I no longer think that things will be perfect if my guy gets elected or that the country’s going to go down the tubes if the other guy gets in.

  9. I never could completely buy into the political beliefs. I am more of a Libertarian than anything else with one huge exception. That is; unless we are willing to watch uninsured people die outside the hospital I believe in universal single payer health care. I am willing to listen to alternatives.

    I find my self more sickened by the interjection of religion into politics by the day.

    1. I agree that universal, single-payer healthcare is essential. Like you, however, I think there is more than one valid way to achieve that result. A very liberal friend of mine actually supports a privatized single-payer system because she believes that this is the best way to make single-payer healthcare palatable for most Americans.

      I think that Obama’s attempt at a mixed system is risky and I am not entirely sure that it will achieve the desired result.

  10. Political posts two days in a row. Nice.

    I have no story. I am not up to the challenge. Go ahead and vote me off the island.

    Someone’s political position shouldn’t even matter but it does for a lot of people.

    There’s a reason why you vote behind a curtain.

    1. You still have curtains? I miss the “voting booth” days, where there were actual levers to pull. Now we just get these little plastic foldy panel things that sometime collapse on you while you’re trying to make the acceptable mark.

      I think I still have some popcorn left…can I sit with you guys??

        1. I thought cockpit doors nowadays had to be out of reinforced steel or something strong.

          And thinking along those lines, has anyone here on SFL volunteered to serve as air marshal? I know we have a couple flight attendants and a pilot, but what do we do in case of attack?

        2. To PW–we also have aircraft mechanics. And, as Randy King once stated (yes, that Randy King) after I introduced myself as “just a mechanic” after a number of pilots at a meeting of mission aviators, “You know, without you, their just pedestrians in fancy jackets.”

  11. There is a good book on this topic, titled Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative. The author, British transplant Carl Trueman, bemoans the fact that there is no real political choice for one who is a social conservative and an economic liberal. This also happens to be the political position that he believes is most in line with Christian theology. I highly recommend the book. (Skip the stupid, faux-intellectual, sycophantic forward, however. It will make you not want to read the rest of the book.)

    I read the book hoping that I would find a reflection of my own political journey. For me, however, I find that I am more of a social liberal and an economic conservative. Which I suppose places me firmly in the libertarian camp. This makes it difficult to choose between the standard-issue Republican and Democrat alternatives that are usually the only real choice on the ballot. It’s a conundrum that I think a lot of post-fundie American Christians face.

  12. I used to be Republican by default, mainly because I was told to be, until the day that I started paying attention and realized that a) I didn’t agree with everything I was told to agree with and b) I don’t really like people knowing how I vote or what party I belong to. It seems when people know how you vote, they want to use the same techniques Fundys use to get you to vote their way. I do my own research and come to my own conclusions independent of radical persuasion.

    So, to make a long story longer, I’m unaffiliated, and only my husband will know how I’m voting come November.

      1. *cough, snort*

        Of course! And, if mine is different, then I will choose the one he decides for us.

        Geez, even I can’t write that with a straight face.

        In all honesty, I think we’re going to end up voting different from each other this year. A little conflict keeps the spice up. That’s why I’m a Braves fan and he’s a Dodger fan. 😉

  13. When I was 18, I was a Republican. Now, I have no party affiliation. I vote for the person I feel will do the best job no matter their party. I am tired of posting something mildly political on FB and then having old acquaintances yelling at me “Does this mean you are going to vote Democrat?”

    What business is it of theirs how or for whom I vote? I don’t ask them. Some areas I am more conservative and others I am more liberal. I am a thinking, reasoning human being, not some automaton that mindless votes a party ticket.

  14. Well, I think I’ll be the first to venture into unexplored territory in these comments. . . I would consider myself liberal. As far as social issues go, I think that Thomas Jefferson said it quite well: “But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” Gay marriage, marijuana, etc. don’t affect *anyone* besides the people involved so there can be no legitimate reason for them to be illegal.

    As far as economics go, the last Republican to balance the budget was Eisenhower in 1957. The last Democrat was Clinton in 2001. Trickle-down economics simply makes the rich richer and, if anything, has a negative effect on everyone else. I’ll side with what works.

    I, like some other commenters, am fed up with the insertion of religion into the politics of a religiously-free country. Hegel, whom I dislike for being too conservative and religious, wrote in “The Philosophy of History”: “It is, indeed, regarded as a maxim of the profoundest wisdom entirely to separate the laws and constitution of the State from Religion, since bigotry and hypocrisy are to be feared as the results of a State Religion.” While we don’t technically have a state religion, the far right is trying to convince everyone (and have succeeded with the vast majority of the current vocal Republican party) that our state religion is Christianity, though we may not officially call it that. Consider the hullubaloo that occurred when the Democratic platform simply failed to make a reference to the God of the Bible. If our politics had not, as a nation, been taken over in the early 20th century by evangelists like Billy Sunday and Bob Jones Sr., the predecessors of the Moral Majority, we as a nation would be more accepting and free.

    1. Does it help to know you’re not alone–except that I’m an old-style “equality-in-the-workplace-and-the-home” feminist, and dyed-in-the-wool Democrat? But then I’ve never been a Fundie, despite my mother’s relatives’ best efforts.

    2. I was surprised that the earliest commenters tended to be more conservative. It wasn’t what I was expecting from reading on the forum, because I know a lot of regular posters who identify as liberals. It must have been just an accident of timing.

  15. For starters, I no longer equate patriotism with spirituality.
    I’m a conscientious objector. There are no choices, and I refuse to vote for the lesser of two evils.
    If we’re going to live like Jesus, we’d have to be socialists….and that’s just on a personal level, not a political one.
    Of all the political groups that scare me, the rabid tea partiers scare me the most. In their case, the means does not justify the ends. I’d explain what I mean by that, but I’m already tired of this conversation. 😐

  16. I used to be hardcore far right, conservative evangelical Republican. Now I’m a conservative libertarian.

    As for God being mentioned by politicians, there are people who mention God for votes, and then there are people who regularly attend church and read the Bible for themselves and try to live accordingly. I think there’s a big difference.

  17. I’ve grown up always saying/thinking that I won’t choose a party or one single issue over everything else. I’ve maintained from an early age that I am an independent, and that if a proper candidate came along who I thought was the proper choice I would vote for that candidate regardless of which party he was a part of. And I truly meant that. I remember having a conversation with my father about it, and I said that if a Democrat were running and our beliefs aligned I’d vote for a democrat, and I think my father’s response was something like, “Well that would never happen.”

    It wasn’t until I left Fundy U, though, that I felt free enough to really dig into the two major parties and politics in general. When the 2008 election came around I looked into a lot of the different candidates (during the primaries). I think at that time I was slowly sliding into a more progressive/moderate position with foreshadowings of outright liberal. I think I had picked a candidate on both sides that I would be willing to support, before the primaries were in full swing. Honestly, I can’t remember who it was on the GOP side, but it would have been one of the more moderate republicans. On the left I actually liked Obama’s platform, and it shocked me a little. It wasn’t because I was a flaming liberal, or that I had decided that the scriptures were meaningless. It was because when you really dug into his platform there really wasn’t much in there that a Christian should find offensive. He is a quite moderate democrat with some, frankly, conservative ideology. Plus, at the time, he was my representative, and I had written him a few times and got great responses back from his office.

    I remember primary time. In IL I believe the rule was you can only vote in one primary, and since the Republican primary was winner take all I knew that was a waste, but for the Democrat primary every vote counts. I went to a small group at my church (non-fundy church, but well still evangelical) and somehow politics came up and both my wife and I said we were voting in the Democrat primary. The looks on their faces. They couldn’t believe it.

    Well from there it just got worse. McCain didn’t sound that bad at the beginning of primary season, but by the time he had the nomination he was an old shell of his former self (not unlike Romney). If he was a moderate he sure wasn’t sounding like it. And since Obama has been elected I’ve pretty much lost faith in everything the GOP has to offer.

    So that was the transformation, I am still registered as an independent, but I certainly lean more toward the left. As for my faith? Still exists, and I still believe the Bible. But I do take fairly liberal positions on a lot of topics considered sacrosanct in evangelicalism. Even at BJU I held that civil unions for same sex partners ought to be legal (Now I’m comfortable with granting same sex marriage). I do believe that abortion is wrong, but I probably put the date of when it would be wrong a bit later than conception. I’m a card carrying member of planned parenthood because I know that they do way more than abortions and I support what they do for women’s health. For me if you can get passed “Democrats want to kill babies” and look at their actual platform you’ll realize that while they may support a women’s right to choose they don’t support needless and excessive abortions just for the hell of it, and there is a fair bit of their platform devoted to real solutions that, including sex education and contraceptives, that would help prevent pregnancies in the first place thus lowering the number of abortions. To me that is a net positive and doesn’t need to violate your scriptures. Affording same sex couples a legal status, again cannot violate your Bible. If God ordains marriage than why should we care what the government does? And no giving them that legal privileged isn’t going to ruin the family unit as we know it. So has my theology changed? Absolutely, but not in so much that it has disappeared, but that it has been re-calibrated to more than just a few proof texts and more towards understanding what Jesus meant by feeding the poor. Understanding what the Gospel really is about. I’ve stopped allowing my religion to be used against me. There are no trump cards, there are no Christian=x. You can be a Christian and be a republican, but you can also be a Christian and be a Democrat.

  18. As my process in dealing with fundamentalism has been to systematically re-think my assumptions and beliefs by actually reading the Bible and by attempting to approach ideas with as open a mind as is possible humanly speaking and really “clean sheet of paper” brainstorming with my wife, I would say that my political perspectives have not really changed. I was not in the southern IFB and really a fundy-lite environment where the God and Country stuff was more of a put on than a rabid politicization of faith. I heard more often that no politician was going to be the savior, so in reality there was not an enfatuation with republican party politics, except for a general encouragement to vote “with conscience” or off the cuff remarks about various issues here and there.

    I find socialism to be abhorrent morally (plus it has never worked) and ignorant when it comes to the reality of human nature. I appreciate self-control, and self-reliance, but believe strongly in community and in generosity and compassion, I just don’t believe in being generous and compassionate with other people’s money. Nothing has changed as a result of my rethinking fundamentalism in these matters, but over time I have become more relaxed in my social conservatism, more in the libertarian arena on those things, but have not totally embraced it as an economic system as I think it has flaws that are equal and opposite to those of socialism.

    The most significant change is not one of position but of approach. I want to be a person who collaboratively deals with ideas, not emotion. Way way too much emotion on every side of every issue has led us to a fractured and irrational state of trench warfare, and I would like the no man’s land to be made safe again.

  19. I realized in college, which was my first experience with secular education, that I am a raging liberal. Instead of trying to reconcile my political beliefs with my religion, I just switched religions. At my Reform synagogue, we have gay and lesbian rabbis and cantors, partnerships with a nearby mosque and a Black Southern Baptist church, an LGBTQ youth support group, and a committee that campaigns to protect reproductive freedom. Most of the congregation is liberal, but there’s a fair number of “traditional” conservatives in the congregation as well. It’s not really an issue, because Judaism teaches that social justice transcends politics.

  20. Well, back when I was a fundy I was either too young to vote or too scared to have an opinion, so I can’t really say anything changed for me. I always was secretly a closet liberal/democrat type. I never really understood the importance of fighting everything and anything that wasn’t deemed “Biblical” but I just kept my mouth shut. I was always taught women had no business voting, so I just never have had that experience. Let’s just say my dad was not for women’s sufferage.
    As with anything, when you make it forbidden, you make it more interesting, so I did do a lot of secret research to come to my current political beliefs. It will be interesting to vote for the first time (and believe me, I am way past my prime for first times!).

    1. So glad you’re voting this time! Console yourself for having waited this long with the fact that you never voted for someone your non-fundy self would find abhorrent now. 😳

  21. Whatever changes in my economic views have occurred have little or nothing to do with my departure from any specific religious group. I have become less dogmatic in my social conservatism after I went through a period of agnosticism.

    I registered independent because I can’t stand bullshit.

    I believe the two Presidents most responsible for the economic disaster that is the United States are Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan. Competing idealogies but the overall effect is massive deficits and gradually lower incomes for the bottom 70-80% of the populace. I don’t care to debate or expand on that.

    Francis Shafer was a kook in a lot of ways but prophetic in others. He predicted two possible paths for evangelical Christians. One was an alliance with the rich in exchange for a slower pace of social decline. That’s pretty much what happened.

    Unchecked moral decline or unchecked greed and speculation both take us to the same place, ultimately. We’ve chosen the slower path.

    I tend toward the view that nature (or God, if you will) has a way of straightening these things out and it’s less ugly when we don’t get in the way. Which is what idealogues tend to do.

  22. My church was never overly political from the pulpit, so perhaps I’ve not had the experience that some here have “enjoyed”. I don’t necessarily have a problem with a pastor who would do so, as long as his advice isn’t a mere party-line vote with “God’s Own Party”. 😯 (Since becoming a TEA Party activist, some of my toughest battles have been against power players in the GOP.)
    So, yes, I become a harder-line conservative with each passing day. I simply don’t pledge allegiance to a party. I’ve voted for Republicans, one Constitution Party candidate, and a couple Democrats(one of whom was since driven out of his party).

  23. I’m a radical liberal. The US is a conservative country, so on the global scale, I would just be liberal. I will definitely vote third-party this election; the electoral college guarantees my state will be blue anyway, and the Democrat party is too conservative for me. I’m looking at the candidates from the Green Party and the various Socialist parties.

    I do think the questioning that led me out of fundamentalist Christianity helped me to explore politically, and that my discovery of social justice along that journey is what most informs my politics now.

  24. I used to say I voted my conscience when I actually voted for the party line.

    Now, I actually vote my conscience, with the understanding that morality can’t be legislated. If I learned nothing else as a fundy, I learned that following a set of rules doesn’t change anyone’s heart. It only leads to hypocrisy.

    1. I would disagree that morality can’t be legislated. I’d argue that it is legislated all the time. It’s just that different people draw the line at different places.

      Murder, theft, and perjury are the most obvious examples. We’ve all agreed that we don’t want these things in our society. We’ve all decided that these are BAD things. That is a moral statement that we’ve past into law so that those who don’t hold this view have to obey it or be locked up.

      Apparently, there are some people out there who think these things are acceptable because these crimes abound. Our laws attempt to deter and/or limit the damage of these decisions.

      I’ve found that when you dig deep, we all draw lines on how far we go to legislate our morality upon others. The scary part is that it always seems to be a rather arbitrary line (I speak for myself too).

  25. I came into Fundyland not being very political, at age 20, and Ronald Reagan was president. As I experienced Fundamentalism, I absorbed the culture and became a one party voter. I blindly equated the Republican Party with Christianity, and I say blindly, because I was so busy trying to keep up with my duties in the Fundy church that I never took time to even think clearly about certain issues. I was one of those who called Democrats “Tree huggers.”

    Well, after just a few short years of the craziness, when I started questioning the stupidity of spending 20-30 hours a week away from my family “Serving the Lord” and dropped some of my responsibilities, I started reading political writings. I found that I was not the war monger that most republicans are, and I was more of a pacifist. However, I still believe in the right to bear arms.

    I also started becoming somewhat of an environmentalist. Maybe not Greenpeace level, but enough to anger my fundy friends. And my mentor opened my eyes to the horrendous way fundies treated women, and I became somewhat of a defender of women’s rights. In that regard, I never became a champion of the feminist movement, but I will say that if Ann Graham Lotz ever pastored a church in my area, I would go there.

    I ceased being a one party voter, even though I am still quite conservative.

    Oh, and btw, I know you’re reading this, so know that you have never met someone like me. Back off.

  26. Theologically I went from Jack Hyles’ inconsistant man-centered biblicism, to Rob Bell & Brian McClaren’s anything-goes liberalism (I almost lost my family during this period), then, by God’s grace, I was awakened to John Calvin and Martin Luther’s high view of God and low view of man. It has been a great few years exploring the beauty of covenant theology and amazing grace.

    Politically I still prefer businessmen to lawyers. That hasn’t changed.

  27. I never went to a true Fundy church or school, and my family wasn’t hardcore Fundy, but I have changed since leaving my own realm of Fundy-ism. I was raised Southern Baptist (which, in my case, I think verges on a few steps from Fundy, depending on where you go), and I pretty much thought that we had to vote to keep God in this country. I have only voted in one national election (because I’m only 24) and, I will admit, I voted for Chuck Baldwin because I wanted someone who would “Set this country back on the Christian path.” I’m really more of a libertarian now, and I think there’s good and bad in both the Democratic and Republican sides. I don’t like it when Christians think that to be a Christian means you have to vote conservative/Republican, but, then again, I don’t like it when anyone swings too far on either wing. Something I have recently been reminded of and try to keep in mind is that, no matter who is in office, God is in control. Nothing is out of his hands, and acting like if one party gets in office it will cause doomsday is silly.

    Just my two cents.

  28. My political views have changed as my theology has matured. (I wasn’t a SFL-type fundy)

    I had to bring a drug-addicted family member from a vicious red state where she was locked up and left for dead. Brought her up north where she received addiction services, mental health and basic medical care, generally for free. We couldn’t afford any of it, that’s for sure. She cleaned up (somewhat) and lived for several more years, at which point she became a believer. Had she been left to die as the “Christian” state she came from was content to do, she’d be lost.

    I also realized through that we have a duty as a society to care for the cast-offs of society, even the lazy, drug-addicted, dark-skinned etc. Understanding what a dead, miserable wreck I was (and Christ loved me anyways) made me realize that we have to model that for everyone, not demanding that they “get right” first, but delivering grace despite themselves, as Christ did for us.

    Unfortunately, the conservative position in the Church is to only extend grace to the “worthy”, and at best, keep them from starving. In the post-tea party republican party, care for the poor in any form is wrong, since being poor in itself is a form of moral failure.

    So I decided that in order to follow Christ, I have to be deeply involved in the lives of people who have gross public sin, disregard or hate God, addicted to drugs, or sex, or conspicuous consumption of material goods. I have to demonstrate that they’re loved not because they’re worthy, but because it’s the part of the greatest commandment.

    So… I’m completely unwelcome in the Republican party. I don’t feel at home with the Dems, because they (contra their otherwise liberal values) don’t regard the worth of unborn life, and actively embrace moral failings as good things.

    Oh, and I despise torture, unnecessary wars, militarization of local police, abuse of constitutional rights. Climate change is real, man made, and we should do something about it.

    But I’ve come to realize that if I don’t fit the mold of Babylon’s two major political parties, I just might be doing something right.

    1. You said this:
      So I decided that in order to follow Christ, I have to be deeply involved in the lives of people who have gross public sin, disregard or hate God, addicted to drugs, or sex, or conspicuous consumption of material goods. I have to demonstrate that they’re loved not because they’re worthy, but because it’s the part of the greatest commandment.

      I agree. Just this morning I was listening to a local leader caution teenagers against running with sinners, encouraging them to avoid people who might ‘drag them down’ spiritually, so to speak. While there IS a valid place for such advice (especially among teenagers), I couldn’t help but think about Jesus who deliberately stepped out and got involved with the people that society thought to be the dirtiest. So few Christians (at least in the evangelical lines) really believe this. I’m glad you do.

  29. I have always believed that loving God and loving others are the most important things we can do as Christians. Loving our neighbors means we are to love our disabled neighbors, our atheist neighbors, our hateful neighbors, our depressed neighbors, our ill neighbors, our homosexual neighbors, our bisexual neighbors, our trans neighbors, our silly neighbors, our annoying neighbors, our criminal neighbors, our devout neighbors … well, you get the point. Our neighbors.

    I’m progressive and identify most with the Green Party.

  30. I’ve never really written my story. Back when I was a IFB fundy I always voted R no matter the race or position. The human fetus was the most important thing pretty much ever but foreign wars were fine.

    These days I am no longer a believer, and I realize that my neighbors are actually humans, each with a story and a face. I am absolutely a moderate, because I do not see my political views as political, they’re just common g’dam sense.

    It’s not a political issue to leave women’s healthcare alone. It’s not “liberal” it’s just common g’dam sense.

    It’s not a political issue to bring troops home, it’s not “liberal” to not start new foreign wars. It’s just common g’dam sense.


  31. I am still a conservative Republican when it comes to economic issues, but when I left fundamentalism, I began to look at social and international issues differently.

    In fundamentalism, I was taught the God-and-Country approach, but now I have a hard time believing that God is real happy about us bombing the snot out other people.

    On social issues, most of my transformation has taken place around LGBT issues. I’m now in favor of equal rights, including the right to marry and adopt for gay and lesbian couples.

    These positions, like leaving fundamentalism, have cost me some friends.

  32. My changes:

    1. Religion and nationalism are no longer linked in my mind, and I don’t get in a lather about how the nation’s going to go to hell if a Democrat or liberal Republican wins the presidency (or any other office).
    2. I view Limbaugh & Co. as loud-mouthed entertainers and not fonts of wisdom.

    3. I rarely talk politics because conservatives think I’m a liberal Socialist and liberals think I’m a kooky fundamentalist. 🙄

  33. My blend of principled iconoclasm and enigmatic thought has always left me as something of an outsider. I flirted with the American brand of fundamentalism as a youth, but was strongly self-aware and never surrendered independent judgment, believing it to be irresponsible.

    My mid-semester break with Bob Jones University [to the chagrin of a reichadistration seething for grounds for my expulsion] was not met by a political shift. If anything, my orientation shifted rightward. In grad school, however, I had the blessed misfortune of knowing another student on the furthest right end of the political spectrum. He made no distinction between Smith’s theories and Biblical law. I did not like what I saw. My view of economics began shifting to a centrist position.

    Years later, I came to the US, and long after the mandatory 5 years lapsed, I became a citizen. I wanted to be a better citizen than I was a subject in my former state. I was not naturalized in time to vote for President G. W. Bush, but deemed myself a supporter. For me, Iraq was a huge miscalculation. I found myself supporting war on the premise that the legitimacy of the administration itself hinged on the discovery of claimed WMD. Of course we know how that went.

    I found myself saying that if it suspected that Saddam had WMD, it would never have risked open war. The likelihood of the destruction of the US military, the absence of anyone alive in Iraq on whom to reap vengeance, and general insurrection across the US would be a risk too high to take. We invaded Iraq because we were VERY sure that Saddam DIDN’T have WMD. So the revolving-door rationale was an easy switch.

    In its seditious malfeasance, the administration began inventing numerous rationales for an invasion. One day, I found myself in a discussion with someone on the supposedly mistaken intelligence. My old, iconoclastic streak began asserting itself. I found myself disputing the legality of the regime, of the rightfulness of the claim to speak as our federal head and prerogative to act as our legal representative.

    When President Obama arrived on the scene, I was ready to throw my support behind him. Like others, I hoped for a transformational presidency. This means that I had shifted significantly further to the left. I believed that this was necessary to pull an increasingly rightist administration back toward the center. Instead, President Obama showed from the start that he would govern from the middle. From that position, he made concession after concession after concession.

    Finally, I admitted that neither party advocates for working people. I saw through the pretense of serious dispute between the two parties.

    I found myself describing their relationship as a ‘Bad_Cop/Good_Cop’ game. Standing side by side, they shout at each other, creating the impression that some great gulf exists between them. The Republican Party exploits this façade in order to slander the name of ‘socialism’ by assailing the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party exploits the façade by presenting itself as the vanguard of the downtrodden underclass, thereby serving as the primary obstacle to the creation of a genuinely socialist mass movement.

    All throughout this time, I had been enlarging my theological studies by including people like Yoder, Moltmann, Hauerwas and others. I also began reading NT Wright and Gustavo Gutiérrez [liberation theology].

    Unable to connection either bourgeoisie party with the Biblical vision of God’s kingdom of justice and peace, I began studying the socialist tradition. Based on what I saw in the Genesis prologue [a world of abundance], Sabbath and Jubilee laws [ending permanent divestment, implying livable income, ending extremes of wealth and poverty, etc], the Exodus [the great, OT act of salvation/liberation], the scathing critique of injustice by both former and later prophets, the nature of Christ’s ministry [Lu 4:18-19] and John’s critique of the authority/power/blasphemy/extortion/injustice/coersion/propaganda of imperial Rome which we call the book of Revelation.

    Disease/hunger/war/economic_disparity/civic_corruption, etc., all these are true to greater or lesser extent in every age. It happens that I see their current manifestation as arising from the contradictions inherent in Capitalism. Based on all the above, I declared myself for democratic socialism. I joined the Socialist Party USA.

    My party has any number of Christians. A good number of us oppose abortion, the most egregious social policy of our day. Statisticians have said that economic circumstances are the most common ground for abortion. This tells me that the Socialist Party OUGHT to be the natural home of the pro-life movement. Sadly, it isn’t the case. As I see it, this is inconsistent with the SP’s support for a culture of life overall. On the other hand, bourgeoisie parties may oppose abortion [out of political expedience], but do all else in its power to undermine a culture of life. So what does it mean to be ‘pro-life?’

    The right said that it never had quite enough support to end abortion legally. But it has no problem lying us into illegal wars. It is an abiding irony.

    Christian Socialist

      1. Dear Elijah Craig:

        Yes, yes. And the day before the US invasion ON Iraq commenced fully, Dr. Hans Blix contended that the inspection system was working.

        The curious thing about facts is that they tend to be discovered for any contention one cares to make.

        This may be truest in the US. Where else does 18% of the adult population who believe that the lunar landing was filmed in the American desert?

        As post-modernity continues to assail classical epistemology, truth and facts become increasingly irrelevant and meaningless. Blessings!

        Christian Socialist

        1. Actually a good dose of postmodernism is healthy in politics. Can any narrative… eh “monologue” by Rush Limbaugh ever be taken at face value? Can the accusations of a minority party against the majority party in a democratic society (such as, “there are no WMD”) ever be taken at face value? Can the given reasons for a war (such as, “Saddam supports terrorists”) ever be taken at face value? Or should all political narratives and meta-narrative be deconstructed to get at their underlying purpose?

        2. Dear Elijah Craig:

          I can appreciate the increased emphasis on community, etc. that sometimes accompanies post modernism; but I object to post modernity because I see it as being ontologically soft. I think that the premise of truth itself is in question with this philosophy. It is not clear to me at any rate that post modernity can sustain a belief in objective truth. Perhaps that is your intent in the points you make [i.e., Mr. Limbaugh, WMD, etc.].

          I can see that my observations re: Iraqi WMD may seem to support such a perspective. We are told that we know that Iraq has WMD, then that we had mistaken intelligence, then that it didn’t matter because we had produced numerous grounds for invasion [28 on one count], then that WMD were found. So on it goes, ad infinitum.

          Yet there is no contradiction in any of this because objective truth no longer exists in the postmodern mind. Ultimately, none of this matters. You decide on your preferred future. You craft a narrative to explain and support it. You assemble data and facts to support the narrative. It is absurd and inherently anarchic [even if it is called (mistakenly) ‘conservatism’].

          I’ll have to ask your forgiveness for my cynicism; but how can such a belief system FAIL to produce a world of nihilists? And as stable, solid citizens increasingly disbelieve the Constitution, the institutions and processes of state, parties, elections, our system of laws, the judiciary, domestic and foreign policy, and on and on — what options will our civic masters have but to rely increasingly on the threat and use of coercion?

          Could it be that the financial and ruling class see a rising tide of iconoclasm? Could this be the reason for which domestic defenses are strengthened feverishly to ward off the end while the last of the nation’s resources are extracted and outsourced? And if so, what then? Will our beneficent rulers abandon the people? Will they be left defenseless as enemies come to reap vengeance for the malfeasance they heaped on the world in our name?

          The curious thing about post modernity is that such a ‘narrative’ can gain traction as much as the ruling class may disdain it. It can gain traction even if post modernity is very seriously flawed with an heretical ontology [not that this vindicates modernity either]. Looking at this situation, I cannot help but think of Marx’ quip that the last capitalist will sell you the rope with which he will be hung.

          The church is the one force in the world that is in position to call all this into question. But the church sways and staggers as if it is in a drunken stupor. One day, she will remember who she is and [more importantly] to whom she belongs. On that day, you can expect the state to stretch forth its hand to crush her and make our streets flow with the blood of the saints in the best of apocalyptic tradition.

          I believe that very deep down, all Christian believers know this. I believe this is why the Constantine compromise continues to have so great a hold upon us. I believe that the church currently solicits a compromise of accommodation with the state PRECISELY to WARD OFF the blow that the state would otherwise level against her.

          The hard [ontologically] reality is that God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — does exist. And that is the basis of all reality that exists. This God will bring all things into judgment. This is why no party or nation can lay ultimate claim on God. Being a Christian means that one AFFIRMS the judgments of God. Thus our allegiance truly is not of this world. Thus Christians can never be truly of this world, just as the Son of God was not of this world.

          Christian Socialist

        3. CS:

          After being educated by postmodernist English professors, after reading Derrida, after attending a seminary, after nearly twenty years, I’ve come to the conclusion that “postmodern epistemology” is mostly a category wherein non-classical forms of liberalism are dumped.

          When *I* use the word postmodernism, I suppose I refer simply to the distrust of meta-narratives and the need to deconstruct them. For example, there is a meta-narrative in Republican circles that says government regulation is always the problem. That is too simplistic and it smells like bullshit to me so I deconstruct it into business interests wishing to make a profit.

          “Saddam had no WMD” is a narrative that smelled like bullshit to me because WMD are 1920’s technology, maybe 1940’s for nerve gas, that any country with a petrochemical industry can easily have. For that matter, I have nerve agents in my house: I use them to kill spiders and bugs, and to clean my house. There’s no way to prove nerve agents are “weaponized” unless one finds them actually loaded into an artillery shell or missle warhead, and then such a find would be classified information. So I deconstruct “there are no WMD” into the attempt of a minority party to demonize the majority party and regain control.

          I don’t think postmodernism implies that truth does not exist. It is simply awareness of the fact that people use rhetoric to push personal agendas. Thus my statement that postmodernism is a category in which some (particulary evangelicals) dump beliefs they do not appreciate.

        4. Dear Elijah Craig:

          Thanks for the reply, and for sharing something of your own story. And generally, I would agree with you. For myself [and perhaps you concur], I take the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the ‘meta-narrative’ that all others must serve.


          Christian Socialist

      2. It is just easier to get your point across by saying, “Saddam has no WMD’s” instead of saying, “Iraq poses no threat to the United States” and “the real reason for the invasion of Iraq can be found in a Project for the New American Century (PNAC) position paper written in the late 1990’s”. Also,during the build up to the war in 2002/2003, message about “Saddam has no WMD’s” was pretty much drowned out by the message, “we can’t afford to wait until there is a mushroom cloud over one of our cities” (from Saddam’s nukes).

  34. RON PAUL 2012!!!!!!!

    hey it’s the internet, you knew it was coming at some point on this post.

    in all seriousness though, i would consider myself a progressive libertarian. i probably would have voted for ron paul, but since he’s out i will probably go green party. and, yes, i used to be extremely conservative.

  35. I went from being a Sean Hannity Yankee Republican to being a Robert E. Lee Southern Confederate. Unfortunately, there’s no party that represents me. So, the closest guy who represents my views would be RON PAUL and the Revolution.

  36. It may be a bit off-topic, but I have to point out my favorite moment from either of the recent party conventions.
    Here’s Gabrielle Giffords leading the Democratic Party in the Pledge of Allegiance (you will recall that Rep. Giffords was shot in the head by a crazed constituent in January 2011, and subsequently resigned so she could try to recover):

    Now, I have some political disagreements with Ms. Giffords, and I’m not even all that enthusiastic about pledging allegiance to a flag, but if you can watch that video without getting tears in your eyes, you are made of stone.

  37. I used to think all welfare should be eliminated because no one should have to work hard to support another person. Then I realized that Paul told the Ephesians to work so they could give to those in need. I see the “I earned this money and don’t want it going to anyone else” attitude as down-right selfish now. Though I don’t necessarily feel it’s the government’s job to care for the poor, I don’t see how the selfish attitudes toward welfare fit with a Christian worldview.

    1. I definitely agree that Christians are to be unselfish and should give.

      But I think the verse you mentioned should also be balanced by the one that says that if you don’t work, you shouldn’t eat. There are SOME (definitely not all and I’m certainly not saying most) on welfare who COULD and SHOULD be working. I do think that someday the system will collapse because we’ll have more takers than givers.

  38. My political beliefs started changing, like so many other beliefs, at BJU. As a kid, I heard a lot of “save America” speeches to the effect that through political action, we conservatives can usher in a new Golden Age for the country. At one point, I was so caught up in this idea that I even wanted to be a politician myself, with views to changing the drinking age and the MPAA ratings systems so that nobody could drink and nobody could watch R-rated movies. (Now I love doing both. Isn’t life ironic?) I was very political through my first year at BJU, when I celebrated the re-election of GW Bush.

    Sometime after that, I became disillusioned with politics as a route to moral or religious change, neither of which belong in the political sphere. I’m still against abortion (I consider it a human being harming another human being), but I’ve come to support the legalization of gay marriage (because we do harm to people by forbidding gay marriage, and whether gay sex is spiritually harmful is between that person and their God). I also support more generous measures to allow non-citizens to remain in America, especially if they were born here. So, my political beliefs straddle both parties.

    Am I one of the few people who will NOT vote in the upcoming election? I’m still uncomfortable voting for Obama, and now I’m uncomfortable voting for Republicans too. For so long I thought I could change the world by political action, and now any political action (even voting) seems like I’m stepping back towards the “old me” and putting some of my Fundy(lite) self on again. Sitting this one out is the best way that I can think of to show that politics will not change the world.

    1. There are more than 2 parties to vote for. Check out the Liberterians, Constitution Party and the Green Party. Use your vote to show the 2 parties that you won’t play their good-cop bad-cop games anymore.

  39. I used to be a conservative rabid republican.

    Upon exiting fundistan in Hammond, I’ve become a Christian, Calvinist, pro-life, anti-state, anti-war, pro-liberty, whiskey drinking, paleolithic foody, and moving ever closer toward Rothbardian(ism)…

    I think I’ll just be me. 😀

  40. I’d like to register as a Whig, but then I couldn’t vote in primaries.

    Even while attending Fundy U, I voted for individual candidates based not on party affiliation, but on their answers to the questionnaires the newspaper printed. I still use that method for most of the positions. Most of the people on the ballot do not get air time, so I read their answers. If they refuse to answer, I’ll vote for the other guy.
    In local elections, and sometimes state and national, I’ll vote against the incumbent, unless the other guy is obviously anti me. I don’t like the idea of politics as a life long career, so I make my small protest whenever I can.

    1. Yeah. I often voted for candidates with party affiliations other than my own. I often declined to vote for a candidate unless I knew where they stood.

      Maybe that’s why I never saw a radical change in my politics. I never voted for anyone because I was “supposed” to vote for them.

      1. I never understood how some of our church leaders could rationalize their voting “suggestions”. Early in my voting life, we had a governor and a senator who were both strong on defense, fiscally pretty conservative, and socially kind of in the middle. But I remember hearing I shouldn’t vote for them because they were DEMOCRATS!! I’d happily vote for either of them again.

        1. I hit submit too soon. It should have ended with, but then I’d have to make another exception to the no incumbent guideline.

        2. There were 4 major candidates for governer in my state last time around, There were 2 leading Democrats in the race, one amazing guy who lead in the state legislature during the last few years of trouble with amazing skill and non-partisan calm leadership, and the other a raving lunatic. Unfortunately the raving lunatic won the primary (increasingly the pattern the Democrat party) so I voted for the Republican. Its been ok, and the guy has kept all his campaign promises and then some, but I still just think his leadership style is strange and I kinda wish the other Democrat had won.

  41. I was never exposed to much political preaching growing up. I lived in a state that was both very Democrat and very Fundamentalist. Come to think of it, I think pastors used to pull evangelists aside and tell them not to bring up politics or they’d lose 80% of their church including deacons.

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