Can you be Republican and Christian at the same time?
A columnist for the website AlterNet says no. While admitting that he is “no biblical scholar” and ignoring key parts of the Bible to fashion his point, the writer bases his argument on a few key scriptures. From the piece.
“In Christ, we’re talking about someone who said turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and that all those who take the sword will perish with the sword (Matthew 26:52).
“We’re talking about someone who warned ‘judge not, that ye be not judged’ (Matthew 7:1) and urged people not to look for a mote in someone else’s eye while they have a beam stuck in their own (Matthew 7:3).
“We’re talking about someone who said, ‘woe unto you that are rich!’ (Luke 6:24) and, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ (Mark 10:25) Did Jesus ever have anything good to say about people who hoard wealth?”
What the piece does not confront, however, are the parts of the message wherein Jesus’ teachings play in to the argument that you can be Republican and Christian.
For starters, Christ did say to turn the other cheek, but when a temple was being used for immoral and greedy purposes, he overturned tables and drove out merchants (Mark 11:15-19), showing Jesus did have an interest in acting out against violations of his beliefs.
And while Jesus did warn against judging he also drew a line in the sand when it came to sin. See John 8:1-11 when the crowd brings Jesus an adulterous woman and wants him to help stone her.
He asks who among the crowd is without sin, let them cast the first stone. As the accusers walk away and all that’s left is Jesus and the woman, he does not send her on her way to live however she pleases, but says to “Go and sin no more.”
As for the rich being unable to inherit the kingdom of God, the AlterNet writer once again cherry-picks the passage failing to note the part where Jesus says that “through God, all things are possible” — and yes, he is referring directly to a rich man getting into Heaven.
Last but not least, many of the issues that are important to Republicans today originate in the Old Testament (particularly being against homosexuality, for the death penalty and military defense), and Jesus notes in the New Testament he has not come to abolish the “old law”; rather he came “to fulfill it” (Matthew 5:17).
He was also a believer in Old Testament scripture and a scholar of it, which means he would have been familiar with parts like Psalm 139:13-15, Isaiah 44:2; and several passages in Genesis, Hosea, and Job, wherein pregnancy is seen as a gift from God and children gifts from Heaven (Genesis 25:21-22).
Upon a fuller reading of the Bible, it’s a stretch to assume Jesus would have been for things like same-sex marriage or abortion, or that you can’t be Republican and Christian.
But what do you think, readers? Can you be Republican and Christian or Democrat and Christian for that matter? Sound off in the comments section.