Jesus Is Not A Republican

Or a Democrat, either, I'd hasten to add. This cri de coeur is worth reading, because it's from a committed evangelical Christian appalled by what Christianism has become. Money quote:

Jesus himself recognized that his followers held a dual citizenship. "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's," he said, "and to God what is God's." Negotiating that dual status can be fraught, but it is incumbent upon responsible citizens of this earthly realm to abide by certain standards of behavior deemed essential for the functioning of the social order. Much as I would like all of my fellow Americans to be Christians or vegetarians or Democrats, I have no right to demand it. The leaders of the religious right have failed to observe even the most basic etiquette of democracy.

Is there a better way? Yes, I think so. It begins with an acknowledgement that religion in America has always functioned best from the margins, outside of the circles of power, and that any grasping for religious hegemony ultimately trivializes and diminishes the faith. The Puritans of the 17th century learned that lesson the hard way, as did the mainline Protestants of the 1950s, who sought to identify their faith with the white, middle-class values of the Eisenhower era. In both cases, it was the evangelicals who stepped in and offered a corrective, a vibrant expression of the faith untethered to cultural institutions that issued, first, in the Great Awakening and, second, in the evangelical resurgence of the 1970s.

When Christians find ways to excuse torture, as the religious right has done, their pact with power is exposed as a deal with the devil. Evangelical Protestantism has a great, compassionate, spiritual legacy in America. It can and should be a powerful moral force. But not a partisan, political one. That way corruption comes. And the corruption is now very deep.