I can’t help but shake my head and chuckle a bit seeing most of my very politically vocal conservative Christian friends tripping over themselves to denounce Donald Trump in the last few weeks when, from where I stand, it surely seems they paved the way for his ridiculous rise to prominence and influence.
The leaders of the tribe in which I was raised and served my entire adult life declared last summer (via text of all things) that I am not one of them, and for that I’m incredibly grateful. When they definitively pulled the plug on 20 years of ministry relationship, a gorgeous freedom washed over me, pushing me over the final hump to begin to explore with full integrity what I truly believe and to start living fully in that truth.
I’m a goddamn bleeding heart liberal.
Well, at least part of me is. I’m actually a die-hard pragmatist – a conservatively liberal libertarian socialist. I go with what works and makes sense in any given circumstance, and there are elements of each that fit the bill.
I really, really like having free public education for my children, safe drinking water and well maintained roads (SOCIALISM)! I’d gladly welcome smart socialized healthcare but also consider Obamacare to be a suckass cluster-f*ck. I despise the heightened emphasis on standardized testing (which started with Bush’s No Child Left Behind way before Common Core). I don’t see securing our borders and upholding our great American tradition of welcoming immigrants as mutually exclusive. I think well-regulated capitalism is fabulous. I absolutely 100% think separation of church and state – freedom OF and FROM religion – is essential. I’m a Christian who does not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned and thinks the demonization and opposition to Planned Parenthood is misguided and harmful to lives.
That should be enough to piss absolutely everyone off.
I think our potential as humans when we humble ourselves and cooperate is magnificent and downright divine!
I also think our ability to deny our self-interest in order to achieve it is historically exceedingly rare. Certainty, self-justification in our own “rightness” and unwillingness to compromise and power lust are just too tempting and strong a pull.
In leaving (being rejected by) my evangelical christian tribe, I also gladly leave behind the political bullying, shame and intimidation that, though of course not representative of all, was very much systemic.
“Christian” was synonymous with conservative Republican or Tea Party Libertarian but NEVER Democrat. “Liberal” was a dirty word. I wish I could unsee the use of the slang “libtard” on social media by supposed “christians.” Gross disrespect and complete lack of objectivity toward President Obama was encouraged and celebrated – in the name of God no less (ditto wishing to unsee the prolific use of “Obummer” and the like).
I’ve experienced first hand the disdain for intellectual integrity and scholarship, biblical and otherwise, from my own pastors from the pulpit and on social media (and that insane text) together with an insatiable appetite for conspiracy theories and blatantly dishonest journalism to feed a raging false persecution complex.
So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t have much sympathy for my former tribe as it tries to distance itself from the monster it’s been feeding. Breeding and catering to the tyrants is the norm in the churches from which I come. Calling church leadership out on this is what earned us the boot. The Dysfunctional 100 Acre Wood
But why would I have reason to be happy about Donald Trump being the GOP front runner and the subsequent back tracking and panic of the conservative Christian Republican base?
Cause maybe – just maybe – it’s enough of an outrageously ridiculous predicament to get my former tribe to take a long hard look in the mirror enough to do some soul searching and to find the reflection of Jesus there again.
I dunno. I honestly don’t really even care. With my new-found freedom from intimidation and tribe-less existence I’ve changed my political affiliation to Democrat and am Feeling the Bern, even despite my uber Libertarian husband’s raised eyebrows. He cheers me on to vote my conscience even when it leads me to different conclusions than his own. I cheer everyone on to do the same – vote your conscience, that is, without fear or intimidation. Just make sure you’ve really searched it deeply and with full integrity.
Anything less and eventually we’re going to have to deal with the dragons we create.