Saturday, May 19, 2012

5 Curiosities about US Christians and Politics

I find it all very interesting. I've been following the Republican primaries and reading the christian comments around it all. It's curious.

1. It seems widely accepted that conservativism is a Christian virtue.
2. Many seem to think that abortion, same sex marriage and me not paying a cent more tax are the only issues that God cares about.
3. Many seem to grossly overestimate the power that conservative christians wield within the Republican party.
4. Many seem to have an inflated estimation of the importance of the US in God's plans for creation.
5. Many seem to have an insane prejudice against President Obama. [Silly. Even the Third Eagle of the Apocalypse accepts that he is not the Antichrist.]


  1. The prejudice against Obama is (I think) partly racism left over from slavery and partly the Southern Honor Culture, which is against any central authority that aims to be take control of violence from the individual. remember Glen Beck's national mall assembly was held under the banner 'Restoring Honour.'

  2. Check out Sojourners just for a sense of balance.

  3. Uh oh - you just used the word 'around' instead of 'about'!!

  4. I've heard Americans who don't usually reside in America say similar things to these, especially number 4. Or you could expand it to God's plans for this world. You know, the president is the most powerful person in the world etc. etc.

  5. Re point 1, I think this is true (although perhaps to a less obvious extent) in Australia as well.

  6. Re: 2 I doubt that, but until you can get into the mind of a conservative it might look that way. They don't want the government supplying social benefits, they want that done through voluntary charity. So they want lower taxes, but unlike Australian Christians overall, they are far more generous, so they do actually give more money when their taxes are lower. It's a philosophical difference about how to go about it, not a 'God only cares about' difference.

    Re: 5 I'm not sure it is a prejudice. They didn't want him as a President because they thought he'd do the sort of things that he's done. Now he's done those kind of things, they're opposed to what he's done and what he's likely to do if he gets another term. Is that 'prejeudice' or simply 'strong opposition'?

    Particularly for US Christians with roughly orthodox beliefs, the latest directive requiring Christian organisations to include abortion, sterilization, and birth control in employee health plans is a really big deal. It requires Christian groups to actively do something they believe is morally wrong - not just pay taxes to a government that does it, but do it themselves. To get the sense of it, you'd have to imagine that Andrew was being forced to state publicly in Church, put up on the website etc, that the current policy towards boat people was okay and/or your church be required to personally give money towards the upkeep of internment camps for asylum seekers - not just pay taxes, but personally write the cheque to pay for it. A mandated requirement to personally financially support something you were morally opposed to at a deep level.

    Even the University of Notre Dame, which gave Obama an honorary doctorate, and so is hardly prejudiced against him, has now filed lawsuit against the bill.

    Obama ran as a moderate who was going to transcend partisan politics. But he's pursued one of the most radically progressive policies yet. Conservative anger about his administration isn't 'insane prejudice', any more than progressive anger about Bush's (or even more, Reagan's) administration was.

    I doubt race or southern honor codes have much to do with it. The mutual hostility between progressive and conservatives in the U.S. is an expression of their 'culture wars' and is likely to only heat up more from here.

  7. Quite glad I live in Britain, where we have a political system that is more geared up to consensus politics, because of the parliamentry system, and we have a secular culture that does not have any of the 'cobwebs' and hangups of the religious culture of America vs the liberal 'progressives'. Mark my words, Obama would not be called a 'progressive' this side of the Atlantic!