Who is “evangelical”? My name is Andrea

I became a Christian at the age of 13.  That means, to me, that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, and therefore, have received the free gift of salvation.  I was relieved to learn, through scripture, that my salvation was not based on “works”, behaviors or activities, because we are all sinners and can never be good enough, no matter how hard we try.

That was also around the time I became interested in politics, and didn’t view them as one in the same, nor do I now; the belief that many seem to hold that once a Christian, it’s an automatic vote for whichever candidate professes policies based upon some man’s predetermined criteria of how a “good Christian” should vote.

I come from a long line of Christian Democrats, and my immediate family were the first to “turn” Republican, thanks to “Jimmy”, who professed to be a Born Again Christian and is considered by many to be the worst President in history. So much for that criteria.

There’s much talk about the “evangelical” vote and why they didn’t vote overwhelmingly for Ted Cruz in South Carolina.  I wondered myself, and have been pondering the answer.  Pondering, as opposed to offering judgments that they should have, simply because he said some magic words that should have compelled a Christian to vote his way.

My first course of action in my pondering was to Google the definition of “evangelical”, a word I never heard growing up a Christian in the Bible belt.

It seems there’s an organization, the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) who has a definition and list of criteria in order to qualify as one.  I didn’t see an application for membership, and aren’t interested in qualifying.  I don’t look to man to define my faith.  The only definition I care about of Christianity can be found in the pages of the Bible.  Which, ironically, qualifies me to be an “evangelical” according to the NAE.

I have no desire to become part of a convenient “identity group” to be used politically by the right in the same way the left uses women, gays, and minorities.  The NAE can keep their group and their definitions, just like the NRO can keep their definition of conservativism and judgments against the heatherns who support Trump, who doesn’t live up to their criteria.

I’m a Christian and a conservative, and feel free to exercise my individual freedom to think for myself and decide what those terms mean to me, and all GOP candidates need to understand that I am not part of a group with group think, and can’t bullied into voting for a candidate under threat of being accused of being unchristian and “not voting my principles”, ie theirs.

Just like I can’t be shamed into supporting open borders for fear of being labeled racist, or supporting increased entitlements for fear of being accused of hating poor people .  Being labeled “unchristian” may be the new card in the deck, but don’t waste your time or mine drawing it on me.

The GOP has been pandering to Christians for decades by assuming that by a candidate simply saying they’re pro life, they automatically earn a Christian’s vote.  It’s as insulting as Hillary thinking that she deserves a woman’s votes simply because she possesses “lady parts”.  And when they don’t, they’re attacked.

Glenn Beck said “if the country is lost, it’s because Christians didn’t vote for Cruz”.  He went on to say, “you can’t blame the left.  You can’t blame Hillary Clinton.  You can’t blame anyone else but the Christians, who are not living and voting their principles”.

How else are the voters in SC not living up to their Christian principles, Beck?  Are they watching movies you haven’t approved of either?  Are they disciplining their children in a way that you don’t agree? Can you provide your list of acceptable principles for Christian living?  I can’t find in any my Bible, nor can I find you listed as a source of authority.

Vote Beck’s way or risk not only being labeled unchristian but to blame for the failure of the country? I’m not sure if the loss of nutrition from his “fast for Cruz” impaired his thinking, or if he’s just drawing upon the left’s tactics that have worked well on Christians who have been bullied with all the other cards in the deck.  Clearly he’s the one who’s “lost” if he thinks he has any authority, Biblical or otherwise, to cast judgments or heap scorn on anyone.

Are Christians pro life and anti Planned Parenthood?  Of course! Many are basing their votes on that issue alone, and I have no issue with that.  I view Christians as citizens with the same rights as others to think for themselves and who answer only to God.  No one was more horrified than I over the revelations as to what PP has been doing and Christian’s money being taken to pay for it.  There is no greater evil than the shredding of babies to sell their parts.

But, not all Christians vote on that issue alone, obviously.  Maybe some Christians care about individual liberty and individual responsibility.  Maybe they view that as not only important, but the underpinnings of society. Do they think Roe v Wade should be overturned? Obviously most do.  But maybe some also see individual responsibility at play and that ultimately a woman’s “choice” is on her, and we shouldn’t look to the government to control our lives, make our decisions for us, and basically, be God.

Maybe after 40 years of voting for pro life candidates and seeing Roe V Wade very much still the law of the land, they no longer view that as the overriding criteria for a vote, because they’ve given up and feel it’s just a false promise and talking point of a campaign.

Maybe they’re voting for another candidate who also says he’s pro-life, even though he was pro choice years ago. Maybe those Christians take a candidate’s word for it when they say they have changed their views on a subject from “liberal” to “conservative”.  As a Christian, we’re supposed to witness to others, and we pray we can change other’s hearts and minds.  So when they do, we call them liars?  Is that “Christian” behavior?

What is Christian behavior?  The Pope weighed in this week and proceeded to define and judge a Christian based upon someone’s views on policy.  Many would see that as unchristian.

The exit polls in SC appear to show many equally unchristian people based upon the Pope’s criteria. 73% said that they agreed with Trump’s idea to temporarily ban muslim non citizens from coming to America.  The number one issue for the voters was terrorism at 32%.  The combined categories of economy and jobs/government spending totaled 56%.

Is it unchristian to make security and economic responsibility a top priority?  I don’t think it’s unchristian to lock the doors of your home.  I don’t think it’s unchristian to make sure your fiscal house is in order before adopting 10 orphans.  On these issues, the voters chose who they believed had the best plan.

How is it unchristian to place the lives of Americans that are at risk of terrorism a priority?  How is it unchristian to be scared about the economic future of your children’s lives and their children’s, and to make that a priority?

How is it that someone got chosen to decide for Christians which policy items were most “Christian”, and why didn’t I get to vote in that election?

How is it that people who support a candidate, who says one of his top priorities is to protect the religious freedoms of Americans, are attacking Christians for exercising their religion?

How is it they think this will help Cruz?  All it does is foster division within the party, and we’ve had enough of that these past 7 years, and we don’t need more of it.

Just like I don’t need the NAE to define me and my Christian beliefs and don’t need NRO to define conservativism, I don’t need the Pope, any one or any organization to define “Christian living and principles” for me.  That includes for what policies and what pol I should vote.

What I need is to be given a reason by the candidates to give them my vote.  And that means a reason to vote for them, vs just why I shouldn’t vote for the other guy.  Cruz has many great positions and policy ideas on a range of issues, and should be encouraged to spend as much time on those as the social ones, as they all should.  That way we all can make the best decision we can, drawing upon our own principles and beliefs.

I haven’t made my decision yet who I will vote for in the primary.  There are pros and cons for each, and I’m sorting through it all, while keeping the candidates, our party and nation in my prayers.  I do know I will vote for any GOP candidate over Hillary or Bernie.

And, most importantly, I know that my Christianity and my salvation is based in my belief in Jesus alone, not a vote or any other action. Because of that, above all, I have hope for our nation and our future, regardless of who wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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