bradhicks has written an interesting series of articles on where he thinks that those Christians most closely aligned with the Republican Party in the U. S. have gone wrong. bradhicks is a non-Christian who enjoys arguing Christian theology, and I suspect that many Christians will argue that this is precisely his problem. I would find such arguments unconvincing; In particular I think that, to treat the other side in an argument with respect, it is important to try to understand their belief system and to try to make arguments rooted in that belief system. The most powerful argument one can rationally make is that the other side's system of beliefs is logically inconsistent, in some way. We should all expect to revise our beliefs as we get older and most experienced, and the moment we start to grasp for excuses not to listen to the criticism of others, we essentially freeze our intellectual development at that point and grow very little more beyond that point. The articles are at the following links:
I'm also not a Christian, although I'm not drawn to theological discussions the way bradhicks is. While I'm not prone to religious beliefs, it's always seemed to me that Christianity does have some very positive messages. I have often suspected that the more hateful and bigoted messages that some people seem to read from Christianity are on shakier theological ground. My tendency to agree with bradhicks's articles probably has more to do with their agreement with what I want to believe than with any knowledge I have about Christian theology; I simply have too many friends who are Christians, and I don't want to believe that they must inevitably endorse the more extreme messages of bigotry and hate.
This past election, I did something that I have never done before: I voted exclusively for Democratic candidates. I didn't set out to do this. I actually researched the positions of the candidates for all of the contested races in my district, and found that every republican candidate seemed, in some way, to be endorsing the use of government to push Christian values on all of us, even those of us who are not Christians. Naturally, as a non-Christian, I find this very troubling, but surely even Christians must see that breaking one's oath of office and using government to push Christianity on Americans cannot be a good idea. Perhaps part of the issue is that I live in Kansas and that elsewhere, I might find acceptable candidates in other parties. Both parties do things that are offensive to me, and neither party deserves my loyalty to such an extent that I would set out to vote exclusively for candidates in one party. Democrats frustrate me enough that it is remarkable that I found them always to be the lessor evil, last month.
Personally, I think it is a mistake for either party to embrace religion. When a candidate who happens to be a Christian wins and takes his oath of office, he should take the First Amendment to heart. While honest people can disagree on the subtleties of the meaning of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment, surely it must mean something. The Establishment Clause must offer those of us who are not Christians some meaningful protection against the theocratic ambitions of the more extreme Christians who take office, or it is hard to understand what meaning that clause really has. But if Republicans must affiliate themselves with Christianity, must they always identify with the most hateful and intolerant factions of Christianity, this time around? Don't moderate Christians deserve the same voice in the Republican party that the most extreme and intolerant Christian fundamentalists have?