Secularists are urging the Republican Party to disassociate with Christianity.
Because "Americans are moving away from Christianity, including people most likely to vote Republican."
And if they don't?
"If the GOP doesn't renege on it's alliance with Christianity, it will soon become irrelevant."
SALON Magazine, a champion of the secular Left, says in the August 25 edition feature story, "The trend away from religion, and Christianity in particular is the real cause for the Republicans' woes and their failure to win the last two elections."
SALON's subtitle reads: "A widening 'Godless gap' presents Christian conservatives with a choice; Get with the times or shrink to obscurity."
Matthew Sheffield writes for SALON that Ted Cruz's failure to get the GOP nomination "is a perfect window into the trends that will set the pace of American politics for decades to come: Americans are moving away from Christianity, including people most likely to vote Republican."
Sheffield also summarizes the state of the Christian political community, noting that even Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who won Iowa in past elections, couldn't even win that state this time around before they dropped out.
He notes that Governor Bobby Jindal---also a committed Christian, quit months before even a single vote was cast.
He says the failure of McCain and Romney is also tied to this problem of Christianity in the GOP.
"And Cruz," he says, "despite being significantly better financed and supported by more conservative leaders than previous Christian nationalist candidates, was barely able to win any primary states at all; his main strength was in caucus states where popular appeal wasn't as important."
He then notes the numbers in a 2014 Pew Research study that says 23% of Americans say they're "unaffiliated" with any religious tradition, up from 20% three years earlier.
Why would we care what "SALON" thinks?
I wouldn't, except 28.9 million people in the US will see/read this article and 34.9 million worldwide.
The writer is either ignorant or unbelievably misinformed. Or on a mission.
He fails to mention that the very same Pew Report---one that we wrote about a year ago or more, showed that over 70% of Americans continue to identify as "Christian."
That means that to a large majority of Americans, God still matters.
Sheffield says that atheists overwhelmingly vote Democrat---he's right they do, but he comes up with the wrong diagnosis for the Republican Party---maybe purposefully? Who knows?
He is telling his world that the Republicans should follow the same model as the Democratic Party and alienate the pro-life community, religious believers and traditional families, with the hope of reaching out to a relatively small group of religiously unaffiliated people.
Sheffield insists that if the GOP would just sell its soul and dump Christianity, things would go a whole lot better---"This," he says, "includes embracing same-sex marriage and other positions at odds with biblical morality."
He concludes, "Regardless of what happens to GOP candidates in November, Christian conservatives face a choice..."
This is true.
Sheffield sees the "choice" like this: "Although the Republican Party espouses no particular religion and many of its members care more about the economy and national security than religious belief, the GOP has been a home to many people of faith, including those who have felt betrayed by Democrats' callous treatment of believing Christians and Jews."
He defines the choice of Christians as:
- "They can embrace identity politics and become a small group of frustrated Christian nationalists who grow ever more resentful toward their fellow Americans"; or,
- "They can embrace reality and render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's."
There is a 3rd choice.
Dr. Thomas Williams, writing for Breitbart News says, "What Sheffield seems not to realize is that for many Americans, the choice of being Christian is not just a means to a secular end. Embracing or rejecting faith in God is not the result of a political calculus whose ultimate goal is mirroring societal trends and thus achieving popularity and victory. To let social surveys dictate one's political platform, raising a finger to the wind every time fashions change, is to have the shallowest of views of the meaning of politics."
I agree with Williams, at least 70 million Americans---maybe more, still believe that political parties should ultimately be guided not just by pragmatism and polls, but by deeply held convictions concerning the common good, justice, Truth, and freedom.
For most of us who claim to follow Jesus Christ, our political beliefs do not merely lead us to tolerate religious faith, but our political beliefs are born from our deeply held Christian biblical faith and convictions.
Therein lies the 3rd choice.
We believe that it is "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts."
Sheffield would not get that.
The Old Testament prophets warned about trusting in man and man's methods instead of in God.
When his nation Israel was tempted to appeal to Egypt for help against her enemies, Isaiah warned the political leaders (Is. 31:3), "Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh and not spirit."
The Psalmist said "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God" (20:7),
Be Mindful. Be Faithful. Be Blessed.