By Michael V. Wilson
For a long time now, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that Christians, Conservatives, and Republicans are three separate groups who sometimes overlap but far more often are completely at odds with one another, to the point it would be honest to say there’s a low-level war going on among them.
Let’s take a look at the core values of each group, in alphabetical order, then demonstrate how those values are antithetical to each other.
For the last 2,000 years Christian beliefs and values haven’t budged, they’ve remained the same, particularly among those who refer to themselves as blood-bought, born-again Christians.
The reason, of course, is quite simple; their beliefs are based on the Bible, a book that was finalized less than a hundred years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and hasn’t changed since then. The Bible includes as canon, both the Old and New Testaments, which Christians see as being divinely inspired “breathed into” by God to 44 different men over a period of 1,500 years. Jesus used His ministry to verify the veracity and accuracy of the Old Testament, which is why Christians hold it in such high esteem.
Christians believe the Bible is accurate in everything it affirms. They also believe that, like a newspaper, it factually reports on events that are brutal, evil, or just plain ugly. In fact, at the beginning of the Gospel (good news) of Luke, he states he’s going to give the reader an “orderly account” of the events he’s describing. So, Doctor Luke (he was a physician) is one of the world’s first written reporters.
The Bible often uses its reporting as a basis for demonstrating God’s ability to turn good into bad (see the case of Joseph sold into slavery in Egypt) or to show the results of sin (an archery term for missing the mark) which leads to death.
Core Christian beliefs are as follows:
Whether you’re a Christian or not, whether you believe the Bible is the Word or God or not, they believe these things with all their hearts. Even if you think it’s utter hogwash, that makes not one scintilla of difference to them. They believe it, and more importantly, they act on it.
Quite often, Conservatives are primarily pictured as “standing athwart history, yelling Stop,” at the top of their lungs. If so, it’s largely their own fault. That saying was found, perhaps “coined” is a better way of putting it, in the very first issue of National Review in November 1955 when William F. Buckley Jr. wrote;
It is not that, of course; if National Review is superfluous, it is so for very different reasons: It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.
Conservatives favor the “tried and true” over those things which are new and untested. They strongly resist making wholesale changes to society, in our laws, customs, traditions, or morals without first subjecting them to an extended and intensive period of study and testing to ensure what works isn’t being replaced with what doesn’t. In their minds, once the damage is done, reversing it is a gargantuan undertaking that will often require more time and resources than the change that created it. To avoid that result, they often counsel a slow, steady approach to problems and their solutions.
Although Conservatives usually espouse a belief in God, they take an ecumenical approach to the subject and are very vague about what shape such belief should take. Despite their use of Christian sayings and imagery, their beliefs in God seem to be more along the lines of an amorphous, shadowy “Force” than any kind of personal God. While many of them may be Christians, their allegiance to Conservatism would appear to be stronger than their allegiance to the Cross of Christ.
Core Conservative beliefs are as follows:
Conservatives can best be pictured as slow and methodical, refusing to be rushed until they examine every issue from every side before making a decisions. They’re strongly in favor of divided government in order to restrain its power but they’re equally in favor of strong laws to restrain unbridled human passions which they view as unpredictable, deadly, and destructive.
Whereas Christianity is a religion and Conservatism is a movement, Republicanism is a political party. As such, it is focused primarily on political power and achievements. Republicans focus almost exclusively on government, what it can and can’t do, what it should and shouldn’t do. Republicans pride themselves on their pragmatism and have a hard time believing anyone would actually try to live out their religious faith. This is one of the reasons they have a hard time believing Muslims will commit atrocities under the influence of their religion.
Republicans need votes to obtain and maintain political office, therefore they are outwardly oriented and focused on the voters in their particular state or district. To a certain extent however, they are also inwardly focused on maintaining party unity in the face of adversity or attacks from other political parties or the media. A third focus that vies for their attention is the inner workings of government itself, the day-in and day-out mechanics of writing and passing legislation, often compromising with their political opponents to get things done. The old saying, “half a loaf is better than none” epitomizes this position.
Republicans also suffer from a malady that is perhaps unique to their party, the existence within their ranks of members who are Republicans In Name Only – RINO’s. These are members who outwardly espouse and publicly declare their allegiance to the beliefs and values of Republicans but often act and/or vote in an opposite manner, usually in secret or after they’re elected or securely established in office. Republican judges are especially well known for their “leftward drift” once they secure an appointed position from which they can’t easily be removed.
Core Republican beliefs are as follows:
The Republican need for approval from the media and the public, in that order, has led them to compromise on many, if not all of these principles to one degree or another. The political need to compromise with the opposition in order to “get things done” is what led to the creation of RINO’s.
Contrasting the Three
First of all, notice how little common ground there is in the core beliefs of the three groups. You have to search long and hard to find issues they all agree on.
Christian beliefs are solid and unyielding. If God truly exists and His principles are what Christians must follow then, there is really no other option. Conservatives and Republicans however, have watered down their beliefs in God to the point where it’s become a cafeteria style, take-it-or-leave-it proposition, depending on how convenient it is at the moment.
The result is a never-ending source of tension between the three groups. Republicans need Christian votes to get elected so they’re forced to pay lip service to Christian beliefs and make promises to them based on those beliefs but their perceived need to compromise once they’re in office leads them to renege on those promises virtually from Day One.
This is particularly evident in the fight over evolution vs. creation. It’s a core belief for Christians but for Republicans its much ado over nothing. If Christians would only be reasonable and compromise a little everything would be fine. So say the Republicans. Christians angrily retort that the evidence in favor of creation is overwhelming but Republicans are too afraid of being called ignorant Bible-thumping hillbillies to stand up and fight for the truth. The argument goes around and around from Darwin on up to the present day with no end in sight.
Republicans also need Conservative votes to get elected, as well as the intellectual firepower Conservatives bring to the table for creating and advancing policy positions and strategies but the Conservative desire for slow, careful deliberations often flies in the face of the realities of a political establishment that favors knee-jerk reactions and is predominantly led by Democrats and always championed by the Media. Democrats and their compliant friends in the Media are fearless in attacking Republicans and hurling accusations at them. That many of the accusations are false is irrelevant. Republicans are cowed by the old saying, “Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” Fearful of bad press coverage, their spine weakens and they cave in to their opponents, even when Republicans are in the majority in any given situation.
Christians who truly follow God are morally prohibited from voting Democratic and thus, are stuck voting for Republicans they view as liars at best, turncoats and traitors at worst. The frustration is tremendous, it leaves Christians feeling ignored and voiceless. There is a palatable sense of dealing with the devil, leading many Christians to stay home on election day out of the conviction there’s no one on the ballot they can trust.
Conservatives are frustrated with Republicans as well, although for different reasons. Republican voters, many of them Christians, turned out by the millions to vote for Donald J. Trump, a man Conservatives view with horror for his gauche attitude, brash words, disdain for the establishment, and seat-of-the-pants leadership. The fact Trump was often right only rubs salt in the wound.
The Republican establishment may be onboard with Conservative attitudes toward Trump but they are worlds apart on fundamental policy decisions on such things as the southern border, economics, and abuse of government power. Conservative think tanks fire off one policy position paper after another and Republicans promptly ignore them in favor of kowtowing to the Media and their Democrat opponents in order to curry favor. Amassing and centralizing government power works in favor of Republicans as much as it does for Democrats. Conservatives, in the eyes of most Republicans, just don’t get it.
Conservatives are equally disappointed with Christians’ churlish insistence on eradicating abortion, gay marriage, Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools, evolution, and anti-racism racism. Conservatives still haven’t finished assessing the damage caused by those changes and already Christians want to step in and change them back without letting Conservatives do their slow, careful analysis of the problems.
Republicans, on the other hand, impatiently view Conservatives as slow moving dinosaurs who refuse to understand you can’t go backwards in a progressive era. After all, “progressive” means progress, implying movement going forward rather than standing athwart history, yelling Stop. Conservatives also fail to understand the Republican desire (need, really) to cooperate with Democrats and the Media to get perks, money, power, and prestige. There are some Conservatives who succumb to those same desires, at which time they switch from the Conservative camp to the Republican one while still touting their Conservative credentials.
Republican save their strongest ire for Christians for many of the same reasons as Conservatives but with the added indignity of having to coddle them at election time in order to get their votes. Republicans constantly warn (threaten) Christians if they don’t vote Republican they’re essentially casting a vote for the demonic Democrats but the fact is, Republicans can’t possibly win an election without Christian votes, a reality they do their best to hide and ignore, but which chafes on them like a shoe that’s two sizes too small. In regards to Christians, Republicans feel caught between a rock and a hard place with no practical way out.
Christians see many Conservatives and Republicans as blasphemous heretics destined to burn in Hell but are too polite to say it out loud. Neither group can be trusted; when the chips are down they’ll turn on Christians like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Conservatives look down their noses at the impulsiveness of Republicans who can’t resist reacting off the cuff to the latest issue of the day. Christian pigheadedness, from their point of view, is equally problematic, although in the opposite direction.
Republicans are impatient with their Conservative brethren and embarrassed by the presence of Christians.
Once, there was a time when Christians, Conservatives, and Republicans were essentially indistinguishable. This led to a common assumption among many, an assumption which still persists, that together they form the political “right” in America.
As soon as Conservatives and Republicans began to drift away from their Christian roots and values, an irreconcilable split began to develop. Christians were unable to follow them into the wilderness while remaining true to their calling; those churches that did travel with them quickly became apostate churches, celebrating “gay marriages”, ordaining homosexual priests, advocating for abortion, and celebrating transgender-everything.
Lacking a common Christian theological foundation for their own principles and values, Conservatives and Republicans also drifted apart from each other, drawn by opposing ideas in different directions until finally, we arrived at the place we are today;
Christians, Conservatives, and Republicans are three separate groups who sometimes overlap.
And short of a miracle – it’s not going to change.