I Think We Need Truth in Labeling

My best friend called me yesterday, fuming about a solicitation call she’d just received.

The woman caller identified herself as a volunteer for the Republican Party. She began by thanking my friend for her past, generous support of the GOP–and indeed, my friend was an active Republican voter and donor for many years. Her husband served two terms in the General Assembly as a Republican State Senator. However, like so many of my friends and family, she no longer supports the party, and when the woman at the other end of the phone asked whether she would consider a contribution, she said so.

“I’m a Democrat now,” she informed the volunteer. The volunteer (predictably) asked if she would share why she had left the GOP; my friend responded that she strongly disagreed with the party’s positions on social issues, especially abortion and homosexuality. It is not government’s job to decide whether you procreate, or who you love; the party used to understand that “limited” government meant limited to matters that are properly the province of the state.

There was a pause. The woman on the phone then asked “Don’t you think we should consider the will of god?  Shouldn’t the government have a role in ensuring that we live by what’s written in the bible?” to which my friend responded “Whose bible? Whose god?” Another pause, then the question: “are you a Christian?”  When my friend said she was not, the woman evidently had an “ah ha” moment, because she ended the conversation by saying “Oh, that explains it.” According to my friend, she might just as well have said, “Now I understand–you are not one of us.”

The conversation made it quite clear that, to this volunteer (and presumably others like her), the Republican party is no longer a political enterprise. It’s a religious movement, a party by and for Christians. Not just any Christian, either–it’s the party for what they call “bible-believing” Christians, the party of Rick Santorum and Mike Pence. If there are still those in the party who take a more traditional approach, who understand the purpose of politics to be participation in secular governance and political outreach to be the building of a bigger, more inclusive tent, they presumably hadn’t communicated that to this particular foot soldier.

The conversation simply confirmed the reality of today’s Republican party–a party consisting of what has been described as “a shrinking base of aging, ethnically monolithic, and geographically isolated voters.” Christian voters. Perhaps we could achieve more clarity in our political discourse if the GOP stopped trying to be coy, and just renamed itself the Christian Party. In its current iteration, it certainly isn’t the Republican Party that my friend and I used to support. That party disappeared a long time ago.

The volunteer on the other end of line simply confirmed its transformation.


  1. Yep. I’m waiting for the Roman Catholic Church to change its name to the Republican Catholic Church. As one who grew up in the era after Vatican II, I don’t even recognize the Church any longer.

    It’s too bad your friend didn’t go after the volunteer a bit:

    “Are you a Christian?”

    “Why, yes, I am.”

    “Then don’t you believe in God’s will, and that it should guide our government?”

    “Sure, but Jesus talked about the poor many times. He said nothing about homosexuality. He said nothing about cutting taxes. He called for separation of church and state with that render unto Caesar line.”


    “Ah, that explains it. You were taught not to think for yourself, but to let your pastor think for you. You fit right in with the modern GOP. Have a blessed day.”

  2. If anyone doubts the power of the Catholic church worldwide, consider how many news items you have watched about their comings, goings and doings. What other religous faction, and it is only one faction, receives this much media coverage – world wide. Sheila and I worked in the same Republican administration under Mayor Bill Hudnut who was also a Presbyterian minister. His work for this city was not religion-based; it was looking to a better future for Indianapolis and all residents. We did much good work under this good man who “reached across the aisle” to accomplish what needed to be done. He cared not for race, religion, sexual orientation or sex of qualified workers he surrounded himself with. Also, like Sheila, I have removed myself totally from the GOP and everything they stand for. This saddens me because I sorely miss tracking candidates by what they have done, what they promise to do and the amount of time they spend in all communities looking for needs to be met. This is not only true locally but at the national level in all issues. Now we are at the mercy of the NRA and misguided gun lobbyists backed by the GOP and the Tea Party spouting lies and misconceptions about the term “gun control” and what the 2nd Amendment means. Indisciminate killing isn’t a Christian trait or right; it is an invention of the new Republican party who have forgotten that the Bill of Rights was written to protect – not arm nutcases with lethal weapons, decide if we are intelligent enough to decide to have or not have a child, who we should love and especially which religion we should force on others. After reading the phone conversation between Sheila’s friend and the Repuplican solicitor, I’m glad I am deaf and no longer have to listen to these people. I just hit the “delete” key on my computer when similar newsletters come through.

  3. Once your pregnant, you’ve already “procreated.” The issue of abortion isn’t about whether one should have the right to create life or not, but at what stage that life, already created, deserves protection.

  4. I am a Roman Catholic–still–and a Democrat–and I wonder if some of these fundamentalist Christians (I am not one) ever read the New Testament. Do they read the Epistle of James, for example, which says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction….” Recognition of issues of social justice exist throughout the New Testament specifically. I further believe that we do not choose our sexual orientation–and there is nothing I’ve read in the Bible that suggests that we do–so to try to legislate matters of sexuality is inane, in my opinion. Marriage between same sex couples is already illegal in Indiana; there is no need for further legislation on the matter–let alone Constitutional legislation. Jesus, who advocated in his public life, that we should “love one another” certainly wouldn’t recognize many practices of organized religion today–no matter what the denomination. My apologies for venting. Have a lovely day. I always have hope that things will improve.

  5. In regard to Bill’s comment – I did think about that after the call. But I think if I had said I was Christian, I wouldn’t have been a ‘true’ Christian in the caller’s view.

  6. Don’t let them appropriate “Christian.” That allows them to derive power from multitudes of Christians who don’t remotely agree with their policies.

  7. Agree with Doug above – these people are so far from being “Christian” in their relationship and treatment of others. They have far more in common with the Pharisees of the Old Testament than the Early Christians of the New Testament.

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