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Religious Right, Religious Identity, and Life Overseas

March 28th, 2013 | Posted by Lana Hope in Culture | Politics

gay-rights-symbol

So I’m sure everyone saw these profile pictures on facebook, as people across America showed their support for marriage equality. You probably also saw status messages, pictures, and the works from conservatives counteracting to the equality photos. Blogger Libby Anne summarized these for us,  but I wanted to touch on something else triggered by *this* photo — that of the conservative identity.

Christian Identity and Marriage Equality

Evangelicals have tried their might for the last several decades to convince us that being an evangelical Christian means having conservative political views (usually Republican but sometimes 3rd party). As a child I never questioned that claim. It was just a fact. Evangelicals are Republican. Sure, I heard that Methodists are more into charities, and so are supportive of welfare programs, but I always had the Religious Right lurking over me, showing me, guiding me, on the Christian political life.

So the Religious Right became part of my Christian identity. I accepted it as as part of the religious package deal.

I’m not the only who has noticed this identity. So has Jonny, who blogs at Leaving Fundamentalism.

Funnily enough, the political indoctrination hung around the longest. Even when I’d rejected everything else ACE taught me, I was still furiously right wing. But I’ve learned that there were big flaws in their radical free market ideology just as much as in other areas, and now I’d like to see politics that takes care of the poor and the planet.

The reason voting for social programs is so hard for a current or former fundamentalist or evangelical is that the conservative position is apart of our identity. Its so engrained in us that its very hard to identify as less than the gospel truth. The Religious Right is slowly losing their ground because Christians are tired of the anti-gay, anti-women stance. But nonetheless, the image they try to portray is that Christians should be united on politics, and if you are not on their team, then, your not a Christian.

After living in Asia, this religious identity jumped out at me.

Because in Asia, that’s not how we dig.

See, where I lived in Asia, political positions are not part of the religious identity. My Asian friends often dump their political opinions on me, and people disagree plenty — oh they disagree — but they disagree not based upon whether they were an evangelical or Buddhist. When I go to church there, I can’t walk in church expecting 90% of the people to be in political agreement based upon their Christian faith. Other factors certainly influence their political perspective, such as location, class, ability to read or not, but the religion itself does not tell me what political parties an individual supports.

This religious identity is so engrained in us that when a Christian finally moves from the Right to the Left, a popular response is then to tell people that Jesus would vote democrat, or that all Christians should support gay rights. In an ideal world, all Christians would agree, but life doesn’t work that way. Its messy. Its confusing. And its not black and white.

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10 Responses

  • Andy says:

    I agree & disagree at the same time.

    There are passive Christians who do not get involved in politics such as the Mennonites and the Amish and there are some mixed of every denomination who just feel that God does not want us to engage in politics but then you have the people who believe in the Kingdom Now theology who think they absolutely have to work at putting Christians into every office and I don’t agree with their reasoning behind that. I do think about the story of Esther where God used her to save the people and she had to go against the dictates of the law so I think we are justified to vote our conscience and protect our freedoms as best we can and beyond that pray and ask God what he wants us to do when it comes to politics in situations that we are not sure of. I do think that we still have to speak out when we think something is not right and be that “voice in the wilderness” but at the same time not force beliefs on someone they have to make choices for themselves.

    I think we have to look to the Bible for our example on this one. The LGBT community says they want equal rights to marry and that Christians are discriminating against them and I have to say that’s not true because it was God who created marriage and one of the reasons he created marriage was for procreation. How can homosexuals accomplish that? Many LGBT’s are not Christians simply because of the Bible’s stance on homosexuality so why do they want the Bible’s marriage for themselves when they don’t want to accept other parts of the Bible? Why are they so hung up on being married. God considered marriage between a man & woman so marriage does not apply to them. Why aren’t they asking for civil unions or something all their own?

    Another issue is the changing of the Laws. Where do we draw the line? If the government allows homosexuals to marry and recognize them as they do heterosexual couples then next will come bestiality and people wanting to marry their dog or cat or their baby.You might think well, that’s crazy and will never happen but Fifty years ago if someone would have brought the idea up of homosexuals marrying they would have been called crazy, remember what God said about the generations getting worse building up to the end? 2Timothy 3:13; Matthew 24:37-38; Matthew 24:22 etc. BUT………

    I don’t believe the government should be involved in this issue to begin with. It all goes back to the founding of this country and what the role of the federal government was supposed to be. It was not supposed to take a stance on these types of issues somewhere along the line a certain group of people discovered that if you could divide a nation on issues such as this and others like it you can gain control over all the people (that old divide & conquer strategy) and it’s working very well. Our nation is more divided than it ever was and that in my opinion is all done by design. If they feel we have to address the issue then I say let each state decide individually and BIG Brother stay out of our lives and only do what you were put there for and nothing else.

    Another issue is that because the majority of the nation is Christian that all other groups are being discriminated against and that’s just not so. America has more freedoms than any other country to believe, worship and engage in politics etc. We are quickly losing those freedoms one by one in the guise of fairness & equality. When we are all equal under the law. We will all be miserable equal slaves to a global elite guided by Satan.

    Christians can turn back around and say that we are being discriminated against every time we have our rights taken away to cater to a few people who are in the minority while we are in the majority and I don’t believe the media when they say that we are the minority. I believe the Media Lies to the left and the right whether you watch CNN or Fox news. And those same people who say they don’t have rights are lying because it is not a crime to be LGBT here in America like say in a middle eastern country ruled by the extreme sect of Muslims ( I’m not referring to the other sect of Muslims who are peaceful).

    I read in one of your articles (maybe this one?) that you believe people can’t help being gay and that I disagree with you on. I don’t believe that people are ever just born that way. I believe there are 3 possible reasons for people living that lifestyle :

    1) They are abused as a child.

    2)They were brought up in a non-christian home and were seduced by friends, gay pornography etc. as a teen or adult.

    3) demonic spirits of homosexuality ( I believe that evil spirits exist to help Satan in leading us astray and each have specific assignments. Jesus and the disciples cast out evil spirits. They do exist and they do look to inhabit us and influence us to sin)

    Now I do think that if there is no spiritual protective covering over a family an evil spirit can enter a person as a baby so that the child will experience those feelings very early in life. Satan doesn’t play fair.

    • Lana says:

      Actually what I said is that I don’t think people choose to be gay. By that, I mean its not as simply as say, “one, two, three, I’m not straight” or “one, two, three, I’m now straight.” There is a subtle distinction.

      On the slippery slope argument, I do get where your coming from. But it will never be legal to marry an animal because that’s sex without consent. But will happen next is marriage between multiple partners. That does make me uncomfortable because having lived overseas, my opinion of men who have mulitple wives is that they hate women. And yes, its marriage based on consent, but then, is it? It makes me uneasy, at best. But then, that scenerio is without feminism that grants women the right for multiple husbands.

      The Bible also makes it clear that divorce is wrong, and we allow divorce in our government and divorce people in our church. I can’t enforce that standard on other people. Its their life, not mine. When someone’s sex takes over the rights of other people (such as an animal, on a child), I will most certainly say the law should be in place.

      Then again, prostitution is legal in Netherlands, and I found Amsterdam depressing. So I guess in a since, I’d like the world to be different. But man’s hearts are hardened. What is a person supposed to do? And I think Jesus made it clear that our job is to love people, and let Him handle the rest.

    • Val says:

      I think Christian author Justin Lee wrote a great post today (http://gcnjustin.tumblr.com/post/47624732313/story-time-for-the-church) that encourages us to consider what it’s like to be gay and a christian. Justin himself came from a strong, loving(no abuse) Christian family. He was saved at an early age, desired to enter into ministry, yet always felt he was different. When puberty hit, his attractions were not for girls, but towards boys. These were unwanted. He maintains that he was never abused sexually or in any other way.
      So, do you think Andy that a Christian can be possessed by a’ homosexual spirit?’

      • Lana says:

        I would love to read that book. No, we can’t just say all gay people become gay, either. That’s ridiculous. I do work with abused kids, though, and sexuality is complicated.

  • Val says:

    Yes, read Justin’s book Torn. I think every Christian should, no matter what side of the issue they’re on As it doesn’t really take sides so to speak, but tells one man’s story. And yes Lana, sexuality is very complicated and I think we really err when attempting to make every situation fit into a very tight black or white box.

  • Andy says:

    Yes, Val I do believe that evil spirits can inhabit both Christians and non-Christians. It’s complicated to talk about but also I fully believe that Justin Lee could have had spirits of homosexuality enter him as a baby. Families have what are familiar spirits. Satan has come to kill, steal, & destroy and him and his fallen angels (demons) are on a mission. Familiar spirits keep close to a family all their life through generations and study them. I know to many Christians this may sound crazy but for anyone who had families involved in the occult they can tell you there are ABSOLUTELY evil spirits and specifically “familiar” spirits that stay with that family for generations. I don’t believe being a Christian automatically protects you from evil spirits and just because you do come from a loving family, you don’t know a family’s secrets/ skeletons and generational history that absolutely plays a part in all of this, that’s my opinion. I don’t think God loves homosexuals any less but we have to face SIN and call homosexuality out for what it is. It’s hard to explain but for anyone who really is interested in that I would say a great book that deals with this is “pigs in the parlor” by Frank & Ida Hammond they worked with children and adults who needed deliverance from evil spirits. Remember Satan tempted Jesus as well. Evil spirits do the same with us.

    Another “open door” that allows evil spirits to enter is any form of trauma such as a car accident. We can’t explain why but talk to any one who has dealt in the ministry of deliverance and they can tell you that this is true. So, you could say that a “Christian or non Christian” person was in an accident as a baby, this would allow an open door for “evil spirits” to enter that person. It could have been a spirit of homosexuality. Then that child can grow older and have those feelings..that’s just an example I would give.

    Lana,
    I don’t think God likes divorce but I think that in this corrupt, evil, & imperfect world it becomes sometimes necessary the same as a woman taking over men’s roles in different areas of life. It wasn’t God’s original plan for us but do to sin and corruption in the world it maybe necessary for a woman to take on roles that originally God meant for men alone.

    • Lana says:

      I definitely disagree with you on evil spirits indwelling Christians. I’ve traveled the world, and lived in a village that used a witch doctor. I never had a spirit try to enter me or bother me, and I can say that most of their problems with evil spirits was either because they invited them in, or they imagined them.

  • Val says:

    Hey Andy. Thanks for your detailed response. I come from a pentecostal/charismatic background, so I’m very familiar with your perspective. One thing I am curious about is how christians, who are filled with the Spirit of God can also be inhabited by Satan. Tormented or oppressed, I can understand. Can you tell me where in the bible there is an instance of a believer in Jesus also harboring a demon?

  • Val says:

    Hi Andy. Still here, waiting for the biblical references. :)




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