Sunday, May 13, 2012

Is Evangelical Christianity a "Religion"?

By Hos

The ever more ridiculous televangelist Pat Robertson claimed in one of his more notorious TV appearances that Islam is "not a religion but a violent political system". Of course there are differences between Islam and Islamism, but I wouldn't expect good old Patty to have heard that. Let's just take his statement at face value: does a religion stop being a religion once it starts following political goals, sometimes but not always through violence?
Whether that is true or not, it should apply universally across the board. Salafi Muslims are scary even if they are not violent. But they are not the only ones caring first and foremost about winning political points.
Case in point: a solid majority of evangelicals are now supporters of Mitt Romney. This, despite the fact that according to many Christians, the Mormon faith is not proper Christianity. Obama is an orthodox Christian, and Romney is not.
Evangelical Christianity happens to be the only religion in the US that is so strongly correlated with political affiliation/leaning. If you know a person is Jewish, Catholic, mainline Protestant, or religiously unaffiliated, you cannot determine that person's political leanings on that basis alone. If you know the person is evangelical, you can, with a high degree of accuracy. And they "vote the party".
So should we declare that Pat Robertson's religion is no longer a religion? I guess we could, if we were to listen to Pat Robertson.


Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that most Jews are politically liberal.

Carl said...

I would say Pat Robertson and his followers would be more of a neoconservative party probably along the lines of the tea party and also a threat to women's rights everywhere.

Gary Berg-Cross said...

According to Wikipedia exit polls reported by the Pew Research Center, 78% of American Jews voted for Barack Obama during the 2008 Presidential Election.

On the other hand they also report that
"Several Jewish philosophers and politicians would be important to the history of the American Right in the United States. Frank Meyer was a co-founder of the National Review and noted for Fusionism that mixed libertarianism with conservatism. Ralph de Toledano was also an earlier figure for the magazine and wrote for The American Conservative in his final years. Irving Kristol is sometimes seen as a founding figure for neoconservatism. Although not conservative themselves several American advocates of anarcho-capitalism, like Murray Rothbard (a disciple of von Mises), were Jewish and influential on elements of the right."
On the Red State site you can see some of the arguments of religious influence of positions. For example and article entitled "Is It OK For a Jew to Be Politically Conservative" argued:

"how can you be a Jew and NOT politically conservative? Conservative principals such as limited government, individual responsibility, free enterprise, traditional morals and manners are all deeply rooted in Jewish tradition.

In B’reishet (Genesis) we are told that man is created in God’s image, since we also believe that our maker has no bodily form, it can’t mean that we are all ringers for the “big guy upstairs.” We are taught that just as God acts as a free being, so does man. Just as God acts without prior restraint, so does man. Just as God can do good as a matter of His own free choice, so can man. Man is therefore spoken of as being created in the image of God because of our free choice.

The Rabbis teach us that each man is born with free will. It is further understood that in order for Man to have true free choice, he must not only have inner free will, but also an environment in which a choice between obedience and disobedience exists. God thus created the world such that both good and evil can operate freely; this is what the Rabbis mean when they said, “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven” (Talmud, Berachot 33b)....."

There is big presence of people like Michael Medved, film critic, author and syndicated radio talk show host, who is a politically conservative Jew as is Judge Judy.