Republicanism, it seems to me, has become its own religion. It started off when the GOP married evangelical Christianity, but the offspring of that unholy union has become a religion all on its own. It certainly doesn’t adhere to classical Republican principles (tariffs? Really?). Nor does it adhere to Evangelical standards (turn the other cheek? Love thy neighbor as thyself?). Like most blendings, this new religion has some elements of each parent and it has no lack of fanatic supporters. The traditional Evangelical, for example, considered the Devil “the father of lies”—one of his biblical titles. The Republican, however, considers pathological lying to be signs of messiahood. There’s a tiny disjunction here, but it proves that what we’ve got is the birth of a new religion.
Books and articles have begun to appear on how Evangelicalism has changed. I don’t believe it’s so much a matter of Evangelicalism evolving as it is Republicanism fulfilling the need for intolerant religion. In every culture there are those who want to go back to the day of Moses and golden calves and stoning those you hate. It’s a little more difficult these days, what with secular laws that protect the rights of others, but the GOP has found a way. My heart goes out to old fashioned Republicans, it really does. Fiscal conservatives have found themselves in church with a bunch of people with whom they agree on very little. They have no choice, for their political party has been sanctified. And the only thing worse than an Evangelical is a bleeding-heart liberal. Next thing you know the Democrats will start quoting the Bible at you.
The lying thing really takes some wrapping my head around, though. I’ve always said nobody believes in a religion they know to be false. This new development challenges that, if it doesn’t challenge the very idea of religion itself. Republicanism is a religion based solidly on bearing false witness. Self-aware of it, even. You can’t tell me that these educated white men don’t know a criminal activity when they see one. That they can’t read, and reason, and trust their intellect (although it takes the back seat to their overwrought emotions). Sound like a religion to you? It sure does to me. It’s been coming a long time, but it took the last three years (the tradition length of Jesus’ ministry, it’s often said) for this to dawn on me. The religion of the lying messiah. I’ve got to wonder what kind of future it’s got. I smell the fires rekindling in the burnt over district and wonder who’s for dinner.