Does a Christian Have to Vote Republican?

A pastor friend of mine, Byron, commented below that he thinks that if we conflate our conservative Christian beliefs with conservative public policy, we have a problem.

Well, my friend, we DO have a problem!

If you listen to James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, or D. James Kennedy, they make it clear that there MUST be a 1-to-1 correspondence--that if you confess to be a Christian, you must vote for Republicans (and conversely, if you fail to vote for Republicans then you might not be a real Christian).

Further evidence: At a pastor's gatherings I attended, I asked if the pastors thought Jesus would be a Democrat or a Republican. You would have thought I had spoken blatant heresy! The general sentiment was, "Of course Jesus favors the Republicans!" And when I visit churches, the subtle undertone in conversations and from the pulpit is that Bush is God's chosen candidate, and how dare you think otherwise. Christian Coalition Voter Guides distributed in many of our churches are seen to be the gospel truth (the issues listed on it are unquestionably the only important issues for real Christians, afterall!).

We are manipulated by what Brian McLaren calls "Radio Orthodoxy" into an all-or-nothing mentality--that if we are "conservative" in our biblical beliefs, we must be "conservative" in our political and social and economic beliefs as well.

I've come to the point that I've said "ENOUGH!"

I can believe in Jesus Christ and I can trust the Bible's authority without believing that God is "Pro-War" and "Pro-Greed" and "Pro-Global Capitalism" and "Pro-Manipulation of the truth because the end justifies the means". I can be a Christian and still question this president's actions in taking our country into a pre-emptive war, his lack of plans to bring about a peaceful solution there, his favoring capitalism over the environment, his taxation plan that arguably makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, and his administration's budget dificit which purposefully squeezes out government care for the needy in our country and keeps our country from freeing up the debt of countries in deep trouble. And I can get very upset when a professing Christian consistently stretches the truth and/or outright lies in order to get elected.In other words, as a Christian, I can be (I MUST BE!) truely independent of political party affiliation.

I've read Steven Waldman of Beliefnet say "the President's supporters have repeatedly implied that God was partly responsible for Bush's election," and a recent article from Peter Wallsten of the LA Times on how some Christians are "conflicted — torn between their religious convictions on so-called values issues," and other important issues "such as jobs, healthcare, the Iraq war and the environment."

Thoug I am not a "bumper-sticker-kind-of-guy" I have this one solitary message on the back of my car now: