I used to describe myself as a life-long conservative Republican. I do so no longer. In fact, I became a far more independent political thinker during the thankfully shortened reign of Donald J. Trump. Tragically, my former party is today led by those who favor pale skin over people of color, and those who prefer Christianity over other religious choices, or none. Any number of individual Republicans may not be racist, but the party’s policies undoubtedly are. Any number of Republicans may not be hard-core Christian evangelicals, but the party prostrates itself before their altar.
Both positions are antithetical to our republic and founding instruments, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Neither document mentions the superiority of either skin color or religious preference as essential to our government’s proper functioning. In other words, the American Republican party has become anti-democratic. President Abraham Lincoln would have been horrified at this turn of events.
There were many reasons why the Framers did not establish any of the many permutations of Christianity as a state religion. The most important is that when one religion is given ascendancy over all others, it inevitably becomes a tool of the state. Look no further than modern-day Iran or Saudi Arabia for the near-perfect example and clear warning. Theocracy is not a form of democracy. However, it is often joined-at-the-hip with various forms of government involving hereditary nobility and vicious dictatorships, which were despised by the Framers. They strove for something better: The world’s first constitutional republic — a noble aspiration that we have yet to fully realize.
I am stunned at the numbers of Republicans who are either barely closeted or vociferous white supremacists. I am also stunned at how many of these same people profess association with the Christian evangelical movement. Despite the inherent and startling contradictions, racism and messianic Christianity have somehow taken-up residence within the same arch-conservative movement. There is little doubt that Jesus of Nazareth would have been horrified.
The embrace of such obvious inconsistencies creates a sharp departure from reality. The truth is sacrificed on the tabernacle of belief, serving the self-image of the believers. Nothing could be more self-serving, and at the same time, more emotionally comforting for the acolytes. Also, nothing could be more insidiously hazardous to the country.
The Republican Party seems all but lost to reason. Their tribalism and twisted slogans were on fullest display on the 6th of January at the U.S. Capital Building. Wrapped in the American flag, and with God on their side, the insurrectionists attacked the heart of our democracy — the People’s House. And they did it at the behest of the most self-serving individual to ever occupy the White House — the progenitor of the Big Lie that he won the election that he so clearly lost.
One person’s vanity and ego have never been more prominent in the long history of our nation. Yet, Republican Party stalwarts continue to say, “Trump represents our values.” If so, we are indeed in big trouble. The Republican Party today — despite all denials — is not only racist in character, but massively invested in multiple forms of voter suppression, militarism, the primacy of one religion, serving the best interests of the wealthy 1 Percent, and perpetuating an in-your-face false patriotism that possesses a clear predilection for violence.
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I have never in my life been more concerned for our Republic. More than anything else, the likes of Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams, and Madison were persons of reason. They created a secular government as the best hope for their progeny: us. Secularism and reason are the twin pillars that have sustained our nation for well over two centuries. The Republican Party has all but abandoned both. The Framers would be horrified to see what has happened to a major American political party. I know that I am.
Robert Bruce Adolph is a retired senior Army Special Forces soldier and UN security chief. He formerly taught university classes in both U.S. Government and American History. He is a frequent guest columnist to the Tampa Bay Times, Atlantic Perspectives Magazine of the Netherlands and the Military Times. He is also author of his publisher’s number one best-selling book, “Surviving the United Nation: The Unexpected Challenge.”