Q & R: Should I go with the Republican moral agenda?

Here’s the Q:

I am feeling very conflicted between my Christian faith and the conservative morals that I hold dear, and our current Republican leadership.

It was my Christian faith that led me to become a Republican voter many years ago. And I have remained a Republican voter all my life.

For decades the Republican party has aligned itself with the same Christian values that I have lived by and that Christian leaders, like you Brian, have taught me.

The Christian leaders that I have grown up with taught me that moral values like “thou shalt not lie” and “thou shalt not commit adultery” were two of God’s ten commandments, commandments that God proclaimed as sin.

But from listening to the Christian leadership of today, and especially to those ministers whose silence on these issues rings so loud and clear, I am beginning to believe that it is now acceptable to lie, cheat, steal, and commit adultery.

Am I to understand that it is now okay to forgo God’s Ten Commandments and better to follow the moral values of my Republican Party? Should I now embrace the moral values espoused by the leader of my Political Party? Is this a new, better form of Christianity?

Please tell me what I should do.

Should I continue following God’s original Ten Commandments and live by the old Christian values that I grew up with? Or should I now live by the new moral values being espoused by the leader of the Republican Party?

Are these the new moral values that I should be teaching my children and my grandchildren?

Are there any articles or speeches given by you on this subject that you could share with me?

Here’s the R:

I don’t know your age, but I’m guessing your somewhere near my age (because you spoke of grandchildren). When we were growing up, Republicans typically stood strong for values like marital fidelity, sobriety, decency, courtesy, respect, honest and courteous speech, and the like. Sure, they fell short as often as anybody else, but these were standards of decency that were generally upheld.

But something happened in our lifetimes. Republicans were gradually won over to a different moral agenda: oppose environmental protections (now called regulations in conservative political discourse), oppose programs to help poor people (now called entitlements in conservative political discourse), promote programs to help rich families get and stay richer at a faster rate than anyone else (by opposing “the death tax,” reducing taxes on the richest, creating corporate “entitlements,” etc.), oppose abortion, oppose gay marriage, and promote unlimited increase in weapon sales in personal and public life, deny racial injustice in the present and minimize it in the past, etc.

Many of us think this has been a tragic turn for Republicans. We think Republicans have been gradually led into a moral swamp.

If you’d like to get a sense of the values that make sense to me, I’d recommend you read my book We Make the Road by Walking. It’s my overview of the Bible and my exploration of the heart of Christian faith. It reflects moral values that I would like to see in politicians in either party …

Thanks for voicing your concern.