The ‘religious right’ does not exist
Someone recently accused me of being a member of the "religious right," and I protested. I am not a member of such a group. There is no such thing as the "religious right."
If there is, I have never heard of it except in the media. The religious right is not an organization with designated leaders or any public purpose. I do not get mailings or e-mails from any such group. I get mailings from a large number of organizations that seek my financial help and support. These include political, social and religious groups. None is called the religious right or claims that policy in its purposes.
I am affiliated with a religious institution or denomination. It licenses me as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I first qualified in 1986, I underwent a review that was nonpolitical in every aspect. I later taught the course required for all prospective ministers for a number of years. I know there is nothing political in our credentialing process.
I have been a member of one of the denomination's key committees for nine years, and travel to our central office five or six times a year for several days of meetings, along with monthly reviews and other communications. Our denomination does not take a stand on our individual politics. I can be a member of any political group I choose.
I used to be a member of another denomination when I lived on the East Coast, and there was nothing political in that membership. I worked for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for several years in the 1980s, and there was zero politics there as well.
I was friends with President Jimmy Carter's sister and supported her brother, who professes to be a Christian with theological leanings similar to my genre of the faith. I grew up on the East Coast and understood the Bible Belt to be Democratic in its political preferences. My wife grew up in a parsonage in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash., and she understood that the church folks generally aligned with the other main political party.
I cannot make a case for capitalism or democracy from the Scriptures. God's obvious choice of political system is a kingdom with a king who understands that dominion is a regal state where the king cares for the subject and in turn is loved as a leader worthy to follow. Scripture cautions that dominion can easily become domination, and if so, it loses its power. Domination is not God's way.
I am convinced that the religious right is a myth and does not exist. I have traveled the world and stayed in all sorts of communities where our common humanity prevails. We are everywhere a people who are dependent on our creator. Sooner or later we all express that need. Our pride and training might result in different understandings of the way to express that dependence.
I believe we all recognize that there is someone in charge, someone who is bigger than you and me, someone whom we cannot elect or choose or order about. God is in charge, regardless of all our arguments. He was and is and ever will be. He is neither right nor left.
The Rev. Murray Hohns is an associate pastor with New Hope Christian Fellowship.