Is it possible to know the political beliefs of Christians as a whole?
On Monday, NAnewsweb.com posted Steve Patterson’s column in which he argues that the Democratic Party follows Christian beliefs more closely than the Republican Party. He’s a deep thinker and a good friend, learned, funny, generous and kind. He is great company, and I can never get enough of talking with him. However, I must say that we disagree more often than not about politics and politicians. Imagine how boring it would be if your friends agreed with you on everything!
I’ve been trying to figure out how he reached that conclusion about Democrats and Christianity. Because I admire Patterson’s great gifts for cerebration, I thought I would try to sort it out. I would try to prove it for myself: Which party hews closest to the tenets of Christianity?
I decided to do a little research before I tackled that question. I typed three questions into the venerable Google search engine:
- How many Christian denominations or sects are there?
- What are the factions of the Democratic Party, and how many of them exist?
- What are the factions of the Republican Party, and how many of them exist?
Variety of Christian Denominations
To the question about how many Christian denominations exist, I received a wide range of answers. On the low end, the estimate was 10,000. At the upper end, some scholars assert that there are as many as 50,000 different varieties of Christians. Whatever the actual total, it’s a very big number. They all came into being because of a lack of agreement on specific principles of faith and distribution of power.
My friend Steve is a devout Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP). I think most of the Presbyterian congregations in Union County are ARP. Without any research, I could think of at least three other Presbyterians denominations that I have encountered. I know people who belong to the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). I’ve met folks who belong to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church (CPA). I think most of the Presbyterians I know are members of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA). I know there are many other varieties of Presbyterian, but I can’t name any of the others offhand. Besides the Southern Baptist Church, I can think of four or five other different types of Baptists. Same for Pentecostals and Anglicans and Orthodox and Catholic.
Wikipedia lists around 1000 political parties worldwide as of 2011. Just as religious belief separates one group from another, so does political belief. Some counts list upwards of 50 parties in the US. For sake of the reader, we will consider only the two main parties, Republicans and Democrats.
Types or “wings” of Republicans
What about the Republican factions and the number of them. Most recent and vocal would be the Trumpers. Then there are the Moderates (George H. W. Bush), the Libertarians (Ron and Rand Paul), the Christian Right (Mike Pence), the Traditionalist/Paleoconservatives (Ronald Reagan), the Neoconservatives (George W. Bush), the Alt-Right, the Tea Party (Chris McDaniel) and, to include many of the Trumpers, there now exist Populist Republicans. There are many more brands of Republicans, far too many to name.
Types or “wings” of Democrats
As to the various factions of the Democratic Party, my research tells me that the many wings of the Democratic Party include Centrists (Bill Clinton), Conservatives, (Can’t name any of those.) Libertarians, Liberals (Nancy Pelosi), Progressives (Bernie Sanders), Social Democrats and others too numerous to mention.
Having completed my little dab of research toward understanding the political beliefs of Christians, I was further than ever from understanding how my friend Patterson reached his conclusion about the Democrats being the most Christian.
Which Christians? Which Democrats? Which Republicans?
Some fine afternoon, over cigars and good Scotch whisky, I’ll ask Steve to sort that out for me. I’ll bring the jug of Chivas, Steve. The cigars are on you. Hope you still have some of those authentic Cuban Montecristos.
To see Steve Patterson’s “A Christian Democrat Speaks.”