Why I Left the GOP (by Nyssa McCanmore)

escape-from-darkness

Running From the Darkness/ DeantheBard, 2018

 

My friend Nyssa has a fantastic blog (Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole) that covers everything from narcissistic abuse (including her own fight against church “friends” who turned her into their scapegoat), to religion (Nyssa is an Orthodox Christian) to politics.  Her posts tend to be on the long side, but they are always intelligent and insightful, never boring, and usually written like first person stories and memoirs.

Here, Nyssa describes a childhood raised by staunch Republican parents, and part of her young adulthood spent in the clutches of highly controlling and greedy evangelical megachurches headed by filthy rich “prosperity gospel” pastors, many of them shady grifters and narcissists.  These churches seemed more concerned with bilking financially strapped believers out of their income “to glorify God” if they wanted to avoid Hell, than with saving souls by teaching the Good News of the New Testament.  These churches’  pastors became ever more wealthy, purchasing opulent homes and yachts for themselves, while many of their gullible flock still lived in near poverty.

Over time, these churches became increasingly aligned with Republicanism (and the GOP increasingly aligned with prosperity gospel and right wing evangelical churches).

 The cultlike devotion to Trump, who embodied the actual opposite of Christ’s teachings, was the last straw for her and for many like her.  They were fed up with the hypocrisy, lies, and oppression of authoritarian Christianity.

People were taught that salvation was dependent on how much they donated to the church, and how much they parroted right wing political talking points, instead of just being decent, kind human beings who tried to emulate the life of the Jesus of the Bible.

For Nyssa, the final straw was when her church began to mix far right politics into its sermons, telling parishioners who they must vote for lest they burn in hell.   The cultlike devotion to Trump, who embodied the actual opposite of Christ’s teachings, was the last straw for her and for many like her.  Thinking people became fed up with the hypocrisy, lies, and oppression of authoritarian Christianity and an increasingly authoritarian Republican Party, which seemed to be in bed with these churches (Defectors call themselves Exvangelicals).

Since leaving evangelical Christianity (her conversion story from evangelicalism to Orthodox Christianity can be found here), Nyssa has continued to pursue her spiritual development in a less toxic and oppressive environment.  She began to see how far the GOP had strayed from the Party of Lincoln and Eisenhower, a party that respected the rule of law, freedom for all and democracy, to a near fascist party that was becoming increasingly cruel, nationalistic, intolerant of “the other,” and even unAmerican. Nyssa’s politics became more liberal as she realized how much the GOP had changed from the party she remembered from her childhood.    

She has found that liberalism is actually much closer to Christ’s teachings in most ways than Tea Party/Trump style conservatism is.

Here is another post I wrote about a young man, David Weissman, who voted for and supported Trump, and finally saw the light.  In my post I linked to his original post that appeared in the online magazine for the Jewish community, Forward.  Today David is a proud liberal and Elizabeth Warren supporter, and has a large Twitter following.

The Deconversion of a Trump Troll

In both Nyssa and David’s journeys, education about the facts was the key to a change of heart.

 

 

*****

Why I Left the GOP

By Nyssa McCanmore

As a kid, I was raised Republican–but not for religious reasons.  The Democrats were stupid donkeys; the Republicans were smart elephants.  Abortion and gay rights were barely a blip on the fundie screen in those days.  Adding religion to it didn’t happen until I started watching The 700 Club around 1987 or 1988.

I watched it on and off starting around age 12, but it wasn’t until around 14 or 15 that I started watching it every day, seeing it as important as my new determination to read the Bible daily.  Pat Robertson indoctrinated me into the idea that Democrats were evil atheist liberals out to destroy all we hold dear, while the Republicans were righteous warriors saving our country from baby-killers and homosexuals and big government.  I believed everything he said because he was a Christian preacher.

And yet, even though my dad was very conservative, he still told me that voting by party when the other guy is a better candidate, is stupid.  He still said not to listen to Pat Robertson or the people who say we need to put prayer back in schools.  He said that presidents could not do anything they wanted, that the courts told Nixon he had to turn over the tapes.

In college, chinks in the wall started coming as I took classes on Persuasion and Mass Media.  I learned about logical fallacies and how words can be manipulated to bring emotional responses.  I learned that The 700 Club hadn’t always told the truth about stories in the news.  I learned that Rush Limbaugh was highly manipulative, how he cut people off when he didn’t like their comments and formed the reactions of listeners.  Pat Robertson kept saying over and over that God told him over and over that Bush would win in 1992; when Clinton won, Pat’s only explanation was, “I guess I missed it.”

You can read the rest of this article on Nyssa’s Hobbit Hole.

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10 thoughts on “Why I Left the GOP (by Nyssa McCanmore)

  1. Well…Actually, my conversion story out of Evangelicalism is here: https://nyssashobbithole.com/main/nyssas-opinions-theology/nyssas-conversion-story/
    My childhood church was small, and didn’t talk much about politics. But I watched Pat Robertson on TV, and he influenced me until I learned he wasn’t telling the truth. I left Evangelicalism in 2004 when the church we were attending turned Calvinist, and I had tired of Evangelicalism fighting things like Harry Potter and treating the GOP like God’s Own Party. I’ve been Orthodox since 2006.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for clarifying. I edited the intro slightly at the end, to incorporate the link you provided, so people read that too. I never saw it either, and I’m going to read it in a few minutes. Hope that helps!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Evangelical subculture as a whole–media, other Christians from other churches–there was (is) a lot of pressure to vote GOP. Some pastors do bully their flocks; I was more fortunate. Also, it’s not just Evangelicals, but many other conservative churches as well. In my church now, however, there are other Democrats, along with Republicans. I wouldn’t want to be back in the Evangelical subculture now: It sounds like it got worse.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I worked full time for the 700 Club in Virginia Beach in the 1980s, for a period of almost three years. I was there when Pat Robertson announced that he was running for president of the United States.

      He had all of us employees gather in a large auditorium, and then he told us that he was going to run for U.S. president. He said he wanted to tell us first, before making it official. “God told me to run for president,” he said.

      At the end of his announcement, Pat asked if there were any questions. One brave man asked, “When God told you to run for president, did He also tell you whether or not you are going to win?”

      Pat replied: “Well, let me put it this way: God does not back losers.”

      Uh huh.

      Things got really crazy in the ministry after that. When I finally decided that I had had enough of the crazy and quit, the things I had experienced at the 700 Club had turned me into an agnostic, almost an atheist. It took fifteen years for me to find my way back to believing in Christ again. Today, I am a Christian, because the preponderance of the evidence compels me to believe. But I keep my eyes on Jesus now, not the big name mega star “ministers.”

      Like

  2. As an Australian non-believer, this answered so many questions about the role of religion in US politics. We do have evangelicals here as well, in fact our Prime Minister is a pentacostal, but I don’t think they’re firmly entrenched, yet. Now I’m desperately hoping they never will be. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • In normal times, I would say that’s the best way to go. Person, not party. I used to be like that.

      But right now, under Trump, the GOP appears to have been hijacked by criminal fascists so no way will I be voting for any Republican any time soon.

      Like

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