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.
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.”