Yesterday, my colleague Kimberly Ross posted on a poll that shows self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals. She is skeptical. She is right to be. I am too, but from a different standpoint.
The posts yesterday on Trump’s threat to slap a tariff on certain cars manufactured in Mexico (despite NAFTA) exposed some interesting fault lines in a group that would be called generically “conservative” by almost any standard. Is conservatism adhering to Russel Kirk’s Ten Principles, or is it something else. Because you’ll note Kirk doesn’t touch on either immigration or trade policy in his principles. Keep that in mind for a moment as I move forward.
Later in the day, long time RedState managing editor and continuing éminence grise, Erick Erickson — who is currently enrolled as a seminarian — was being chastised on Twitter. On the subject of the Trinity:
This is not to call this particular nitwit out but only to point out that since the Council of Nicea (325 AD) the idea that there is One God In Three Persons, or the Trinity, has been the hallmark of what defines a Christian. In part:
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
If you don’t adhere to the Nicene Creed then, at least as viewed through the lens of ~1800 years of orthodox (small ‘o’ variety), you can call yourself a lot of things but you can’t call yourself a Christian. This doesn’t mean you can’t be a very nice person striving towards a vision of holiness, but in denying the Godhead you are entering into the world of, as our Muslim friends would call it, “polytheism.” The point here being that this fellow doesn’t believe in the Trinity but he is adamant in the purity of his Christianity, in fact, if you read his Twitter timeline it looks like he gave up on reading Jack Chick tracts and started using them as suppositories.
Does this sound familiar? Like the number of “conservatives” who enthusiastically supported Trump?
Is this guy just a singular moron? Well, let’s carry the religion example further because not only are there a lot more Christians than conservatives in the United States but Christianity has been around for a lot longer and has had longer to establish what it means.
Currently about 73% of all Americans self-identify as Christian.
Of that 55% has attended at least one church service (other than a special event like wedding, christening, funeral, Christmas, Easter, etc.) in the past six months. Not great, but not as bad as it could be. But let’s drill down:
73% of Americans are Christian yet only 56% of Americans believe Jesus was God. Surprising? Well, try this on:
So only a plurality of those who believe Jesus was God think Jesus was without Sin. How does this even work? The whole concept behind the salvatory nature of the Crucifixion is that Christ was the perfect victim, the sacrifice without blemish. if he sinned then what purpose was served? Taking it back a step, can God, Himself, sin?
How does any of this even work?
The only explanation is that with political affiliation and religion we have entered into the era of the political analog to gender identity. It doesn’t matter that what you objectively believe indicates that your are one thing, you are completely free to describe yourself as something you manifestly are not and it is rude to contradict you. So we really have no idea what that poll measuring conservative leanings of the nation actually measured or if it measured anything at all. We can, however, be quite sure it didn’t measure what it claimed to.