You hear it a lot, especially among the conservative right, but also among more middle of the road Christian groups. “We need to return to good Christian values,” or “We need a Christian leader to bring us back to our values.” Simple, earnest statements, but I suspect what they really mean is, “We need a Christian government, a Christian State.” You see, they* talk about values on one hand, but then segue into talking about everything from prayer and Creationism in schools to the regulation of Muslims and other nationalities that, “Don’t reflect the beliefs and values that this country was founded on.”
Statements like these are tough for me to deal with. Being a Christian, though, admittedly, not one of any particular dogmatic bent, I have incorporated, or identified, a lot of so called Christian values in my world view. But I also know that those values can exist independently of the Christian faith, and often do. If you Google “Christian Values”, you’re likely to come up with roughly ten statements that seem to consistently represent Christian Values, all theologically supported, of course. Many of these values are recognized by other religions and philosophies as being solid foundations for being a decent human being. If you dispense with the theology behind the principles, you still have a solid foundation for ethical, productive living. My conflict comes from my personal belief that these values are not exclusive to Christianity, and in some aspects, have been perverted by the faith as a means to a political end. I cannot support a call to Christian values or leadership in light of this, and yet I support them exclusive of their religious influence. The vast majority of my Christian friends would view this negatively. After all, am I not rejecting Christ and His authority?
My ideology wars with the teachings of my faith on many, many things, yet I am not content to merely reject one in favor of another. I have certainly moved from my fundamentalist beginnings to something else, though what I do not know.
I am not done with this, yet.