My Political Views Don't Invalidate My Religious Views

My Political Views Don't Invalidate My Religious Views

And vice versa.

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I've seen the skeptical looks people give me when they hear both my religious and political opinions. Some say I can't possibly be a believer in God, a Christian, while also being one of the most politically liberal people they've ever met. Some can't figure out how it adds up.

That doesn't mean that I don't consider my spiritual beliefs when making political decisions. I absolutely do. But everyone seems to assume that Christian = conservative or Republican or whatever other labels you want to give it. A lot of people believe that me celebrating the fact that I'm wholeheartedly a Democrat means I'm automatically an atheist and look down on all religious believers. If they hear that I supported Hilary Clinton, or worse, Bernie Sanders, in the 2016 election, then they assume that I couldn't possibly have a strong relationship with God.

Writing it out like this makes it seem even crazier to me that a lot of people think that these two things depend so heavily on one another. I'd like to remind those people that the separation of church and state exists for a reason. For this very reason.

I'm pro-choice. I unequivocally support a woman's right to choose. I'll advocate for women to have autonomy over their bodies, to have safe and legal access to abortion, until the day I die.

I'm a fierce ally for the LGBTQ community. Same-sex discrimination is something that haunts me to my core and the people I love in this community will always have my support. I will always hold firm in my belief that everyone, regardless of sex or gender identity or sexual orientation, deserves the same opportunities to love and marriage and starting a family.

But these beliefs of mine don't invalidate my belief in God. Or my relationship with church and religion itself. I can be both. I am both.

I've had more than one someone tell me that I can't support same-sex marriage and be a Christian because of what the Bible states. I've had scripture quoted at me in response to the fact that I am and will always be pro-choice. I've even gotten my fair share of dirty looks for having and wanting tattoos.

I've let it roll off my back because I know, in my soul, that I believe in a God who loves. That's it. No buts, no conditions, no restrictions. And even more than that, He tells us to love as he does. No questions asked. My political beliefs don't affect the love I have for human beings. They don't dictate how I get to practice religion. And vice versa, religion doesn't get to dictate what issues I support or which candidates I vote for.

I struggled for a long time to grasp the understanding that I can have my own beliefs, separate from what "traditional" Christians would have me do or say. For a long time, a voice in my head told me that I would be a bad Christian or that God would be disappointed if I chose to believe certain things, say certain things, or be certain things.

It took a long time for me to realize that generosity, compassion, and love should be my number one priorities. That I shouldn't focus on what society and tradition tell me about how Christians have always behaved. That I shouldn't put all my energy and effort into the strict rules or do's and don'ts of religion. Believing in God is about loving your fellow humans. In whatever shape, size, race, or gender they come in.

To me, my belief in God is about creating a safe space for everyone to be exactly the way He made them. Gay or straight. Transgender or Cisgender. Black or white. Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Catholic or Athiest.

It's about morality and standing firm in my own beliefs. It's not about checking each box on a ballot with what the majority of my religion may believe.

Here's the thing about religion: there are over 4000 of them around the world. It's not my job, or yours, to try and correct or dispute every single religious belief on the planet. At their cores, most religions are founded on the same thing. On the ideas of love, of kindness, and of being the best version of yourself.

Throughout history, we've seen that the overlap of religion and government usually don't end well for most involved. We've seen that mass, forced conversion from one religion to another, for reasons politically motivated or otherwise, is not something that can be done humanely or without fatal consequence.

Religion should not be the basis on which every law is created. It shouldn't be an excuse for persecution or alienation of certain minorities.

The only part of any religion that should be carried over into politics is the basis of love and respect.

I can support the LGBTQ community and be pro-choice and support immigrants and vote for whichever candidate my political views align with the most, despite the perceived Christian stereotypes.

There's a lot of pressure for young Christians, or young people a part of any religion, to fit into boxes that have been carefully molded over thousands of years. Boxes that say you can't believe one thing while also believing another, just because your religion says so.

My religious and political ideals are two separately formed belief systems. And most importantly, neither of my beliefs invalidate the other.

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Stop Yelling At Me For Being Conservative

What you shouldn't say to millennial Republicans.
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Society today has a funny way of making Republicans seem like the scum of the Earth. The funniest thing is that it's actually not funny at all — it's an ignorant, rude way to treat people. See, America these days seems to be all about treating everyone fairly. That is, until differing opinions come about. How dare we Republicans view economics and politics differently? How dare we have our own opinions? How dare we identify as Conservative people, even as young adults?

So, without further ado, here are some things that I, a millennial Republican, am beyond tired of hearing.


"You're just a college girl, what do you know about politics?"

Yeah, I'm a basic white girl. I wear Converse to class and my sorority's letters are on my rear windshield. Guess what, though — I do my research. I've been following the presidential campaigns for months now. I've watched the debates, read the articles, visited the websites and studied the polls. I may be in a sorority and I may wear Converse, but I know what I'm talking about when it comes to this stuff. So, if you ask for my opinion, be prepared to hear a well-thought-out, educated answer.

"You only believe what your parents raised you to believe."

No, actually. My parents raised me to understand the value of hard work. They made me get a job when I was 16 years old so I could learn how to budget, save and provide for myself. My parents did not teach me to rely on other people to get what I want. My parents did not teach me to accept handouts. Therefore, I believe that success comes from hard work and dedication. I believe that each individual is responsible for his or her own success (along with his or her own property and obligations), hence why I identify as a Conservative.

"You're voting for him?!"

Yeah! I am! Funny, I thought we were all entitled to our own opinion. It turns out this is my opinion, and [insert candidate] has my vote. Cool how that works, huh?

"The GOP candidates this time around are horrible."

It doesn't take an idiot to see that none of the Republican candidates are the ideal presidential candidate. It also doesn't take an idiot to see that the same thing can be said of the Democratic candidates. Here's the reality: There never has been a perfect president, there never has been a perfect presidential candidate, there is no perfect president, there is no perfect presidential candidate, there never will be a perfect president and there never will be a perfect presidential candidate.

"You're so selfish."

Define selfish. I want my money to be my money and I want my rights to be my rights; I was unaware that that labels me as "selfish." I am confident that I can survive without the government's help.

"But don't you care about the old people/the kids/the environment/the homeless people/etc?"

Yes, I do. What I don't like is that my hard-earned money gets taken from me and used for other things. I'm not against helping out, don't get me wrong. I would love to donate to charities to help children and homeless people and the planet, that is if I had enough money to do so. Sadly, that money gets taken from me through taxes (Which could be considered forced donation, if you ask me. How is that fair?).

"But what about the minorities? You're just racist."

No, I'm not racist and yes, I do care about the minorities. I believe diversity is one of America's greatest qualities. What bothers me, though, is that society changes the meaning of "fair" when it comes to minorities. Yeah, it would be fair for us to all be able to pay our own medical bills and whatnot. Do you know what else would be fair? For even the members of minorities to get jobs and earn their way to success just like I'm trying to do. If illegal immigrants want to come to America, then they can go through the citizenship process, get a job and contribute to society. If they want to be treated equally, they need to start viewing themselves and treating themselves as working American citizens who pay the same taxes, get the same jobs and fight the same daily battles that we fight.

"You're hateful and/or heartless."

Nah. What I am is honest, self-sufficient and confident that other people can be honest and self-sufficient.

"You're ignorant."

Again, no, I'm not. As I've said several other times throughout this article, I know what I'm talking about and I can justify what I'm talking about. If anything, you're ignorant for accusing me of such things.

"You're crazy if you'd vote Trump over Sanders or Clinton if he's the chosen GOP candidate."

Please enlighten me on how this makes me "crazy." In this upcoming election, I will be voting for the candidate chosen by my political affiliation. The Republican Party's only strong opposing candidates include a self-proclaimed Socialist and a woman under FBI investigation. What I would consider "crazy" is if I voted for Sanders or Clinton over Donald Trump, just because Trump has offended some people before. (And no, this is not me saying I'm a loud and proud Trump supporter. In fact, Cruz has my vote either until he's elected into office or until Trump is chosen as the GOP candidate.)

Side note: I've heard the people, who hate Trump for being mean, say meaner things than that man ever has. A very wise man (Jesus, in John 8:7) once said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."


What you should be saying to me is "Thank you," because I'm voting for freedom. I'm voting for civil liberties. I'm voting for constitutional rights. I'm voting for the will to succeed. I'm voting for the reward for hard work. I'm voting for the things that will actually help America keep prospering.

So, here's what I'll say to you: You're welcome.

Cover Image Credit: Kristi Russell

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.

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In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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