On the Issues: "We Have No King but Caesar!"

On Good Friday, March 29, 2024, I attended an afternoon church service commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus. As the congregation listened to the gospel reading’s conversation between Pilate and the crowd, I heard an exchange in which the claim “We have no king but Caesar!” was uttered. This well-known phrase immediately struck my Christian sensitivities, and I thought, “That phrase sounds like something progressives would say.” This reaction was so automatic, and I was so taken aback by the aptness of the characterization that my mind momentarily drifted from the reading of the passion to the general flow of this op-ed. (To continue reading, click the above title if necessary.)

What struck me most about the phrase “We have no king but Caesar!” is that many people I know to be progressive, even some moderates, seem to operate as though they have allegiance to little more than an earthly master despite claims to the contrary. That is, they appear to have a stronger allegiance to a socialist philosophy or progressive ideology than their self-professed religious faith! I feel this way because the progressives I know favor things that my traditional conservative Faith adamantly opposes – abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, fornication, adultery, divorce, contraception, transgender ideology, and many “isms” such as secularism, consumerism, materialism, totalitarianism, fascism, and Communism.  

This widespread rejection of heavenly authority is unsurprising because we live in a civilization that some characterize as increasingly post-Christian. Skeptical? Consider some facts about religious affiliations provided by the Public Religion Research Institute that can help establish this point. Quoting from the Executive Summary of their latest report based on 2023 data and released on 3/27/2024, we find the following:

  • In 2023, around one-quarter of Americans (26%) identified as religiously unaffiliated, a 5-percentage-point increase from 21% in 2013. Nearly one in five Americans (18%) left a religious tradition to become religiously unaffiliated, over one-third of whom were previously Catholic (35%) or mainline/non-evangelical Protestant (35%).
  • The reason given by the highest percentage of religiously unaffiliated Americans for leaving their faith tradition is that they stopped believing in their religion’s teachings (67%).
  • In 2016, approximately three in ten people who left their religion cited negative teaching about or treatment of gay and lesbian people as an important factor in their choice to disaffiliate (29%); in 2023, that number rose to 47%.
  • In 2023, a slim majority of Americans (53%) said that religion is the most important (15%) or one among many important things in their lives (38%), notably lower than it was in 2013 when 72% of Americans reported that religion was the most important thing in their lives (27%) or one among many (45%).
  • Today, Republicans (22%) are twice as likely as independents (12%) and Democrats (11%) to report religion as the most important thing in their lives in 2023.

These data demonstrate the slow drift toward progressive politics of the radical Left and away from the traditional religious values of the conservative Right. As a news watcher for many years, I’ve slowly realized that the progressive Left has increasingly exchanged their belief in God for faith in “Caesar.” Caesar, in this case, represents the government. What people once looked to God for, they now look for from the government. Their beliefs come from the mainstream media, sports figures, entertainers, business leaders, and other political and social influencers. Prosperity-based religious faith communities that have replaced brimstone and hellfire sermons with Sunday entertainment haven’t helped.  

Where Does Your Allegiance Lie?

It would behoove us to contrast the faith-related beliefs of conservative Republicans with the secularism so typical of progressive Democrats. In so doing, we can better understand to whom or what each party is committed. The following characterizations are generalities but will give the reader a semblance of understanding of each party’s allegiance. Consider the following differences in commitment as they pertain to five key areas:

Rights & FreedomsRepublicans tend to value the individual’s rights over society. Republicans see fundamental rights and freedoms as gifts granted by God and hold them to be inalienable. Republicans often champion causes related to faith and family. This means that they support traditional Judeo-Christian values. They believe conservative Republican principles provide the key to creating solid, proven solutions to the challenges of maintaining a safe, prosperous, and free community. Democrats tend to value the rights of society over the individual. Democrats see individual rights as conferred by the government and, as such, can be readily taken away for the sake of the majority. Decisions are generally made based on not right or wrong but on utility – the greatest good for the greatest number. Democrats often champion causes such as LGBTQIA+ rights, women’s rights, civil liberties, abortion, divorce, transgenderism, etc., which are antithetical to traditional Judeo-Christian teachings.

Party ValuesRepublicans view God, family, and country as the greatest goods. Republicans often emphasize traditional social values, including support for religious freedom, gun rights, and traditional family structures. They tend to oppose abortion rights and advocate for conservative interpretations of social issues. Democrats see individual freedoms as the greatest good. They support the greatest good for the greatest number despite the consequences. Democrats often champion progressive values, including LGBTQIA+ rights, women’s rights, and environmental protection. They prioritize social justice issues and advocate for policies promoting diversity and inclusivity. Democrats strongly favor secularism and socialism. They frequently favor suppressing individual rights in favor of society.

Church & State – Republicans believe in a peaceful co-existence between Church and State. They believe in freedom of religion and that it should be ensured for all. Republicans believe that the faith of the people has a role to play in public life. They may advocate for policies allowing religious expression in public institutions, such as prayer in schools or displaying religious symbols in specific contexts. Democrats support secular governance and policies that promote the separation of church and state. They tend to favor freedom from religion over freedom of religion. They constantly push the concept of separation of church and state as though it comes from the Constitution. It does not. The only prohibition against religion in the public square comes from the First Amendment, which bans the government from establishing a state religion. The Johnson Amendment was promulgated in 1954 to prevent non-profits (including churches and religious institutions) from taking public stances on political matters. The law does not prohibit the free exercise of religion in the public arena.

Morality & EthicsRepublicans typically adhere to objective moral guidelines derived from religious texts such as the Bible, emphasizing virtues like love, compassion, humility, and selflessness. Republicans tend to believe that there are objective moral standards from which no one is exempt. They also think that natural law can be used to judge right from wrong. The worthiness of an act can be judged by its consequences. Democrats commonly believe that individuals can set their limits and follow the moral law as they perceive it. That is, they believe in moral relativism. What might be right to one person might be wrong to the next person – but that’s okay. Each person has their own truth. Democrats tend to promote individualism, self-interest, and the pursuit of personal happiness so long as one’s actions cause no harm to others. Unborn children are omitted as they are perceived as blobs of matter without rights under natural law or the Constitution.

Concept of EvilMany Republicans believe in God and Satan. God represents good, and Satan evil. Evil is seen as a force opposed to God and goodness. Many Democrats see secular humanism as good and view believers as oppressive, if not evil. Evil is often regarded as subjective and relative, with actions considered evil if they cause harm to oneself or others unnecessarily rather than simply opposing God.


Examining these five tenets alone should make it clear that conservative Republican values and beliefs align much more closely with the traditional Judeo-Christian ethic than those of progressive Democrats. The progressive faction within the Democrat Party often diverges from traditional Judeo-Christian perspectives. Democrats tend to be much more secular in their approach to government and life.

President Joe Biden, who identifies as Catholic, is a prominent example of this contrast. His policy positions shed light on his allegiance. Notably, Biden’s advocacy for abortion, including his vow to protect Roe v. Wade, forcing medical doctors to perform abortion and transgender surgeries against their will, and forcing taxpayers opposed to abortion to fund it, starkly contrasts with the Catholic Church’s stance. The Church considers abortion a severe moral transgression, and many Catholics perceive support for abortion rights as incompatible with their faith’s traditional teachings.

Furthermore, President Biden’s endorsement of LGBTQIA+ rights, such as same-sex marriage and transgenderism, has drawn scrutiny and criticism from confident Catholic leaders and conservative pundits. They contend that these positions diverge from traditional Catholic doctrine on marriage and sexuality. These criticisms suggest that his advocacy contradicts the principles of his professed faith and the teachings of the Church to which he belongs. In as much as this is the case, he is both a hypocrite and a liar. This has led some to question where Biden’s loyalties lie – whether with his Church, Faith, God, or elsewhere.

This leaves the question, “How can any professing Christian support the Democrat party?” That’s a fascinating question with many answers and something I leave for another time.

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