Christians, conservatives don’t mix

Travis Mitchell

Anyone who has spent any real time around this campus knows there are three things you don’t ridicule Aggies about: our traditions, our football team and our good-‘ol-fashioned Republican conservatism.

I recently visited a small college on the western border of Pennsylvania near Cleveland. While there, a student came up to me. “Are you from Texas A&M?” he asked. Simultaneously with my nod he blurted: “We hate Aggies up here!”

I was stunned.

“What in the WORLD?” I thought. “What is this place? I’m not in Lubbock, am I?”

I wasn’t; without knowing it, I was standing on the university grounds of what that student later told me was the second most conservative school in the nation. Their angst toward Aggies, he said, was that we were No. 1.

I cannot confirm how accurate the student’s remarks were. But he was still on to something. Whatever “conservative” actually means, and regardless of how many Battalion opinion articles would lead us to believe otherwise, in case anyone failed to notice, we are George Bush — just look at our roads, our libraries, our Facebook groups and our T-shirts!

In fact, that student could have kept going with the Aggie stereotypes. Not only is the Texas A&M student body considered to be conservative, we are thought to be predominately Christian, too. For example, every Tuesday evening Reed Arena lights up as literally thousands of students file in to attend a … basketball game? Nope. A Bible study! On top of that, as of the time this article was printed, the “Christian Aggies” Facebook group is up to almost 9,000 members.

That being the case, it would not be a far stretch to consider the Christian activity at A&M to be above normal.

So if the stereotypes are legitimate, and A&M is truly a conservative, Christian school, a word of clarification is in order. Though it would be easy to lump Aggie conservatism and evangelical Christianity together and pretend they are the same, there is a difference between being both conservative and a Christian and being a conservative Christian.

The point here is not to impose a political or religious belief system on anyone by virtue of Aggie-‘ness.’ It is, in actuality, just the opposite.

Let’s get things straight. Just because a person is a pro-life, pro-state, pro-Bush, die-hard conservative, does not mean that person is necessarily an evangelical Christian. And just because a person follows Jesus does not mean he or she automatically votes Republican!

There is more at stake here than a simple mislabeling. If you think all conservatives are Christians and vice-versa, you are misbelieving; you have a major worldview problem, and you need to sort it out. Why is that? Because the degree to which a person automatically assumes the conservative and Christian agenda to be one-and-the-same is the degree to which that person actually believes the church and state to be one-and-the-same. And that, of course, is wrong.

Travis Mitchell is a columnist for The Battalion of Texas A&M. This column was made available through U-Wire.