I am a Christian and I am a Democrat

This month’s synchroblog theme is “Faith and Politics”  One of the things that bothers me a lot when it comes to faith and politics is when I hear someone say that one cannot be a Christian and a Democrat … so I thought I would write about being a Christian and a Democrat.  I will add the links to the other synchroblog contributions to the bottom of this post as they become available. 

_________________________________________________

Contrary to what some people think these days it is possible to be a faithful follower of Jesus and a Democrat at the same time.

Take me for instance.  I am a Christian and I am a Democrat.

I wasn’t always a Democrat.  I grew up in a conservative Christian community and was a Republican for most of my life.  However, several years ago the Republican party went so far right that I had to seriously consider what I believed and why.  It was a process but after a lot of thought, discussion, prayer and study of scripture I left the Republican party.

Some people would argue that the bible doesn’t have a lot to say about government but I disagree.  I believe that scripture instructs that government should exist to protect it’s citizens and promote a common good for the society it serves. As I studied scripture I came to believe that the Democratic party did that better than the Republican party at this point in time.

Whether we are talking about the sanctity of life, healthcare, education, animal rights, environment, civil rights, immigration, caring for the poor, war, taxes or economy the Democratic platform represents the tenets of my faith “better” than the Republican party. It doesn’t represent it perfectly and never will.  I don’t even believe that it should.

Personally, I don’t really like political parties to say too much about religion or God.  Of course my beliefs are going to inform how I vote and what party I affiliate with, but I think that government should strive to serve a larger base than one particular religion, even if it is my own.  My observation in recent years is that the injection of the Christian religion into American politics has caused more division than unity and done more harm than good.  Therefore, recently when the Democratic party didn’t include the mention of God in their platform I wasn’t upset as a person of faith.  To be honest it doesn’t really matter to me how many times God is mentioned and actually I think it would be better to leave his name out of political platforms altogether.  As a person of faith I am more concerned with the principles and policies that a party is supporting and promoting and how they line up with my beliefs – not whether or not the name of God was mentioned.  In fact, I even think that using the name of God in a political platform can come across as emotionally manipulative and before I left the Republican party I had begun to feel like the party had become insincere and manipulative when it came to certain issues such as abortion and same sex marriage.

At first I was timid about speaking out about leaving the Republican party behind.  After all I had been part of the conservative Christian community and heard the declarations about how evil Democrats and liberals were.  And when I did share my thoughts and doubts and questions about the Republican party with my conservative Christian friends and acquaintances I often got the idea that my faith was being questioned more than my politics.

But as the years have gone by I have met a lot of people who are serious about following in the way of Jesus who are Democrats and they are some of the most loving and kind people I have ever met. And I believe that they have helped to change me for the better.

I have been moved by the way they are willing to give up some of their rights, conveniences and possessions in order to promote the common good.  I have been inspired by the way they are careful not to push their beliefs onto others or denigrate people who believe differently than they do.  I have been encouraged by the way they are willing to take the extra effort and time it takes to care for our environment and protect animals.  I have been emboldened by the way they are so dedicated to the idea that everyone is created in the image of God and deserves to be treated equally with dignity and respect.

Today I am no longer timid about my affiliation with the Democratic party.  Today I am even proud to say, “I am a Christian and I am a Democrat”

and sometimes I even add:

“In fact, I am NOT a Democrat in spite of my faith … I am a Democrat BECAUSE of my faith.”

______________________________________________

Here are the links to other posts for this month’s synchroblog:

We The People by Wendy McCaig

Pulpit Freedom, Public Faith by Carol Kuniholm

Plumbers and Politicians by Glenn Hager

Conflating Faith and Politics by Maurice Broaddus

You Cannot Serve Two Masters by Sonja Andrews

Would Jesus Vote by Jeremy Myers

A Kingdom Not Of This World by Jareth Caelum

I am a Christian and I am a Democrat by Liz Dyer

5 ways to make it through the election and still keep your friends by Kathy Escobar

Why There’s No Such Thing As The Christian Vote by Marta Layton

God’s Politics? by Andrew Carmichael

Advertisements

31 thoughts on “I am a Christian and I am a Democrat

  1. Code Psn Gratuit

    When someone writes an paragraph he/she retains the thought of a user
    in his/her brain that how a user can be aware of it.

    Therefore that’s why this post is amazing. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz)

    I’m late to this conversation, but the fallout from the last five years of politics still haunts me, so I don’t think it’s overly strange that I’m adding my two cents here at this point.

    I was raised in a very un-Christian home — we practiced the Golden Rule & pretty much let people worry about themselves so long as no harm came to others. Now I’m “all growed up” (haha) & while my family has found Christ, I’m still a peaceful skeptic. My family has become exceptionally vitriolic though, & it’s created quite a divide. I’m the black sheep, liberal, far-left atheist… versus a whole crew of supposedly pristine, conservative, far-right Christians. And I don’t know at all how to bridge the huge gap that has developed between us. My parents & I are somewhat at odds, but mostly try to pretend nothing is wrong between us, since there is just no talking things out. They think what they think, I think what I think, & there the situation lies for all eternity. My sister is no longer speaking to me. And many of my distant relatives & oldest friends have completely disengaged from any form of conversation with me.

    Part of me is relieved, because if they all left ME, then it means I don’t have to be bothered with their rhetoric. Another part of me is heartbroken, because of course no one likes being cut off. Yet a third part is angry and bitter, because to me, that’s not how the Golden Rule (much less Christianity!) should work. We should be able to come together & meet in the middle, but somehow it just doesn’t seem possible.

    So here’s me, split into three, and I can’t wrap my brain around it. I scream and cry & write all about Christians & conservatives & republicans & how hateful they are — & then I read a piece like yours, reminding me that not everyone fits that bill. I can’t lump everyone into a single category — it isn’t right or fair of me to do so. Regardless of what anyone else is doing, whether I think it’s right or wrong, I’m only responsible for my own behavior, & need to act accordingly. I’m still all mixed up over this whole thing. But THANK YOU for reminding me that people are just people, & that I need to deal with them on an individual basis, one battle (or, even better, hug) at a time. Here’s hoping things turn around in 2013! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Andi-Roo, Sorry that I didn’t see your comment before now. Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting. I certainly couldn’t blame you if you tried to write off all Christians after the way you have been treated in the name of Christianity but I appreciate that you realize that some of us are kinder and gentler.

      Reply
  3. Steve

    I was rather disturbed by reading someone’s comment on Facebook that this US election was the most absolutely clear moral choice of his adult life. I found that that could, and probably does in some cases, lead to a dangerous political messianism. I did a few of those polirtical quiz thingies to see who close the candidates’ moral compass aligned with mine. The result rather surprised me, and if you’re interested you can see it here: American elections: rhetoric and reality � Notes from underground

    Reply
  4. Ian Stubbs

    Doesn’t the fact that people of all political political pursuasions can can make God and the Bible fit with their outlook suggest that politics must be determined on rational argument not on appeal to religion?

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Ian – it is hard to argue with your statement and so I won’t. However, I will say that most of us (if not all) are incapable of applying logic that is not colored by our own perspective to some degree.

      Reply
      1. Ian Stubbs

        Dear Steve,

        Thanks for your response.
        <>
        I do not accept that modernity as such necessarily separates values and identity. Your religion may be the superordinate construct under which other categories are subsumed but that its not the case for everyone and, whether in modernity or postmodernity, religious statements are not transparently meaningful – you have to argue your case. I can understand the student you cite in your blog who wanted a more inclusive poster than ‘Jesus is our King, not Vorster’ for the anti-apartheid purposes you describe. The poster, whilst meaningful to you, would alienate Muslims, republicans as well as non-religious persons and we have to ask – what does it mean? Does it mean every political leader must be subservient to Jesus? If so, to which Jesus are we referring? is it asking for monarchy rather than democracy in the new South Africa etc etc? These questions can’t be settled by religion only by dialogue and debate – we may bring religious categories into the debate but only by owning and explaining them. Jesus is King is your opinion which you have to explain and validate if others are to make any sense of it. We have to know which language game you are playing. Obama has won the election, is not the same language category as Jesus has been raised from the dead, or Jesus is Lord.

        Reply
      2. Ian Stubbs

        The medieval mystic Meister Eckhart said, “To use God is to kill him”. I believe that applies whatever our political outlook or ideology.

        Reply
  5. Rhonda Powell

    Liz…thank you for sharing. I have never been a Republican but I did grow up in a Southern Baptist fundamentalist family. I was told years ago that anyone who voted for Bill Clinton couldn’tbe a Christian. One of the reasons I cannot vote for any Republican candidate is because of the reasons you mention. I have even hesitated to call myself Christian because I don’t want to be identified with right wing Evangelicals. Thank you for your courage. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Liz Post author

      Rhonda – I know what you mean about using the label “Christian”. I don’t usually use it but thought it was needed in this post to get my point across. I typically identify as a follower of Christ.

      Reply
  6. Pingback: life of a female bible warrior

Leave a Reply to Ian Stubbs Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s