Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Christian Democrat Dilemma

Recently a Christian friend of mine from church gave me a copy of an essay, presumably in response to my openness around him and his grandson about my democratic political views. Generally when I present myself as a Christian Democrat I get a lot of funny looks and become the butt of somewhat harmless jokes. Thus I wanted to set my own record straight and I hope it opens some eyes. For reference, here is the essay I was presented: http://www.whatiam.net/

Now, allow me to respond. I was quite impressed by Mr. Essef’s full page ad and the passion and values he obviously holds. Obviously I do not approve of, nor agree with Howard Dean’s statement about Republicans. I think Mr. Essef was quite justified in feeling deeply offended by those remarks. I am disappointed that in offering his response to negative generalizations of Republicans, he chose to use many negative generalizations of Democrats (such as the statement that Democrats only see negativity in America).

I think it is unfortunate that Christianity has been pidgeon-holed into Republicanism. There does not seem to be a place for a Christian like me who is pro-life, but who also believes that we must fix our horribly flawed health care system, immediately change course on our destruction of the environment, end our dependence on oil period (not just foreign oil), and treat other nations with respect through diplomacy and not the ‘superpower’ arrogance that the White House has shown in the past few years.

Both parties both use shameless attack ads and then whine about the other candidates’ attacks. Both parties are led by politicians whose integrity can be legitimately questioned. Neither party truly represents all of the values and desires of the majority of Americans. Where that leaves each one of us is with the solemn duty to examine the political landscape for ourselves and not blindly follow one party’s propaganda. We all must figure out for ourselves what party and candidate most closely aligns with the majority of our values and ideals. We must encourage our children and youth to engage in policy debates and not try to force them down one political path. On several instances my friend's grandson has bluntly said to me, “Obama is a Muslim”. This has been shown to be a lie over and over again, yet it persists because people refuse to believe that the Republican party and leaders might be using propaganda for political gain. I find it unfortunate that the Christian and conservative right has chosen to attack the faith of a man who has devoted 20 years of his life and treasure to a Christian church in Chicago. When this young boy has asked me about why I support Barack Obama I tell him the honest truth that I want to see environmental and health care reform. When he calls Obama a muslim I have told him that he should not spread lies and needs to find out the truth for himself. That may be hard for him to grasp at his young age, but I feel it essential that he knows that he has the God-given freedom to think for himself and pursue truth for himself (with some guidance of course at his age).

Because I believe in the sanctity of life I believe that health care is a right and should be provided to all citizens. Because I believe in the sanctity of life I believe that for our childrens’ sake we must immediately enact massive energy policy change to provide a healthy environment and a future free from ‘oil wars’ as other nations’ economies modernize and increase demand. Because I believe in the love and grace of God and Jesus Christ, I believe we must cease the Christian hatred & fear of homosexuals, pro-choice advocates, and muslims. Jesus was only harsh to the Jews, those of his own faith, who spread legalism and rules. He was always gentle to the lost sheep. We as Christians need to follow Christ’s lead on this. Those are the reasons why I identify more with the Democratic party. I only wish both parties would behave more ethically toward each other, especially during campaigning. I hope that helps all of you understand where I’m coming from.


Taylorbriguy said...

Jesus may have been gentle to the lost sheep, but he also stood up for what was right. He may have befriended them and encouraged them, but he never joined in their wayward ways. I think he taught us to love the sinner and hate the sin. We should be kind to homosexuals and pro choice radicals, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should redefine marriage to accommodate their lifestyles, etc. I love a homosexual as my brother or sister, but I wouldn't accept his or her modified version of the ten commandments. And you're right about our need to take good care of the Earth. That's all part of being a good steward. I think it would be nice to develop more efficient energy programs across the globe. But do I trust Iran with a nuclear reactor? No way. So should we all be driving vespas? Isn't that Obama's solution? Alright, I better get back to studying this less important medicine stuff. Great post. You always spur great contemplation.

Phil Taber said...

The Democratic Party Platform:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, REGARDLESS OF THE ABILITY TO PAY, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermined that right."

It is interesting that as a proclaiming "Christian" and someone who is "pro-life" who values the "sanctity of life", you would choose to identify with a group who explicitly disagrees with one of the most basic values of your expressed faith. While I understand that both you and I may not be "one issue voters", I believe that this should at least be high on the list when looking at what party or what individual to support. It is also interesting that according to the Democratic Party, health care is a "right" to all individuals unless their body has yet to be fully removed from the birth canal, whereas they support to ability to disregard that "right" and kill that individual. Forget the "right" to health care, how about that "right to life". Or how about your candidate, Obama, who voted against a ban in Illinois that who have prohibited doctors to go ahead and kill infants who were attempted abortions yet were born alive? Also, what about the phrase “regardless of the ability to pay”? Does that mean that if someone is poor, and finds that they are pregnant, “chooses” an abortion, and can’t pay, that the Democratic Party will take my tax money and the tax money of countless Christians and moral objectors to abortion to fund Planned Parenthood and kill that child with our funds? Oh wait, that already happens. Cool party.

There are so many things in your blog that I could address, but I’m too frustrated right now to deal with them all. So right now, I’ll deal with the fact that to me, there are so many contradictions in being a "Democratic Christian" that it borders on hypocrisy. But that's just me. If they can’t protect the rights of “the least of these” how can we believe that they will protect the right of the rest of us……including your “right” to health care.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I think that your last paragraph mirrors my sentiments exactly. I have never understood how the religion (although not the Church) that teaches that the most important thing is to "love your neighbor as yourself" and so on, could have followers so prone to intolerance. How the followers of Jesus who was friends with a prostitute and who spoke up for the people who were most in need, could say such mean things about the people who are today in need. I appreciate your willingness to look beyond the propaganda and into your heart and conscience to find your personal truth!