On Going Viral

Well, this has been interesting. As of right now, my post on “Why I am a Christian Democrat” has nearly 30,000 Facebook “likes” and almost 350 comments. This has never happened to me before. It’s exciting, gratifying, and a little exhausting.

The gratifying part: I’ve heard (on the blog and privately) from many people who are grateful that I put their own thoughts into words. (I think this is actually the reason God called me to write. I hear this a lot from people, no matter the topic: “Thank you for saying what I have wanted to say, but couldn’t find the right words.” I really think this is my ministry. It has taken me many years, and many words, to figure that out.) A few commenters said that, while they are not Christians, my post offered a more positive, optimistic perspective on what religious people think and how we vote than they normally see. I think those comments were most gratifying of all, since we Christians of all persuasions have a special knack for talking amongst ourselves and failing to connect with those who don’t identify as followers of Christ. A very few people said that they don’t agree with me—that they are Christians who vote Republican—but nevertheless appreciated my honesty and interest in promoting conversation around the relationship between our faith and our political viewpoints.

And then there were the many commenters who so nicely proved my main point. My main point wasnot to say that Democrats are great and Republicans stink. The title was “Why I am a Christian Democrat,” not “Why Everyone Else Should Be Christian Democrats.” Rather, my main point (or one of them anyway) was that there is a prevalent notion among conservative Christians, and to some extent the media, that “real” Christians are conservative Republicans. This message came through loud and clear in many of the comments. I deleted some of them, because claiming to be a “true Christian” and then telling me and those who agree with me that we are deluded, liars, posers, etc. clearly violates the clause in my comment policy concerning libelous and defamatory comments. But I left a few in there, just because they prove the point so nicely.

Since publishing this post, I’ve had dozens of people subscribe to my Facebook page and newsletter, so I’m assuming that there are also some new blog readers who have subscribed via RSS or e-mail. To any newcomers: Welcome, and thank you for reading. I’ll be publishing some new posts next week on my usual topics. Politics are not my usual topic, by the way. I focus on disability, ethics (specifically reproductive ethics), family and parenting, and the ways in which my faith intersects with all of those things. I write about church and dogs and broken bones and kids and money and lots of other stuff. I wrote this book, which brings all of those topics together. Like the book, most of what I write has an element of memoir/story in it. I hope you like it, and chime in when you have something to say.


About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.

  • DaveP

    Hey Ellen, congrats! I’m now up to 20% of the way through your book on my Kindle-meter.

  • Grace

    I have just copied 177 pages. I agree in most of your ideas. Thank you for sharing them. Most of your posts were about abortion or economy. 1. I do not believe in abortions BUT I am only one citizen in the USA and there are others who disagree with me. When a nation tries to make laws on purity, we lose democracy. We tried it on prohibition. Now if we outlaw abortions, the rich will have their D&Cs and the poor will have to go back to hat pins. 2. I am concerned about ecology. I know that many fundalmentalists believe there is no such thing as global warming but I think we need to use our minds and listen to the scientists. It may be too late even now to roll it back. Romney made it his #1 in his speech that he was going to increase our developing coal, oil, the pipeline across US, fracturing. In fact he made fun of Obama about the ocean. I feel he will take us backwards instead of ahead. 3. I have not checked it out but have been told that when Clinton left office the budget was balanced. If that is so, we had a mess before Obama took office. I felt that Obama has been too slow but to me he is the best choice at this election.

  • Karen

    My grandson has cerebral palsy so I look forward to reading your future blogs. I shared your “Christian Democrat” thoughts and several of my friends shared them as well. It has been frustrating for the last few elections to see and listen to all the negative comments about how you can’t be a Christian unless you’re a Republican. Thanks for putting your thoughts into words.

  • DaveP

    Hi Ellen,

    I was reading more of your book, when a consequence of Frank’s comment hit me:

    She was a stranger, and you welcomed her.
    She was sick, and you sustained her.
    She was thirsty, and you gave her drink.
    She was hungry, and you fed her.
    She was naked, and you clothed her with your own body.
    She was a prisoner, and you set her free.

    An unborn child with a disability fits all 6 out of 6 of the categories that Jesus said were the “least of these”.

  • http://Www.kewp.blogspot.com Katherine Willis Pershey

    I have always been impressed with your writing, but I realize I have underestimated how much courage it takes to do what you do in such a fraught and unforgiving context.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    One thing I try to keep in mind about critics, Ellen, is that they don’t know me like God does. (Hope that makes sense!)


    • DaveP

      > One thing I try to keep in mind about critics, Ellen, is that they don’t know me like God does.

      Uh oh, God is my biggest critic. :)

      • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

        No, God is your biggest booster!

  • Terry WysongRevtw

    I’m one of those Chritian Republican,obviously not of the “real” crowd,who finds it difficult to be in my church at times,especially when people say things to me, assuming I’m not one of “those”! Often the most offensive comments come. From fellow clergy.

    • http://www.ellenpainterdollar.com Ellen Painter Dollar

      I used to attend a church where the huge majority were Democrats/progressives, but several prominent members were Republicans (and worked for Republican members of Congress). I saw this kind of thing happen there, where the lefties would make subtle (or not so subtle) jokes and jabs about our more conservative church members. It’s not okay no matter which direction it comes from.

  • Rhonda Fort

    I am a new blog follower due to your post on “Why I am a Christian Democrat”. I thank you for writing it!! There have been so many times that I felt my household was the only one who thought about “the least of these” and made life decisions (church affiliation, politics, charitable works, etc) with this as our first priority. We do have a special needs child and are foster parents, so I look forward to reading your blog posts and going back to read what I have missed. Thank you and God Bless you for your ministry!

  • Albert

    Thanks for these last three posts. My political past includes that hard-core conservative Republican take, outright cynicism about both parties, and finally, conviction about my need to engage in my role (so far, only entering the discussion and voting thoughtfully) with humility and willingness to research and think hard. All of those elements still have an influence in my thinking, and I’m still most likely to vote for Republican candidates in most cases, and I do disagree with some of your conclusions. All that to say, you did a great job pointing out some reasons followers of Christ should be concerned about elements of the Republican platform and supportive of elements in the Democratic platform. AND you did it thoughtfully, without being uncivil or cynical, or condemning those who think differently. Thank you. I wish more voices like yours (Democrat, Republican, or otherwise) were engaged in the political discussion in our country.

  • kalim

    I want to share this sentences From Risalei Nur collection by Said Nursi

    Be certain of this, that the highest aim of creation and its most important result are belief in God. The most exalted rank in humanity and its highest degree are the knowledge of God contained within belief in God. The most radiant happiness and sweetest bounty for jinn and human beings are the love of God contained within the knowledge of God. And the purest joy for the human spirit and the sheerest delight for man’s heart are the rapture of the spirit contained within the love of God. Indeed, all true happiness, pure joy, sweet bounties, and untroubled pleasure lie in knowledge of God and love of God; they cannot exist without them.
    One who knows and loves God Almighty is potentially able to receive endless bounties, happiness, lights, and mysteries. While one who does not truly know and love him is afflicted spiritually and materially by endless misery, pain, and fears. Even if such an impotent and miserable person owned the whole world, it would be worth nothing for him, for it would seem to him that he was living a fruitless life among the vagrant human race in a wretched world without owner or protector. Everyone may understand just how wretched and bewildered is man among the vagrant human race in this bewildering fleeting world if he does not know his Owner, if he does not discover his Master. But if he does discover and know Him, he will seek refuge in His mercy and will rely on His power. The desolate world will turn into a place of recreation and pleasure, it will become a place of trade for the hereafter.

  • Emily

    Thanks so much for your posts about your politics. I don’t know where my opinions will end up, but you’ve given me so many things to re-think. I bless God for your gentle spirit in offering your own experience.

  • Emily

    (Sorry, posted too soon.)
    Just wanted to add that in much of the rest of the world (I’m in east Africa), people don’t understand why Americans seem so angry and fearful about the elections. To them, an “election” that actually represents the voice of the people, that doesn’t end in riots or mass persecution of the opponent, that wasn’t brought about by a military coup cannot possibly be worth so much bitter emotion and anxiety.

  • Suzanne

    I am always interested in the abortion issue as a Christian….working with children in my profession as a speech pathologist, I encouter many premies as early as 26 weeks who grow into loving and very normal individuals…..the thought of these people (yes they are people at 26 weeks) could be murdered for convience sake is appalling to me…anyone can rationalize beliefs as you do but the question is would Jesus specifically say its alright to abort a creature made in his father’s likeness….a reference you make in your article. The fact that the Democrats approve partial birth abortions and feel that it is alright to kill a viable child after it exits the womb alive goes directly against what I was taught as a Christian. If you are comfortable with your rationalizations then so be it…..the Democrat party teaches dependency rather than self sufficiency and as someone once said GOD provides for those who provide for themselves. I guess we will find out who was right when we meet our Creator when we die….

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