Why I am a Christian Democrat

A friend recently watched, helpless and aggrieved, as her husband—a philosophy professor at a conservative Christian university—was pummeled online for co-writing an essay with a fellow professor on why they will not vote for Mitt Romney. Many readers claimed to be disgraced, disgusted, and just plain flummoxed as to how professing Christians could argue against voting for Romney on the basis of economic policies that, in the professors’ opinion, are detrimental to our nation’s poor.

These dissenting commenters argued for a government focused primarily on defense, for “fair” economic policies that let people keep what they earn, for the government’s absolute inability to help poor people anyway, and for making abortion the primary measure that Christians use to evaluate candidates’ platforms. A clear subtext underlay all of these arguments: Real Christians vote Republican, and the faith of anyone who doesn’t vote for Romney is suspect, because they have failed to put “Biblical” values above political, economic, and social concerns.

I am a Christian, and a registered Democrat who will vote, again, for Obama on November 6. I’d like to refute this most dangerous subtext—that real Christians vote Republican—by explaining, in broad terms, why I am a Democrat.

I am a Democrat because, in many churches (including mine), being a Christian Democrat is not an oxymoron. None of us practice a pure faith. Our faith is always influenced by both the Christian and wider cultures in which we live. I have spent my whole life worshipping in churches that lean left, where being a Christian and a Democrat is neither remarkable nor unusual. But conservative evangelicals, and to some extent the media, continue to put forth the fallacy that a “Christian” voter is a conservative evangelical voter, equating the evangelical subculture with the wider church. Underlying this fallacy is an assumption that anyone who fails to see a straight line connecting their faith tenets to the Republican party platform must have an insubstantial, lip-service faith corrupted by cultural influences. This assumption is dangerous, but mostly, it’s just wrong.

I am a Democrat because I understand that theological conservatism and political conservatism are two different things. I am theologically conservative, meaning that I believe all that stuff in the Nicene Creed about the virgin birth and the resurrection. Especially the resurrection. But theological conservatism and political/social conservatism are entirely different things. Jesus was not conservative or liberal, and the idea that Jesus would identify wholly with either of our political parties is ludicrous. But Jesus was radical. Jesus turned the values of his world and ours (giving priority to the pursuit of wealth and comfort, might makes right, individual success over the common good) upside down. I am not radical enough for Jesus (most of us, regardless of party affiliation, aren’t), and I certainly don’t think the Democratic Party platform is radical enough for Jesus. But as a follower of the incarnate God who put the last first, whose ministry focused on those on the margins of his culture, I align myself with the political party that most consistently puts the interests of marginalized Americans on their national agenda.

I am a Democrat because I daily appreciate the ways in which government improves individual lives and the common good. I harbor no illusions that our government is, or is likely to become, a paragon of efficiency, honesty, and effectiveness. But looked at through global and historical lenses, the extent to which our democratic (lower case “d”) government provides safety and opportunity to its citizens is remarkable. In much of the world, the government-funded resources available here (well-kept roads, food stamps, free public schools, unemployment insurance, relatively effective and non-corrupt law enforcement, etc.) simply don’t exist. Governments can do horrid things in the name of the common good, but our government often manages to do much of value for the common good. Today’s Democratic Party appears more willing than the Republican Party to believe that government has a responsibility to use its power for the common good, rather than leaving that good solely in the hands of a diverse (and divided) citizenry, or the free market.

I am a Democrat because I see a difference between “fairness” and “justice.” I was struck, in reading the comments to my colleague’s husband’s essay, by how many people called for “fair” economic policies. “Fair” appeared to mean that those who obtain much wealth are not asked to give a good chunk of it up to help those who have little. But in God’s math, we don’t always get what is fair or what we deserve by the world’s standards, either for our hard work (e.g., the parable of the day laborers, Matthew 20:1–16) or our sinfulness. God is not about fairness. God is about justice. God is about all people being treated with dignity as those made in God’s image, about extravagant generosity regardless of merit, about those stuck in bad luck or the consequences of bad decisions getting second (and third and fourth and seventy-seventh) chances, about everyone giving out of what they have so that all have what they need (e.g., the Loaves and Fishes, Matthew 14:13–21). It may be unfair for the very wealthy to be taxed at a higher rate than the middle class, but in God’s economy, it is just.

I am a Democrat because “Biblical” values are far from clear cut, so I focus on what Jesus chose to focus on in his earthly ministry. Jesus understood, I think, that our holy scriptures are not always consistent when it comes to details, even such important details as the character of God (Did the same God who called the little children to him really mastermind the murder of every first-born son of the Egyptians?*). So Jesus made it simple for us. Jesus said there are two things we must do: Love God. Love our neighbors as ourselves. To figure out in practical terms what it means to love God and others, we look to what Jesus did and said, searching for common threads. The most obvious common thread is that Jesus continually reached out and offered hospitality, healing, hope, and help to those who were poor, sick, powerless, or reviled.

Jesus’s continual emphasis on our duty toward the poor and marginalized is most beautifully and memorably expressed in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31–46). Jesus says, quite simply, that any time we offer concrete help to someone suffering from hunger or cold or imprisonment or sickness or lack of welcome, we are loving God. And Jesus doesn’t instruct us to first decide if those in need of a cloak or a drink of water deserve our help. Jesus doesn’t say we can first figure out whether it’s fair to ask me to give away my only cloak or offer a stranger a drink from the well I built with my own two hands, with my wealth, to nurture me and my family.

Time and time and time again, Jesus put caring for “the least of these” at the center of his ministry and his message. These days, neither party is doing a particularly good job of making the poor central to their message, preferring to focus instead on the middle class, who are more likely than the poor to vote. But when it comes time for me to color in a circle on my voting card, I’m going to choose the candidate whose party has shown, most recently via the adoption of universal health care, that it takes seriously our societal obligation to care for those who cannot, for whatever reason, care adequately for themselves.

I am a Democrat because adequately caring for the least of these requires some government support. Many Republican Christians argue that Jesus’s mandate to care for the “least of these” was meant for his followers, not for our governments. Let individuals and churches care for the poor, they say, and let the government perform a limited role, primarily in defense. Although I believe that all Christians and churches (including me and my church) could do much more for the poor and marginalized than we are doing, we are also limited to providing help within our cultural, societal, and governmental structures.

We can drive a sick, uninsured child to a hospital, but if a long hospitalization or surgery is required, that child’s parents will have to either scrape together thousands or dollars (and perhaps eventually lose their home or declare bankruptcy as a result) or hope that the hospital has charity funds available. We can help an immigrant learn English and a marketable skill, but if the law doesn’t offer him a reasonable avenue toward legal work status, we can’t help him get a job that will support a family.  We can provide pregnancy counseling and baby supplies to a young unwed mother, but if that mother is unable to afford groceries, decent housing, quality daycare, and additional education for herself , she and her child will likely end up in unsafe housing, poorly nourished, un- or underemployed, and stuck in a cycle of poverty that isn’t just a problem for that family, but (in God’s economy) for all of us. Without government safety nets such as subsidized housing and daycare, food stamps, education grants, health insurance, and support for immigrants, private charity can only do so much to ease the burden of poverty.

Our government is far from perfect, but it is still, in my mind, the greatest example of the good that be done via a democratic government of, by, and for the people. As Christians, we have an obligation to care for all of God’s people—even when it doesn’t seem quite fair; even when poverty results from a toxic and convoluted mix of a sinful communal history, bad or nonexistent policies, and poor personal decisions; even when our initial efforts to fix a problem as big as our nation’s healthcare inequalities might be clumsy and in need of fine-tuning.

To put it simply, I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party is doing more than the Republican Party to care for the “least of these,” however imperfectly. And Jesus made it absolutely clear that caring for the least of these is central to our identity as his followers.

* I revised this sentence to correct an error in the first draft, in which I referred to the murder “of the innocents,” not the murder of all of Egypt’s first-born sons as told in Exodus 12:12). The murder of the innocents refers to Herod the Great’s murder of first-born sons after the birth of Jesus.

 

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.

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  • Dave

    > To put it simply, I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party is doing more than the Republican Party to care for the “least of these,” however imperfectly.

    I think the Democrats talk about doing more (especially in saying that other people or government should do more), but in fact the Democrats do less.

    The Republicans talk less, but do more (following Jesus teaching: “When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”).

    For example, over the past four years the number of people on food stamps has risen from about 32 million to about 47 million. The Democrats have driven about 15 million people who used to be middle-class into poverty.

    For another example, look at actions vs. words. When it comes to doing more to care for the “least of these”, Republicans actually do more, while Democrats merely talk about doing more. Republicans donate more, volunteer more, and adopt more. There are lots of statistics on this, for example:

    “Who’s More Generous: Republicans or Democrats?”
    http://clearwater.patch.com/articles/whos-more-geneours-republicans-or-democrats
    “States that voted Republican in the last presidential race are far more likely to be generous to charities than those voting Democratic, a report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy suggests.”

    • http://morganguyton.wordpress.com Morgan Guyton

      States that vote Republican are more likely to be on food stamps, actually.

      • Susie

        The reason more people are on Food Stamps the past four years, is because more people
        needed them after the fiasco Bush left, with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost; one thing
        follows another. Students use them; the elderly use them, so they can eat and have
        their medical needs as well; jobless families use them, to feed their families and would
        much rather have a job; single people who are out of work, many with college degrees
        that have to pay high rent, and go without food, use them. The dis-abled, permanently or temporary, use them. who would like to deny those needful humans food? Millions of private sector jobs were added under President Obama’s term so far, but it takes more than four years
        to get back, …especially with the obstruction in Congress by the Republicans, who made it their one goal, to make sure Obama was a one term President. Yet he has accomplished so much, and will accomplish so much more if he is re-elected. the Democrats by far care for those in need more than the Republicans, who look the other way and tell them to fend for themselves. Not what Jesus would do.

        • Mike

          You are exactly right!

          • Kim

            I also agree with Susie (and, of course, with Ellen!). I am a “conservative ” Christian in that I believe the Bible, in its entirety, is truth, but I will have to side with the Democrats (again) in this election because, however imperfectly, they seem to me to be a more biblical choice at this time. Although I believe that abortion and gay marriage are biblically wrong, the Bible has much more to say about how we are to love and provide for the sick, poor, foreign and disenfranchised than it has to say about about homosexuality and the murder of our children, combined.
            Further, Scripture has a great deal to say about avoiding greed and idolatry, and not being a “respecter of persons,” yet it seems to me that these are the very things that Republicans stand for at this time. They seem to favor the rich over the poor, and the powerful (ie, corporate America) over the common citizen. They seem to take the attitude that as long as they have what they need, the heck with those who don’t.
            Finally, let me say that it seems the height of hypocrisy to insist that the government is responsible to enforce the Christian morals opposing abortion and homosexuality, while at the same time and with equal vehemence, insisting that the government MUST NOT enforce the Christian values of caring for the sick, the poor, the elderly, the foreigner, etc. From a biblical perspective, it seems unlikely that legislation will change the hearts or minds of those engaged in homosexuality or who are seeking abortion. Other non-governmental approaches would be much more effective (Life Centers, for instance). Yet on the issues of poverty and health care, the need is so great that non-governmental agencies can’t begin to scratch the surface. We MUST have governmental involvement to do what is right. When God gave the law, it was to Israelites who had no separation between their faith and their government. I believe God still intends governments to DO what is right.

        • Gregory

          The fiasco Bush left. I’m so tired of that intellectually lazy response. How do you explain that over 8 years of Bush, the average unemployment rate was lower than it’s been under four years of Obama; or that the average GDP growth was higher under Bush than under Obama; or that household incomes were higher under Bush; or that there were more full time jobs in the economy under Bush; or that the poverty rate was lower under Bush? The economy slipped into recession in 2007 (the year the Democrats took back Congress, for what it’s worth), and really went south when the financial bubble burst in Sept. of 2008. The financial bubble burst not because of Bush policies but because the housing bubble burst, and that happened because of easy money being loaned out by Fannie and Freddie to people who really should never have qualified for home loans. Bush’s efforts in his second term to tighten up lending policies were rebuffed by the Democrats in Congress. Do some research, for your own sake.

          • Andrea

            You really are so remarkably naive on basic economics and recent history that I wouldn’t have a clue where to start to correct all the invalid assumptions here. You’re the one who needs to do major, unbiased research.

          • ellen

            Actually, your answer is fiscally lazy — if you studied or worked in finance, you would know that Greenspan (Reagan appointee) kept interest rates far too low given the growth rate from 2001, thus creating a bubble of cheap money. All of your “good economic indicators” are not due to Bush or his policy (actually, Bush’s wars and tax cuts were detrimental to the US debt load), but because of the bubbles caused by Greenspan and cheap money. We, including Obama, are paying for it now. Obama is not perfect, but he did stave off the second Great Depression. We of course will pay for it with inflation down the road, but Americans don’t seem to really want to discuss this; rather, we prefer to play armchair referee while the elites play on our stratified sensibilities.

          • Susan McCurdy

            http://www.caintv.com/ReminderfromSteveMooreThatBush-597

            This article explains how the deficit was going down under Bush until ….ta da …the Congress became conrolled by the Democrats…..hmmm.

          • Johnny

            Oh, Gregory got told. Didn’t he? He sounds like someone I know. =)) By-the-way, when you said, “The financial bubble burst not because of Bush policies but because the housing bubble burst, and that happened because of easy money being loaned out by Fannie and Freddie to people who really should never have qualified for home loans. ” The first thing I see is you blaming an effect on an effect, not cause and effect. (Housing Bubble vs. Housing Bubble) George “W” Bush, in ’08, didn’t tighten up on the regulations. He deregulated them further. Which compounded the Housing Bubble, not tightened up on it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zefH78DvJvk

          • James David

            Gregory, Easy money was at the crux of the problem. The Fed lent investment banks capital at 1 percent and Goldman, Morgan, Citi, et al turned around and bought treasuries at 3 per cent . With our money they got 2 free points. The fact that Morgan invented derivatives that they sold and then shorted is immaterial to me. The fact that when it all unraveled as the suckers went broke is unfortunate. But after all this we then make them whole? This type of Class Capitalism must stop. The Fed has made some effort and we will see the unscrupulous middlemen cut out but not if Romney is elected. His Secretary of Treasury will be an insider who will start the madness once again

          • terry rush

            I’ll never forget Bush ignoring the security briefs about Osama and Al Quida before 9/11, 3000 people dead. I’ll never forget him sending 5000 soldiers to death for his war of choice based on cherry picked info and bad intel. Bush is responsible because he was in charge ,the captain of the ship, it’s how it goes. You probably feel guilty for supporting him I know I would!

          • Betty

            you are the one that does not understand economics and is wearing rose colored glasses.Let me give you a hint, Bush and Cheney paid for a senseless war with a credit card. the result, more money in their pocket as their companies profited.

          • John Radolinski

            I don’t know what line of work you’re in , but the bubble burst in 2006 for us. And both parties bear responsiblility for the recession. We had the Clinton administration forcing banks to loan to uncreditworthy homebuyers, deregulation in the industry by Republicans which allowed stupid banking decisions which then the taxpayers had to fix by bailing out the stupid banks, and the consistent, calculated exportation of U.S. jobs overseas. This NAFTA accord which BOTH parties espoused has come to bite us in the arse. While I DO concur with helping those who have been hurt by the recession, I believe that urinalysis testing of those receiving government assistance is not far fetched. And why not have them clean parks for a few hours, or pick up trash alongside roads, as a means of ‘earning’ the assistance. It would be mutually beneficial, for ‘work does a body good.’ I’m not saying a single mother of three should be picking up garbage, of course.

          • Joel kretzmann

            @Suasan: Read your link & left lol as my comment.

          • Joel kretzmann

            lol. You are blaming the wrong beast. The crash was not cause by the Freddie Macs however much Republicans repeat yourselves. Want PROOF?????? check out how much the bailout of them was. Far from the majority. Please use your brain & criticize sloppy reaserch.
            It was the complex instruments that Wall Street invented & Bush administration being lax on oversight & unfunding regulators.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ellenpainterdollar/2012/10/why-i-am-a-christian-democrat/ JulieMS

            Clinton made what happened , the easy money being loaned out by Fannie and Freddie to people who really should never have qualified for home loans.

          • http://roadrunner Richard Faubert

            A good reson to blame Bush not all by himself but the republicans at that time inharited President Clinton well managed budget and on the road to recovery, it did not take all of Bush’s term to turn it around and bought us into debt, I could go on like Romney says how well he did in Mass well he had an overwelmingly Democratic legislature and all the bills that came to Romneys desk he vetoed, the legislature overroade his veto,the only bill he signed was the insurance with Romney saying that he signed it for all the other bills where overrode by the Democrtic legislature so I might as well sign this bill it would have been ovreridden anyway

          • William Blackwood

            simply put… the two wars off the books, The banking , and auto industry nearly collapsing.., all those costs hit at the same time Obama took office… Bush handed him a maxed out credit card… and the repo man knocking on the door…
            Bush lost 9 million jobs in 8 years, and Obama has added 5+ mil in less than 4…
            Come on…this is 4th grade math figure it out, or believe the lies…

          • Luke

            And to add a little extra…the housing bubble burst because of fair housing policies enacted by Clinton. This quote is from a Time Magazine article: “In 1995 Clinton loosened housing rules by rewriting the Community Reinvestment Act, which put added pressure on banks to lend in low-income neighborhoods.” It only makes sense that it would take quite a few years for a bubble like this to burst. “It happened on Bush’s watch”, is really a straw-man argument. That “added pressure” on banks forced some really unhealthy lending practices and the bubble popped. It just happened to have popped during a Bush presidency.

          • Mike in KC

            So, Luke, If I follow you: It’s Clinton’s fault because it takes years for the effect to take affect but it’s Obama’s fault because he’s been President for 4 years now. So it’s like a responsibility cycle of sorts. It takes over 8 years to go pop but just a few to pop.

          • Shawn

            3 words. Republican obstructionist congress.

          • Deb Nyberg

            You might be tired of hearing it, but if the shoe fits, wear it.

          • http://www.patheos.com Ray Vos

            How do you explain how Bush began his 8 years with the biggest economic surplus that this country has ever had and ended those 8 years with the biggest deficit that we have ever had? President Clinton was right when he recently said that the Republicans are after Obama because he hasn’t fixed GWB’s mess fast enough. So…..vote for Romney and lets have more of the same crap that Bush gave us! No thanks!

          • http://stevecampsout.wordpress.com SteveCampsOut

            It wasn’t just a housing bubble that burst. It was rampant misuse of our nations assets by the gamblers on Wall Street as well as the housing bubble! It was Medicare Part D being implemented without being paid for (Which, by the way, caused my former employer to dump me from their MUCH BETTER insurance policy onto an unpaid for government program thank you very much!!!, It was starting wars based on false information and refusing to pay for them. It was deregulation that allowed many corporations to uproot their jobs and ship them overseas. It was the trashing of our workforce by union busting hack jobs on against our middle class! In short, it was so much more than Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac’s stupid housing bubble!

          • Thurston Howell III

            Shawn, Ray, Absolutely Right. George Bush was the WORST president EVER. He was never close to being qualified to being President. Romney is only slightly smarter but expounds the same misguided economic “Trickle Down” Baloney! If you think getting a tax break on the 0.22% interest you’re earning on your savings will create jobs and grow the middle class, I have a case of Snake Oil I’d love to sell to you!

          • Stephanie Casey

            The reason why the unemployment rate wasn’t so high when Bush was in office is simple. Many of the effects of his choices did not happen overnight. Businesses didn’t fail overnight. The choices that Bush made will affect this country and the economy for generations to come….There is no quick fix for it and people are naive to think that there is……

          • Greg

            Regarding Fannie and Freddie, please note suit filed against BAC today by the feds for unlawful lending practices, including the packaging of bad loans in derivatives to Fannie and Freddie. The Bush Administration created an environment in which such unlawful practices could thrive, and boy did they ever. As a Christian, I too will be voting D (actually did already) because I too believe the party generally comes closer to realizing Jesus’ teachings.

          • Rolling Eyes

            And the deficit, which started at a surplus when he came to office, became the largest in decades? (And calling people names is very mature)

          • Jay

            Yes. The unemployment rate under Bush was lower than under Obama. But the economy didn’t crash until the last 5-ish months of the Bush presidency. 1/16 of someone’s term is not going to make a huge impact in statistics.

          • Kristine

            The reason there was a housing bubble in the first place was due to the Fed controlled by Republicans deregulating the banks, who up until 1999 were never allowed to speculate more than 10% of their capital. These laws that were in place from the 1930′s and allowed the middle class to prosper, were changed by Republicans who are greedy and have allowed a capitalist system to GAMBLE with people’s life savings !!!!!

          • Meredith McLaughlin

            OK, how’s this for research:
            http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/10/24/the-best-presidents-for-the-economy.aspx?fb_action_ids=4761609195201&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=.UItqqY8TGCg.like&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582
            THIS is NOT from some Republican lackey with no particular financial qualifications like Mr. Cain. NOR is it from a Democratic source…it is from someone whose job is financial advice. And, as their numbers CLEARLY show, GWB’s fiscal legacy is most often only slightly better than Herbert Hoover’s…you know, the man who made the Great Depression so darn great. Now, having said that, YES, Clinton DID have a hand in the mess when he loosened banking regulations further. However, this was a process begun by Regan, continued by G.H.W. Bush and that Clinton went along with largely due to the threats/pressure imposed on him by a Republican Congress who swore that their rise to ascendency was a clear mandate by the American people to implement all the things they valued-including continued banking de-regulation. And, frankly, Clinton went along with a LOT of unsavory things and generally bad ideas in order to get re-elected. This includes the clearly un-Constitutional mess that is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)-the law that, at the time, effected nobody, since same-sex marriage was NOT legal in ANY state until 2003-and that brought the legal concept of marriage into the Federal sphere for the first time in U.S. history rather than with individual states where it had always been. Yes, Clinton was often a shameless panderer. This phenomenon is part of the reason why I believe that ONE 6 year term for President would be better than multiple terms of ANY number or length…but that’s an entirely different discussion.

            Now, having said all of that, the super-rich did NOT get that way by sinking more money into bad economic waters and the corporate focus on the ‘next quarter profits’ really doesn’t leave room for strategic planning that would add more jobs in the short-term and hope that more employed workers would result in increased profits in a year or several. Instead, laying off workers immediately increases profits, making investors happier and more likely to not sell off all of their stock. And, after all, middle class investors only account for a small percentage of the money in the stock market and poor people, almost none. Therefore, again, the rich are the ones who drive corporate decision-making. So, if you wish to ACTUALLY spur job creation and economic growth, it MUST be guided by government because it is NOT in the corporate interest to do it themselves. It MIGHT be in their long-term interests, but the hit to their stock prices in the interim mean that it’s almost certainly NOT going to happen on their initiative. Besides, for SOME mega-corps such as Wal-Mart, it’s likely that better/more jobs/job creation would NOT benefit their bottom-line b/c people who have enough money to have a choice often choose NOT to spend their money buying cheap plastic crap at Wal-Mart, but, instead will buy better-quality items somewhere else.

            In point of fact, the article I attached shows that FDR did a much better job for the economy than during many other presidents’ watches. The New Deal is very likely to have had a positive effect, as did, of course, war production. The fact is that there ARE many jobs that need to be done that the government, at some level, is already responsible for. By cutting government spending, many of these tasks go undone and/or are not done nearly as well because the departments that are responsible for them do not have adequate staffing. As someone who has worked much of my adult life in the social service field, I have seen that happen far too much. If the government wishes to cut costs, then rather than laying off people doing necessary jobs, look into WASTEFUL spending. For example, rather than sending the military into combat situations with inadequate equipment or insufficient manpower, make sure you’re not spending $500 on hammers or $1000 on toilet seats. Rather than cutting money for social service agencies such as family/children’s services-make sure that the caseworkers don’t have too many children on their caseloads and that their budgets are adequate to provide the children the services they need to address the deficits they’ve had in their lives and make sure they have the tools and support necessary to help them become productive adults and, later on it is likely that you will spend less money on law enforcement and jails while adding tax paying, law abiding citizens to our society.

            In 2008, when he was first running for President, Barack Obama mentioned running our government’s finances more like a family-you borrow-responsibly-for big ticket items (like a house or a car, or a college education for a family. Or for a government, for NECESSARY defense, economic recovery, etc.) and, if you find yourself in tough financial times-say because of illness or a decrease in income, or an increase in family size, you, for example, don’t stop eating on Tuesdays, you go shopping at Aldi &/or get clothes at thrift stores rather than Macy’s, eat less steak and more hamburger… You certainly don’t tell your sick child that you can’t take them to the doctor b/c it will cut into your profit-margin. That’s corporate thinking-not the thinking of familes-or governments. Governments, like parents, have a responsibility to care for those they are supposed to exist for the benefit of. Corporations’ responsibility is to their shareholders, NOT to their employees or their customers-except as the latter serves the former. So, basically, we need someone who knows how to run a family-NOT a corporation. The purpose of government, IMO (and that of Thomas Payne), is to protect us from one-another. NOT from ourselves and NOT to serve some person’s idea of God’s will. Laws which limit corporations’ ability to rip us off fit that criteria. Laws which choose whom consenting adults are allowed to marry do not. The former is the job of government. The latter is none of their business. The ONLY way that marriage, period, can be construed to be ANY business of government is in issues regarding property and the responsibility for children. Everything else is YOUR opinion based on YOUR understanding of YOUR religion or whatever and has ABSOLUTELY NO place in government.

            The Republican Party gives all kinds of lip service to “smaller government” and “less government interference” and then turns around and tries to pass laws about what choices consenting adults can make about their OWN bodies and lives. THAT is the ultimate government interference-one which limits peoples’ freedoms without benefiting our society, country or populace in any way. Affordable Health Care, on the other hand, will, in the end, benefit EVERYONE by reducing the amount of spending by government, businesses AND individuals on health care while millions of the uninsured or under-insured get sick and/or die on someone else’s dime. If everyone gets adequate health care-less productivity will be lost, people won’t end up paying ever-increasing insurance premiums to cover those who don’t have any coverage and the only people who WON’T be better off in the end are the insurance company executives who won’t be making obscene profits on others’ suffering.

            It is my understanding that the definition of “Christian” is, essentially, a follower of Christ and/or of his teachings. Wasn’t it Christ who said something to the effect of, ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven’? That, in addition to the points and passages mentioned by the article’s author should make it clear that the Republican Party with their fanatical subservience to the super-rich is also NOT representative of Christ’s teachings and, by extension, is also not the party that best embodies the supposed ideals and guiding principles of Christianity.

            Bottom-line. The idea that the Republicans are best for the economy: WRONG. Best for business: WRONG. Best for Christians: WRONG (unless, of course, your view of being a Christian is telling everyone else what to do. However, that does not embody the teachings/life of Jesus). Best for small government: WRONG. It’s all lies-lies and propaganda. So, be sheep-lambs led to the slaughter, more likely-and vote Republican. But hey, be honest about why. Admit it’s because you hate gay people and/or black people, poor people, whatever/whoever it is that you don’t want to see do well/get ahead/have a fair chance. But stop claiming it’s because you’re a Christian or because you’re for smaller government or a balanced budget or whatever other lies you’ve been fed by FOX News & the Romney campaign. Just look at yourself in the mirror and admit that you’d rather that everyone else fails than have to look into your heart and admit that you’re just a hater.

          • Anastasia

            /Users/akonynenberg/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Downloads/598969_243857339076069_1968294468_n.jpg
            Please have a look at this, it might completely change your mind.

        • Annique Newton

          Actually, it’s been a lot longer than the last four years. It’s been more like the last 33. Furthermore, republican states return far less on the Federal dollars that are given to them. So your point is completely inaccurate.

          • MEL

            Actually, Alan Greenspan was also the head of the Fed during the Clinton administration. Other Republican leaders, such as Mitch McConnell were not happy with Greenspan.

          • Peter

            Good point, Amnique, on the “taker” states, most of which are red.

          • HarryW

            Annique,it can be summed up by this TLA: ESR.

            Ever Since Reagan. and we will pay that piper for generations to come. Obama is far from perfect (I’m a Dem, BTW) but he did demonstrably inherit a steaming pile of poo from BabyBush, and the knock-on effects of policies started under Reagan.

            On the topic of the OP, Jesus WAS a radical, and if reincarnated today..his own nuttiest followers would nail him to the cross…AGAIN.

          • Edward Jon

            Thank you Meredith… For taking your time and being the voice of truth and reason.
            I btw am a reformed apologetic misinformed bush supporter. NEVER AGAIN! I’m SORRY…
            I will add something missing up till now? ARM’s Adjustable Rate Mortgages are the main cause for the excessive housing bubble. This in itself allowed speculators to come in w/little money down and borrow for a short term the full value + of the home in speculation they could sell at a perceived higher price, preferably after 2 years hence avoiding “Capitol Gains” once again profiting huge while many of these loans where given w/interest only monthly charges and no intention of a long term commitment. An obvious recipe for disaster. Keep in mind bush was full steam ahead to encourage home ownership after 9 11 and rightly so, yet he had little idea of the Greed and bad intentions of wall street and the likes of Goldman Sachs who plead guilty to betting against their own investors of the housing bubble and paid 500 million in penalties a mere 1 weeks earnings for their major part in the creation of most all of sub-prime . It was a no brainer things where real good w/everyone including average homeowners and tenants that wanted so bad for their own home they jumped on board to sign and fabricate anything their lender offered i.e. 0%down, (stated income), ARM’s etc and then came the beauty of the beast CDO’s where other countries and investors could buy our risky loans at a high ROI. This is probably what kept us from a worse crisis. We created a major world crisis and this was (Not due to Clinton) but the easy policies of Greenspan under Bush as many others have correctly noted. Yes George, on oct commented, the bubble in housing burst? Thats what bubbles created for the wealth building of the few do. And if Obama and Ben Bernanke hadn’t have been their to catch the falling knife the wealth distribution would have been horrendous leaving the top to profit of the misery of the whole? Uh, Yes i know they did anyway but the result would have been much worse if not allowing many, continued access to their low %rate heloc’s to de-leverage much of their debt. Keep in mind many average citizens used their homes to borrow money for all sorts of things other than what they where intended for which was originally home improvement? In short many people will because of human nature take/accept opportunity even when it comes w/illusion of security and false hope?
            It was a crazy time and the next time you hear someone say we need less regulation, smaller government, lower taxes or additional loopholes,credit,deductions, or another off shore cayman island tax haven for the already well off? Run like hell and vote Democrat … If you want to live like a republican?

        • Jozee

          I could not agree more…I am not understanding why ppl automatically assume that all ppl that receive some type of assistance are lazy and want handouts etc. etc…falling upon hard times can happen to the best of us…even those that think that they have a plan….I am speaking from experience…one catastrophic illness wiped me out…I lost all I had and had put away…I am not asking for sympathy but I will in no way shape or form allow ppl that are closed minded make me feel bad bc I need help…And in closing…what we have before us is the trickle down effect of prior administrations…ones that decades back allowed big corporations do whatever etc etc…POTUS has had his hands full trying to turn around a big pile of mess left him…he has no magic wand and let us not forget that there are not many that are with him…we need to be realistic…jobs went over seas way before he got into office…he did not cause us to get into hock with China and Japan all on his own…some of this was in effect prior to…I have never seen so much hatred as I have these past four years…the hearts of many has been revealed…I am praying that one day we can put all this behind us and work together on getting this nation back on track…

        • Susan Breed

          I respect your comments and lovingly refer to those like yourself as “loveable liberals.” I agree with all of your sympathies. Unfortunately the Democratic Party you support promotes a Socialist agenda and if Obama is re-elected you and all America will greatly suffer. I encourage you to do your own research on the effects of the poor and suffering as a result of a Socialist economy . You are being used. Your agenda is not that of our present day Democratic Party.

          • Joanna Sue

            I am sure about one thing regardless. I would rather live in a Socialist State than a Fascist one. That is where the Republican Party wishes to take us in my opinion.

          • Liz

            I’m amazed at how many people are throwing around Socialism and other terms they feel are derogatory to describe the Democratic party. They clearly don’t understand any of these terms. Socialism is “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, 2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property, b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/socialism). I don’t see anyone in the Democratic party advocating socialism. Democrats have a deep understanding that a democratic government is one in which we come together to make life better for all of us in society. We enact laws and regulations to protect citizens, we develop policies intended to advance our society, we collect taxes to provide things like roads and defense and much more that we can’t afford to do individually. Government is a good thing and it’s up to citizens to participate in a sincere way to ensure that all of our voices are heard in determining which directions we should go. Democrats are trying to keep government functioning in a way that carries out these missions while most Republicans these days seem to be determined to ignore the true functions of government and the good it can do for us all.

          • Rick Meidell

            “Socialist” Norway has not once recorded a single individual filing for bankruptcy as a result of illness. Illness relateted bankruptcies exceed 1.5-million yearly in the US

          • Kim

            Denmark has repeatedly been found to be the happiest nation, and they are socialist. Norway has a great economy, and they are also socialist. The early disciples sold everything they had and shared with the others so that everyone had all that they needed. Hmm — sounds like socialism to me. What’s so bad about sharing?!

          • Thurston Howell III

            Susan, before the Koch Bro.s spent hundreds of millions of dollars convincing you and others that Obama was a “Socialist” I’ll bet you had no concept of what Socialism is. Look at Finland. Most productive country on Earth. You people on the right are all Duped as far as I’m concerned, even though many of you are indeed personally generous. Most churches are having a hard time paying the heating bill , how in the world are they going to replace safety net programs that help Seniors, the Disabled and the Poor. Answer! They are NOT.

            Time to go buy some Glenn Beck 1791 Jeans for $130 a pair.

        • HarryW

          Rut roh..prepare for the onslaught, after being so truthy….good onya!

        • John Love

          This is a great article and really shows how Christians should feel. As far as who is responsible for this mess we are in anyone with half a brain would understand that Bush’s two unfunded wars coupled with tax cuts for the very rich would result in financial ruin and adding the Republican’s House and Senate members incentives to businesses to move plants and production facilities out of the U S as well as their support of outsourcing jobs overseas would result in massive loss of employment opportunities in America. These Republican policies may well have been great for business owners and private investment equity firms but they have decimated American jobs as well as the middle class workers. While the Republican smoke and mirrors economic policy known as Trickle Down Economics (Named Voodoo Economics by George H W Bush) do not provide any economic advantage to anyone other than the richest Americans who are given a free ride by the United States government. Policies that help or hurt the middle class do have the very same effect upon the poorest of us. In times of economic growth when the middle class prospers jobs become available for almost all able body workers as the market’s need for labor results in less unemployment and higher wages. Also as the middle class becomes more prosperous so do the resources of charity therefore that benefit moves down to the very most disadvantaged among us. When the middle class is losing their economic advantage the poor looses in the same way.

        • angela

          I don’t think Jesus would approve of your condescending comments about others and their views… Love how people like you use Jesus to inflate your own ego….

      • http://www.scentsy.com/brittanys88 Brittany

        EXACTLY! My state is one of those!

      • TheCourstJester

        Ditto . . easy to find those statistics for those who may not believe you.

      • willie

        Thats why they vote republican, because alot of able people would rather get food stamps.
        How many food stamp people have under the table jobs, I dont think I am the only one that sees it.

        • Leslie

          The recent argument that Democrats support entitlements handouts and Republicans “carry” this country economically and socially is absurd! How many Republicans have “under the table entitlements”? How many Republicans have taken their daughter,(often under Medicaid!) or gone themselves to an abortion clinic? How many Republicans, who own their own business, dont have health insurance because they can afford to pay to go to the Dr. for a cold but when their child gets Leukemia, they have to visit the local Dept of Family Services office for healthcare, ie Medicaid or Disability? How many Republicans refute the Welfare system but encourage their low-income family members to apply? How many Republicans go to church as Christians and yet mock the poor? How many Republicans have found themselves in the position of drawing Unemployment benefits? How many republicnas hire illegals to work for them because they are cheap labor and they can pay them cash!? How many Republicans “hate” GAYS” until they have a family member or friend who “comes out” and they change their opinion? No one claims there isnt corruption or critical problems that need to be addressed within ALL government programs and that education needs to be paramount in these areas as well, but please STOP the hypocrisy, the lies and bigotry of an out-dated argument that somehow there is only half of America benefiting from these programs and laws!

          • Triadsense

            All true, except the abortions by Medicaid part. The Hyde Amendment banned government funds for abortions since 1977.

      • Al

        Thank you for this article and statement…….the far right conservatives have hijacked Christianity and molded it to serve them politically and financially. Quite ironic that the red states are the ones that rely most of Federal safety net programs, but are seething to vote for a group that will destroy that safety net. You don’t want government in your life, stop taking Federal money.

      • donna

        Hi Ellen not sure why you deleted my post . Perhaps you thought I was speaking for God but I only know what God wants by his Word. We can all know what God says and what pleases him . His Word is the standard we judge good and evil by. Without it we make up our own minds depending upon how we would like God to be. We also ,as Paul tells us, are in danger always of being deceived, therefore we must line everything up with hi s Word to know truth.
        I understand where you are coming from but most of it stems from this country demeaning the right some years ago and it has become gospel that republicans and conservatives are haters, don’t care about he poor and are closed minded. This was never the prevailing wisdom when I was growing up. My children have been told this from the moment they were in school, by teachers, curriculum, media and new PC mentality. Conservative Christians have stood on their beliefs and because they have decided not to change with the wind they are labeled hateful and closed minded. I would like to send you my thoughts that you deleted.

        The problem is with her analysis , is that she assumes government is the only and best way to help the poor. Jesus gave that responsibility to us, not the government. That being said no conservatives believe that government has NO role in helping the poor. Conservatives are the most generous people on the face of the earth. She might not know this but of studies done, top charitable givers are conservatives and top states are conservatives. Jesus does not have a problem with people being wealthy she does not know her scripture well to say that. God gave solomon wealth incomparable to anyone. She appreciates government for the good they do. And I guess she thinks conservatives don’t like government to take care of roads to provide good education ,law inforcemant, food stamps etc..? Not true never has been. The “fairness ” she talks about is code word I suppose for redistribution of wealth, which is not a biblical principle for the government . Dignity is had by helping a person to be personally responsible not reliant on the government. She does not understand the character of God or scriptures if she says first of all that scripture is inconsistent with who God is..God is not only a God of love but also wrath. Finally, poor, fairness, justice ,charity are hugely important in the conservative party the big difference is that it comes from the church and the individual more than the government, she is not honest or not informed to say one is for these and the other is not. Last, she mentions abortion as though it is a non issue simply because the right hold that as a priority issue. It is a huge issue, God thinks so (in his word). Sanctity of life. Homosexuality, or changing the Biblical definition of marriage she leaves out as important to God.(in his word) Parental consent on either of these two issues. The ability to spank our children. Absinence education as opposed to passing out condemns or abortion. Creation vs evolutions being taught in our school. Taking the 10 commandments out of schools or govt places. Taking crosses down. Not being able to even write reports about Jesus. The list goes on…supporting Israel in every way. If the right abandoned these issues as being important I would not support the republican party either. But it is painfully obvious which party is more in line with Biblical stance. even if the conservative party fell shorter then the dems in some of these areas which I do not believe they do, I could not support a party that is fine with the murder of innocent lives. But I am sure she is a nice person. :)
        Also you stance regarding abortion is sad to me. Jesus is God. God mentioned throughout scripture that nothing is more important than life. Jesus did not mention specifically many things but if you look at scripture in its entirely you can see it is of the ut most of importance to protect innocent life. Red letter Christians do not understand that Jesus is God and all of scripture is God breathed.

        It is not okay to vote for a man or be beholden to a party that is pro abortion. It is not a secondary issue.

    • Sharon Conway

      Dave ~ especially when seeing that the number 1 state in charitable donations is Utah, it is obvious that donations to churches are included (Mormons are required to tithe 10% of their income to the Mormon church). While churches do a lot to help the poor, they also use funds to build big churches. In Texas, one church used $1 million to build a giant cross. I’m pretty sure that $1 million could have fed a LOT of hungry people. I would like to see stats from organizations that actually use the majority of the donations they receive to help the poor and use those numbers. Just numbers on charitable giving is not enough information.

      • jrshipley

        According to a report in Business Week the Mormon Church spends 0.7% of its annual income on charity. The United States Fund for UNICEF scores over 90% according to Charity Navigator. I’m not judging giving to your church as good or bad, but paying to support services you find aesthetically and spiritually edifying is not actually charity. It just isn’t.

    • TLP

      In my own church, I see the exact opposite of this. Most of those who are doing the down and dirty work, the really hard stuff involved in working with the homeless and less fortunate, are mostly the Democrats. The ones who are giving the most (by percentage of what they have), seem to be mostly the Democrats. The ones who are preaching to me about “family values” and how I should be excluding my gay neighbors are all Republicans. What you are saying, on paper, doesn’t match up to what I am witnessing within my own church.

      • Gregory

        What percentage of people in your church are Democrats? Liberal churches are filled with Democrats. So to say that most people in a church helping the poor are Democrats where the vast majority in the church are Democrats isn’t a good sample.

    • Carole Townsend

      Dave–You have the right to believe what you want to believe, and to quote whatever you want to quote. However, there are opinions; and then there is factual information, and I have to say to you that, in my experience, in the United States of America, you are wrong.

      • Joel kretzmann

        Do not say he has a right to believe what he want to believe. He has the freedom to, only.

    • Kim W.

      Dave: did the survey you cite as your source take into account who contributed more time and labor? Or did it just measure money?

      ….If it just measure money – did it occur to you that perhaps the reason Republicans are more generous monetarily is because they’ve manipulated the system so as to have more money for themselves in the first place?

      • Gregory Kluck aka Lord Airgtar

        Kim, if Republicans manipulated the system to get more, why would they even think of contributing to a charity. That seems counter to what they are trying to do. I’m a republican and I’ve given cars to people who needed them, I buy car parts to help less fortunate people fix there cars to be able to go to school , work, the doctor, whatever. I’m not rich, in fact, I earn just over $20,000 a year. I subsidize my giving with money from a small DJ service I run, basically DJing only car shows earning maybe $8,000 per year.

        • Jackie

          When it comes to giving, I don’t think you can say this one gives more or that one gives more. I live in a small rural community and we all pull together regardless of our religious affiliation or political affiliation. Statistics can be manipulated to say anything you want it to say. Let’s stop blaming and start fixing.
          Gregory, thank you for helping people. It is a wonderful thing you do. I help as well and I rescue horses. I am a democrat. I am also a teacher. I donate time, money, clothes, food, and whatever else I can despite the fact I am partially disabled. We all can make a difference, regardless of our political views. We need to stop arguing and start pulling together no matter who gets into office. I will vote for who I think will do the best job and I know that I will not change your mind by spouting statistics. And I could because I am a Mathematics teacher.

        • Robin

          Totally agree! However, no matter what you say, the Republicans will twist it around and shift the blame how they see fit! They are so sure of their righteousness that they will use bullying tactics to make their case! I’ve had to unfriend a lot of people that I thought were my friends until they resorted to berating me and my beliefs! What makes me real sad though is that many of those friends of mine simply just don’t want a black man in the White House! And any improvements he has and will make, will go unrecognized because they are only focused on voting him out. If Romney is elected, the recession will return with a vengeance and it will somehow be the fault of the Democrats!! P.S. Government subsidies are being used more because there are more poor people in lieu of the Bush Administration!! This fact will always fall on the deaf Republican’s ears! Also, I’m an accountant and know that the majority of rich people only give to charity because it’s a substantial “write-off”!! duh!

          • Tatiana DiSilvestro

            Well said, Robin!

          • chris anthony

            Well said…

      • http://None Randy

        Actually Republicans donate more time too – don’t have the exacts stats but I have seen it somewhere. Liberals in my experience are ofen well meaning but just aren’t grounded in reality. I can’t say why that is but. It is not socail status because not liberals are at the top of most of the Fortune 100.

        • Erin

          It seems like the split in what the two of you are perceiving would be easily explained if (seriously) Christian liberals are donating lots of time and money and other liberals (or at least many of them) aren’t. The statistics would then show liberals not doing the kind of giving that TLP is seeing on the ground. And I think that’s what I see in day to day experience. 90% of the seriously Christian liberals I know are hugely generous, and 90% of the non-Christian liberals I know are mostly big talk and too busy to do anything. (But 10% are giving people!) Statistics aren’t supposed to be showing that everyone in a given category is at or around the average.

        • Jamie

          I think we should take Randy’s word for it because, you know, he’s “seen it somewhere.” Also, the Fortune 100 is a list of Companies (not “Liberals”) and last time I checked Exxon and Wal-Mart were near the top of the list. Not sure he what reality he’s grounded in, or what he takes in order to get to that state, but I’m quite sure I’d be unhappy if I ever experienced it.

    • Jan S

      Exactly, Kim. Thank you. Perhaps they are factoring in charitable giving by those who have billions and who have a lot to give, such as the Koch brothers but we know of some decidedly unchristian behaviors coming from them. I’m thinking of Jesus’ story of the poor woman who gave all she had. Though it was very little, she gave more than anyone because she gave it all.

    • J.C. Young

      Actually the states with the highest number of people on assistance, nearly all of the Southern ‘red’ states.

    • Kate Barngrover

      Generous as in giving to charity? No doubt but is it because they love to give to people in need or is it because it’s just another tax deduction? I am sure some are doing it for the former, but many for the later. Romney gives to his church, the ONLY charity, and while the deseret org. do good things it is for them, not for any non-Mormon. Soooooo

    • Burr Corley

      Every time I see this study I suspect the same thing and I was right

      “The study is based on exact dollar amounts released by the Internal Revenue Service showing the value of charitable deductions claimed by American taxpayers. It is not based on extrapolations from spot surveys or statistical models.”

      So its not based upon how much was actually given. Its based on how many charitable deductions were claimed on people’s taxes. I give to charity and many in my family do but we never claim a charitable deduction. My brother in law who is a tea party republican claims all of his charitable deduction. He even calculates how much to give based upon how much of a deduction he want to get. Essentially he’s not giving at all he’s just handing tax money over to his church and some right wing charities that he supports.

      • Darcie

        To expand upon that, if this goes only by what is reported on tax returns, then many poorer people would not show a deduction. I take the standard deduction because I don’t own a home and have a mortgage. I can’t afford to own a home. Therefore, anything I give to charity is just that. Charity. Not a way to pay less in taxes.

    • Mark

      Explain exactly how the Democrats have driven 15 million into poverty/food stamps. This was the direct result of 12 years of Congressional rule and 8 years of a Republican president which used deregulation and outsourcing to eliminate jobs. Do you not remember the meltdown of 2008? Are Republicans really that short-sighted and so easily forget what is painful to remember?

      • Jozee

        I am afraid that many are and that is a shame…this selective memory that ppl have is something serious…prior to 2008 we had a mess on our hands…I am puzzled as to why ppl assume that it was automatically going to go away…before we can make any true progress we must first right the prior wrongs…

    • http://www.knittedinthewomb.com Knitted in the Womb

      I can respect a Christian who is a Democrat for the philosophy that causes them to take a Democratic position. However, I think they have a falsely rosey view of how the government programs for the poor actually impact the poor.

      My sister is learning disabled, and thus she receives HUD housing benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cash and medical insurance benefits, foodstamps, and assistance from other small programs. I have seen very up-close and personal over the years how these programs actually trap her into poverty.

      Regarding her housing benefits…they do not ALLOW her to get an apartment at a fair market value. Its not just that they will not pay enough to get an apartment at fair market value…they will not allow her to choose to pay a higher rent than they have decided upon–even though she has money available in her budget to do so. We looked into many housing options for her, and the only options that she could afford with her HUD benefits were squalid, to say the least. So the only reason that she isn’t living in a slum type apartment is because my husband and I rent her a one bedroom house that we bought specifically for her–its basically an apartment masquerading as a house at 550 square feet. The previous owner of the house was renting it out for $300 per month more than the housing authority will allow us to charge her in rent.

      The SSDI benefit…sigh. My sister is *capable* of working 40 hours per week, possibly more. Many, if not most Americans who do not rely on government benefits do work more than 40 hours per week. She will never be able to get a very high paying job, but she can work “light industrial” jobs, which could pay $9-10 per hour starting salary. However her SSDI payment will be taken away from her if she makes more than about $900 per month–or the equivalent of 25 hours of work per week at $9 per hour. Now if she were to actually work 40 hours per week at $10 per hour she’d have the SAME amount of money as her SSDI plus the allowed $900 per month in salary she can currently earn. But how many people are really going to work an extra 15 hours per week to net…well, NOTHING–at least immediately. She doesn’t “see” that she is capable of working more than 40 hours per week, or that if she’d get herself off SSDI she could possibly work herself up to salary that is higher. Of course if she does work herself off of receiving the SSDI cash benefit, she also looses the SSDI medical insurance benefit…and jobs at the pay level she is at aren’t commonly offering medical insurance.

      As for Medicaid…well *Medicare* that seniors get is often lauded as such a great example of government run healthcare. And maybe it is. But Medicaid is an entirely different issue. The payments made to care providers under Medicaid are so low, that as my dentist recently told me “the only way a dentist who accepts Medicaid patients can have a profitable business is to do a high volume of very expensive proceedures.” She didn’t finish the statement with the “many of which are not needed”–but in the context of the conversation…it was there. You see, I am currently temporarily on Medicaid. I had gone to a dentist who does a high volume of Medicaid patients. The dentist said that I needed multiple deep fillings, and possibly several root canals. Shocked since I generally have very good teeth, I went to my long standing dentist for a consultation before having the work done. Her jaw just about hit the floor at the concept that I needed even one root canal, let alone “several.” She looked at the x-rays the other dentist had done, and said that she saw NO deep cavities (she was able to see a couple of very shallow surface cavities when she examined my teeth), and absolutely no indication that I needed any root canals.

      • Terry

        Thanks for sharing, Knittedinthewomb.
        Based on some public policy books I have read, this has been my conclusion. The Democratic party definitely talks the talk when it comes to helping out the poor and needy. Unfortunately, the policies and programs they put money into often appear to have unintended consequences that actually hurt the very people they are motivated to help. I don’t doubt the sincerity of many in the party, but I have read far to many statistics that indicate exactly what you write about your sister’s experience – they trap folks in a cycle/system of poverty. I also have a hard time supporting a platform that is so liberal on the sanctity of life issues, which have now become freedom of religion issues. The “least of these” surely includes the preborn. For those of you who are interested in reading some very thought-provoking public policy analysis, I’d encourage you to look up the writings of Charles Murray. Even his old stuff from 20 years ago is worth reading – required reading in many Political Science degree programs.

      • Steven

        Knitted in the Womb, Let me see if I understand the point(s) you are trying to make, because honestly it’s not that clear to me from the stories you’ve related. What I’m hearing is you believe these programs are good and necessary, but in serious need of better regulation and reform? The fact that you have the need to temporarily benefit from the Medicaid program is a clear indication, and to say or believe otherwise on your part would be completely hypocritical. You don’t strike me as a hypocrite, judging by what written here. I’m also gleaning that you believe the Medicaid program to be underfunded, in need of more tax dollars to bring payments up to realistic levels to help eliminate fraud and encourage ethical professionals like your dentist to participate… some of the reform I mentioned earlier. Or am I completely missing your point? Instead, are you advocating eliminating your sister’s housing, food, and medical benefits to let her work her way out of her “poverty trap”? I don’t believe there are many that perceive the “rosey” picture you suggest for the majority of those participating in these programs, however you look at it, but it appears to me from what you’ve written they are serving a genuine purpose, with few if any alternatives. I think it might be better to keep the baby, throw out the bath water, and reform these programs until they make more sense, until they can effectively do the work they are intend to do, and fund them at a level necessary to do so.

        • emily lawrence

          Well put Steven. It’s not black and white, a lot of gray that is ‘in process.’ I just read some research, quite a few articles, that indicates because we have been kicking severely mentally ill people out of the hospital (Reagan’s brilliance), they are being released with no adequate after care. They slowly sink to terrible levels of poverty, some sleeping under bridges, and some committing crimes and processing through our legal systems. Eventually, they end up back through the hospital’s revolving door, where the administrative costs of reprocessing goes on ad infinitum. In and out. Churches cannot keep up with this, nor can private donations. I would rather be taxed to lessen my neighbor’s suffering and to, God help me, provide me with a less stressful life in which I have to struggle for health care. Reduced stress means a healthier life for all of us.

      • Jozee

        Your statement is true to a certain extent…yes many are trapped into a system that in part instill fear bc of doubt about ever becoming self sufficient and reliant again…but that is not the end all situation….I dont think that either party should be correlated…ppl fall on hard times and some need help longer and even permanently…in my opinion, I think the system needs over hauling bc it sets ppl up for failure even when they want to try and do the all the rules and stipulations prevent or shall I say impede them in many instances…so like many, they fall into the proverbial cycle…Ive case managed far too many of them and Im speaking from experience…

      • Joel kretzmann

        So where are those generous Republican doctors to help medicaid patients?

        I believe SSI or SS can earn more than the stated limit, 7 months out of the year.

        Problem with the gov is that administrators are unfunded, so one has to know the exact question to ask. Private companies are better funded, since they can deduct expenses, though can short you on needed helpers.

      • Triadsense

        This is why, while I will vote for many individual Democrats, I am registered neither Republican nor Democratic. To fix all our problems, we have to go over all of our policies with a fine-toothed comb, but such reforms will result in howls from some of the left and the right.

    • tommy marling

      do they give all they have, such as the woman putting two copper coins in the temple offerings or the rich man who puts an extravigant amount in for all to see what he has given ? Who has given more ? I believe the parable is quite fitting in today’s political context and your comment…

    • maria

      Dave You are a very smart individual,and I agree with you .Ms Doller doesn’t know what she is writing about..

      • DaveP

        > Dave You are a very smart individual,and I agree with you .Ms Doller doesn’t know what she is writing about..

        I think Ms Dollar is very well thought out. She and I may disagree on stuff, but I think that the areas we disagree in our motivated by our differences in background and experience, and not by lack of intelligence on either side. At least, no lack of intelligence on Ellen’s side. :)

        I am reading her book, “No Easy Choice”, and I am finding it to be very thought provoking. For me, it ranges from harrowing (where she describes hospitals and bones breaking, which conjours up scenes from my own past), to — how do I phrase this? — lovingly logical: where she describes the arguments and reasoning that went into her decisions.

        http://www.amazon.com/Easy-Choice-Disability-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0664236901

    • Mark Thompson

      How can you support a party that has killed 54 Million babies in the last 30 years? Don’t tell me Jesus would support this.
      How can you support a party that supports sex outside of marriage. Jesus would not support this. This is not radical, its just wrong.
      I’m all for supporting the poor. I even ran the benevolence department at a church. Jesus did not enable people. Poverty is a complex problem. As a republican, I’m not say we don’t deal with the problem, you just cannot emable people. Enabeling is not biblical. Jesus
      If you give the goverment a sliding scale of taxation, what point is it stealing? 75% 85% 95%

      • John

        Well said.

      • acarter

        Mark-when you say party: you say whom? I am not a democrat myself, actually independent voter, however, I will say that my lovely husband, is a Democrat,( with a capital D because he is proud of being one) ( thus being involved in the party), does not kill 54 million babies. ( isn’t that what they call a straw man?) Are you saying Republicans never have sex outside of marriages and that sex outside of marriage is only supported by Democrats? You better tell that to my two sweet Republican Mormon gal friends, who both were having sex constantly without being married. By the way, I did not enable them, I did tell them they should make sure they use contraceptives so that they would not get pregnant by some dude named Billy Bob. I guess that would be enabling or it could be that I am just a wonderful friend who wants to support her friend in a proactive decision. Hmm.. contraceptives or abortion? Interesting and sad enough, one of these friends had a couple of abortions to hide unwanted pregnancies from her Republican Mormon family ( which I know is Republican, not because they are Mormon)..So.. what exactly am I saying.. it’s easy to classify Dems believe in these values… Republicans believe this… ( The fact of the matter is.. were being classified, and told what party we should belong to according to what we believe, the inaccuracy is though, that people vary and do not necessary believe everything on the whole, however I hear many classify them as such, such a pity).. I am not fond of people giving me a label.. and tell me how I should believe according to that party, how dare they? I am an American, I am free, I can vote and believe how I want. So, when you say Democratic party believes this.. make sure you have your stories straight because not every person in the Democratic party believes as you just proclaimed. Perhaps they have other reasons for being a Democrat. Just as a note, not all Christians are Republican people, and they may not feel that religion had anything to do with their decision, I know Republicans who are atheist and Democrats who are Christian, yet some of you are telling them that they should belong to a certain group, shame on you! I guess I better get ready for the new label that the media and parties will give me, a person who is an independent thinker, oooh swing voter was one name I heard, well lets just say I am a voter, and an American, and a Christian, and I want to hear only what changes will be made to help our economy, our American people, our farmlands, our rights, and etc . I don’t have time to listen to name calling, labels or the immature silliness that we have allowed to happen in our country with our leaders, frankly we should be embarrassed.

        • acarter

          By the way I think this article was very interesting because she bravely disects this fallacy in her own words, “Real Christians vote Republican”. I confidently believe she proved her argument, and even if I personally don’t believe in everything she wrote, I do believe that she backed up her beliefs. Kudos, on your article, and I still believe that America should stick to “what are we going to change in our country, what are our plans, where are we going from here”, instead of, “he doesn’t believe in this, and he doesn’t believe in that”, my thinking, “time to turn off the news, time to put down the paper” and all magazines relative to this election, if that’s all I am going to get out of it!

      • Jenifer

        I’m remembering the scripture about it is better to have a rock tied around your neck and be thrown into the river than to harm one of my little ones. I think Jesus made it very clear on his stance for hurting children. There is NO WAY he would EVER stand by a party that not only supports abortion but fought to reinstate partial birth abortions, for which there is no proof that they mother’s life is in danger.

        • Trapper

          I’ve always found the argument about abortion fascinating. While Republicans want government out of just about everything, they want government to dictate abortion. I am a Catholic, and I’m a Democrat because I’m Catholic, not despite it. I am against abortion but I believe it’s not my place to judge others for their decisions; it’s God’s place. I also believe God gave us the gift of free will. He doesn’t want to force us to come to Him, but to love him freely, of our own accord. Otherwise, it’s meaningless.

          It is absolutely ludicrous to me to hear people say that Democrats want abortion, or worse, that they cause abortions to happen. A woman must make that decision on her own, based on her own situation and conscience. Abortions will happen whether they’re legal or not, and statistics show that if they’re illegal the death rate will be even higher because of the “back alley abortions” people will resort to.

          Pregnancy is a unique situation in all of humankind: A life within a life, and therefore the moral quandary regarding which life takes precedence will confound and anguish us until the end of time. But one thing is clear: Others cannot dictate it; the decision must ultimately rest with the only one who has the burden of carrying the other.

          To me, it’s all about control. Many Republicans want to have control — control over their money, control over who they think is “deserving” of their charity, control over other countries and people, control over women, etc. — and much of the way they control is through fear. What are are Republicans afraid of? Why are they afraid of gay people marrying? Why are they so afraid of a black man as President? Why are they afraid of strong women who can make decisions for themselves?

          Karl Rove was brilliant when he went after the Christian Right and made abortion (and by association, sex and contraception) a political issue. Get ‘em where their conscience is, and they’ll think they’ll go straight to hell if they don’t vote Republican. What people don’t see is how they’re being manipulated to see things in a simplistic black-and-white way. If we believe in the sanctity of human life, how can we allow the least of our brothers and sisters to starve? How do we condone capital punishment? Fear of the unknown, and of anything or anyone different, forces many people to lose clarity of judgment.

          I believe the Democratic view of the role of government aligns more closely with biblical teachings. I don’t mind that the Republican platform espouses a diminished role of government in caring for people in our society. It’s a free country and that’s their prerogative. I just get really upset when people who choose to be members of the GOP act like they’re the ones, not Democrats, who are following Christ’s teachings. Don’t they recognize the hypocrisy? As far as I’m concerned, the Republican party’s beliefs are about as far from Christian principles as you can get.

          • Jenni

            Couldn’t have put it better myself.

          • Tara

            Well said Trapper!!!

          • Triadsense

            It is just as much a tragedy when 4,486 of our troops died in the Iraq War, as a result of some faulty intelligence. Just when I was beginning to see the anti-life policies of some Republicans, these senseless shootings have brought out some ridiculous rhetoric by “conservatives” in the media, who are not worthy of mention on this blog. I can’t stand it anymore.

            Death is death, no matter how pretty it is wrapped in an American flag. While there are too many abortions in America, there are also too many wars and senseless shootings as well.

      • A

        oh, Please.

    • Holly

      Individual Republicans may give more money because they have more wealth, but it is not correct to make a blanket statement that Republicans give more than Democrats. Among the people I work with I am the only person who gives over 10% of my income to charities and not just my church. On the issue of sex outside of marriage, the Democratic Party does not support sex outside of marriage. The Republican Party you speak of has become the party that encourages people to grab what they can, avoid paying taxes, and not share with anyone. That is not justice and it is not biblical.

    • Sara Klotz de Aguilar

      The Democrats didn;t drive those people into poverty. You’re forgetting that the economy crashed under GW Bush, and the Obama administration got stuck with trying to clean it up, with the complete obstruction by the Republicans on every job bill put forth.
      if you’re a Christian, I suggest you look deep inside your heart and ask yourself if Jesus would approve of you lying like this, to yourself and others.

    • Dennis

      AFAIK, there is no such thing as food stamps. The program was replaced by SNAP and reloadable cards are used, not stamps. In Illinois, they are called WIC cards; I don’t know what other states call them or if any state actually still uses food stamps.

      • http://www.patheos.com Marta

        Throwing this in real quick. SNAP is not WIC. I work with WIC. WIC is a nutrition education program. My state still has both. SNAP is very difficult to obtain, but a client can be on both. At least here they can.

        WIC is only for women, infants, and children and provides nutrition specific foods. A SNAP recipient can be any age or gender and purchase any type food they prefer. There is no nutrition counseling involved as there is with WIC.

        Thanks, just wanted to set the record straight for anyone considering both options.

    • Robert Weil

      An excellent reply. Thank you for expressing precisely my feelings as well.

    • Cindy Ramshur

      You do realize that more people are on food stamps because our economy tanked in 2008 due to the financial crisis, right? It wasn’t like President Obama took office in 2009 and all of a sudden everything fell apart? Turn off Fox News and get some facts. This was such a well-written piece that reflects exactly how I feel. I have such frustration with those in my community who vote against their own economic interests because their pastor tells them to. We should all worship God in the way we choose and government should govern. The two don’t mix well.

    • Liadan

      You blame Democrats for the economic ruin of the Republicans. The deficit has increased because of the interest on Bush’s loans. Historically, when a crash this severe occurs, it takes decades to recover. Obama has turned it around far faster and we are making gains. The gains would be far faster if the Republicans hadn’t blocked all the reforms and programs the President proposed. The Republicans vowed to do everything they could to destroy this country to make sure they could attack the President on the economy. I think they are traitors. I’m Christian too. And *because* I’m Christian, I vote Democrat.
      Give your love of justice to the king, O God,
      and righteousness to the king’s son.
      Help him judge your people in the right way;
      let the poor always be treated fairly.
      May the mountains yield prosperity for all,
      and may the hills be fruitful.
      Help him to defend the poor,
      to rescue the children of the needy,
      and to crush their oppressors.
      - Psalm 72 (NLT)

    • Leslie

      This is an interesting point. But the study brings up some questions too: 1) What constitutes a charity? 2) What is the correlation between a state voting for a given party and the party affiliation of those residents who give to charity? I think it’s quite possible that registered Democrats don’t give to charities as much as registered Republicans. That’s a statistic Democrats should probably wrestle with. They may give more to philanthropic efforts that aren’t considered charities thought (NEA?, NPR?, NARAL?, NWRF?, NWPA?, CWP?). But policies from Democratic administrations are much more likely to be in line w/ Jesus’s teachings, than those from Republican administrations, no question.

    • carl h

      The problem is that is not how the Bible tells us to take care of the “the least of these” there are many things about how the Democrates are doing this that don’t line up:
      1) The Bible tells the church to care for them not the goverment
      2) The Bible tells us we are to care for them because we are loved and because of that love we should fteely give and help, not be taxed and think it is being done for us.
      3) As a Christian it should change every thing about me to include the way I think, we shoud always be glorifing God with what we do.
      4) Odd point how many goverment soup kitchens are there? How many Christian churches do so?

      • sjay

        Actually, anywhere in the Bible that God’s People are in charge of society they are instructed as a matter of law to take care of the poor. The NT scriptures that have the church taking on the charitable function reflect the status of Christians at that time, i.e., marginalized with no power to affect the doings of Caesar.

    • b

      Parroting the media much? The great thing about this country is you are entitled to not only have your opinion (irrespective of how it was derived), you can espouse it…regardless of how heartily I disagree and see your basis for argument shallow and unresearched. Debating the points always have at least two points of view. I just happen to see it as hypocritical to judge others for their situation as “lazy” while also calling yourself a christian, which in the NEW testiment implies you strive for patience, forgiveness, and other basic humanistic principles. Anger is NOT a consistent Christian voice to sing. …but sing you will. So, have a good day and try and focus on something other than how these two candidates stand for your beliefs, b/c in the end, and if you truly new their advisory system vs their honest opinions, you might find you disagree with more about them than you think.

    • emily lawrence

      hmmm. I guess one could look at our leaders. What is George Jr. up to these days???? what has his dad been up to?? On the other hand, what has Clinton done since he left office? And Jimmy Carter??? I don’t know what the statistics are about the general population, but I can take a gander at our leaders past and present.

      By the way, much that gets done for others goes unreported. It has also been my observation that Republicans love tooting their horns and making sure others know just how pious they are. Too each his own.

      I am a democrat and will be voting for the leader I believe represents the direction I want my Country to go in, which happens to be consistent with my faith and understanding of scripture.

    • Dana

      Both parties have been complicit in driving Americans into poverty through their poor trade policies which reward corporations for moving American jobs overseas. Also, Clinton signed some of the major trade agreements we’re stuck in now which are more of the same, and Bush and his cronies got into some maneuvering which led directly to the crash during Obama’s administration. There is more than enough blame to go around to everybody, so let’s not be yelling only at the Democrats.

      But where you see people on food stamps and decry the Democrats putting people into poverty, I’d just like to point out that at least the Democrats didn’t cut food stamps for the poor. Were it Republicans in charge all this time, those people would not even be eligible for food aid. They’d be at home slowly starving to death because I promise you, there are not enough food donations from the general public that the food banks can reach everyone who needs them. And of the food that IS donated, much of it is junk. (The poor don’t need noodles and rice and crackers. They need meat and fruit and vegetables and milk. But what’s more likely to be donated? Ask any food-bank worker; you’ll get an earful.) If that’s all we can expect from the “free market,” you can HAVE it.

    • kim

      What you say is in fact wrong in regard to red versus blue states taking care of the poor:

      http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/108185/blue-states-are-scandinavia-red-states-are-guatemala#.UH_VvvsIS0k.facebook

      • Triadsense

        Good read.

    • Steve Ellis

      People that blame the last 3 year’s recession on the current administration do not remember that the last 6 months of the Bush administration saw 3.5 million jobs lost. The rise in food stamps under Obama is because the recession caused by too little regulation of Wall Street led to millions of people sliding into poverty. While Democrats and Republicans undercut Wall Street regulations in the past 20 years, Republicans are simply much more at fault, as regulations are anathema to that party.

    • Nathan Richard Sooy

      FOOD STAMPS:

      The Obama Administration led a concerted effort to put more eligible people on the Food Stamp program. Bush’s people had not done effective publicity for this program. Obama’s people did.

      That has effected the numbers. To a degree, we are not seeing more poverty. We are seeing more use of the Food Stamp program.

    • Sam

      Yes, states that voted Democrat tended to donate less… because those states have better support structures for those in need. Many of the states at the top have horrible social services. They don’t take care of those who are in trouble. So the people see full soup kitchens and temporary shelters, and they feel that unpleasantness, and they make that unpleasantness better by dropping a bit of money, maybe 1% of a paycheck, in the donation box.
      The state I live in (MN, which is lower in the list than the infographic goes) funds shelters through the state. We certainly have homeless, and people who go hungry, but it’s not as bad as what I’ve seen in Georgia, which is close to the top of the list. Our poverty rate is among the lowest in the nation. This is because we don’t just give a handout at a soup kitchen. We have state-funded programs meant to teach the needy to fish, so to speak.
      So, you see, just saying “the people in this state give most to charities” doesn’t mean anything without seeing the facts that surround that statement.

    • http://www.nomorephonebills4life.com Sean

      Republicans, by and large, are in more need of “tax deductions” too!

    • Lottie

      I am a Christian that will vote Republican this time. Voting this way just makes economic sense for me and my pocketbook.

      • Courtney

        Because Jesus said “Make sure that you look out for yourself. Forget about helping anyone else.” So very Christian of you.

      • Linda Lara

        I am suprised that so many of the comments under this post are about MONEY. Is that really all Christians are thinking about? I have read alot of posts and have found few that I call really Christian. Here is one post I agreed with:
         Kim says:
        October 24, 2012 at 8:49 am
        I also agree with Susie (and, of course, with Ellen!). I am a “conservative ” Christian in that I believe the Bible, in its entirety, is truth, but I will have to side with the Democrats (again) in this election because, however imperfectly, they seem to me to be a more biblical choice at this time. Although I believe that abortion and gay marriage are biblically wrong, the Bible has much more to say about how we are to love and provide for the sick, poor, foreign and disenfranchised than it has to say about about homosexuality and the murder of our children, combined.
        Further, Scripture has a great deal to say about avoiding greed and idolatry, and not being a “respecter of persons,” yet it seems to me that these are the very things that Republicans stand for at this time. They seem to favor the rich over the poor, and the powerful (ie, corporate America) over the common citizen. They seem to take the attitude that as long as they have what they need, the heck with those who don’t.
        Finally, let me say that it seems the height of hypocrisy to insist that the government is responsible to enforce the Christian morals opposing abortion and homosexuality, while at the same time and with equal vehemence, insisting that the government MUST NOT enforce the Christian values of caring for the sick, the poor, the elderly, the foreigner, etc. From a biblical perspective, it seems unlikely that legislation will change the hearts or minds of those engaged in homosexuality or who are seeking abortion. Other non-governmental approaches would be much more effective (Life Centers, for instance). Yet on the issues of poverty and health care, the need is so great that non-governmental agencies can’t begin to scratch the surface. We MUST have governmental involvement to do what is right. When God gave the law, it was to Israelites who had no separation between their faith and their government. I believe God still intends governments to DO what is right.

    • Dan

      You are very confused sir. You are assuming that the number of people on food stamps increased because of present policies, when in fact the present policies are why you and everyone you know are NOT on food stamps. America has dug itself out of a huge hole under President Obama, it’s just hard to feel the progress because the hole we were in was that HUGE.

    • Tom

      It’s called two unfunded wars.

    • http://google tony

      Jeez … SO glad im not American , and have to listen to such bollocks !!!

    • KJ

      As a Christian though, I can only change myself to live by Christ honoring principles. I can not really be moved by what the “majority” does. For me, the social pressure I have is to be a Republican and give less. I definitely “bucking” the system by making a switch to the “other party”.

      If Christians treated their income as a gift from God and a grace filled aspect of their lives, they would live and give differently. I have been a generous person all of my life and have freely given to those in need…of course I have other sins, but the apathy or lack of generosity is not one of them I struggle with.

      I am honestly surprised that Democrats give less. That has not been my observation in my life. Typically it has been a Conservative Republican friend or neighbor that tries to convince me NOT to do more, which I assume to be ease of association guilt over doing nothing or the bare minimum “required”.

      I am a newly converted Democrat Christian as well. I was a moderate Republican for over 25 years and this past year had to look at what party I stood more in line with personally in my faith. That, right now is the Democrats.

    • Peggy

      Ms. Dollar beautifully supports my position, which is simply that I am a Baptist who is Democrat because I think that it is the American party that espouses positions that concord most nearly with the teachings and the actions of Jesus. I would offer one more biblical argument, Eric, for a “welfare” government: there are plenty of Scriptures in which the Biblical God demands social justice and benevolence of governments. Here are a couple from my bible study this week: Daniel 4:27 “Therefore, O King, . . .break off your sins by practicing righteousness and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your tranquility.”
      Micah 3:9ff-4:4 Hear this, you rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and pervert all equity . . .because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field. . . .But it shall come to pass . . .. that nations shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” But one more matter, Dave: it may be that those oppressed Democrats in red states contribute considerable to charitable causes. I know a fellow Baptist Democrat living in a red Southern state who annually donates about 30% of his income to benevolence.

    • Nunya

      Sure, whatever justifies your self serving world view.

  • Eric

    Dave: You’re cherry picking your statistics. Regarding food stamps; food stamp usage began rising in 2007, a year before the President took office, and rose steadily until 2010, at which point it started to fall slowly again. Politifact addresses this nicely here: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jan/17/newt-gingrich/newt-gingrich-says-more-people-have-been-put-food-/.

    Regarding charity: your logic is fallacious. According to you, Republicans are doing more for the poor than Democrats *because* Republicans aren’t saying anything about it. According to that logic, the person who’s never said anything about helping the poor at all is Mother Theresa. Your point about charitable giving is itself disingenuous. The primary source of your original article notes that if you exclude religious giving (much of which goes to support the infrastructure of church buildings and salaries of church builders), the Northeast and West Coast give the largest percentage of their incomes to charity (http://philanthropy.com/article/FaithGiving/133611/).

    Beyond that, though, the impetus is on you. Where are these great Republican social programs that are going to help pull the poor out of their poverty? Is cutting welfare, cutting food stamps, cutting social spending or cutting medicaid going to help people out of the hole of poverty? I think not. Consider that four of the five richest states in the nation are solidly democrat (Alaska is an outlier due to low population size and high oil incomes) and the five poorest states in the union are the staunchest Republican states (http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/09/24/the-5-richest-and-5-poorest-states-in-america/#photo-1) and we can conclude that Republican policies don’t just not help poor people, they actively create more poor people.

    • Dave

      > Dave: You’re cherry picking your statistics.

      No I’m not. There are lots of studies confirming that Republicans are donate more, volunteer more, and adopt more.

      > Regarding food stamps; food stamp usage began rising in 2007

      … the year the Democrats took control of the House and Senate …

      > and rose steadily until 2010, at which point it started to fall slowly a again.

      False.

      In January 2010, there were 39.43 million people on food stamps.
      In January 2011, there were 44.19 million people on food stamps.
      In January 2012, there were 46.45 million people on food stamps.
      In July 2012, there were 46.68 million people on food stamps.
      “Stimulus: Food stamp enrollment reaches all-time high”
      http://washingtonexaminer.com/stimulus-food-stamp-enrollment-reaches-all-time-high/article/2510898

      And thanks to the Obama administration, not only were 15 million people driven into poverty, but many of them will be getting a cut in their food stamp benefits.
      “One in Four Food Stamp Recipients See Fewer Dollars”
      http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/One-in-Four-Food-Stamp-Recipients-See-Fewer-Dollars-174474561.html

      • Eric

        Out of simple curiosity: who do you think sets food stamp benefits? (Hint: it’s the House of Representatives)

        • DaveP

          > Out of simple curiosity: who do you think sets food stamp benefits? (Hint: it’s the House of Representatives)

          No, it was the Senate.

          The Democrats in the Senate cut total funding for WIC, SNAP (food stamps), Child Nutrition, etc, but then gave Obama $85 million more in “discretionary funds” than he asked for, to give out as “loans and grants” for “renewable energy”, “business”, etc, to companies run by his wealthy campaign contributors. They kicked back some to fund Obama’s relection campaign, and then declared bankruptcy if they got a loan so that they wouldn’t have to pay it back.

          Here is a link to the Senate’s own press release from the Senate’s own website:

          “US Senate Committee on Appropriations”
          “Summary: FY 2011 Agriculture, FDA, and Rural Development Appropriations”
          http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news.cfm?method=news.view&id=da94ce97-8783-4c81-84a4-dc2f8fcf0452

          “This year’s bill spends less money than last year and is less than the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2011.”

          “The bill includes $2.768 billion in discretionary budget authority for rural development programs, which is a decrease of $168 million from the fiscal year 2010 enacted level and an increase of $85 million above the President’s request. Generally, the bill provides level funding for water and waste water, community facilities, business, renewable energy, and electric and telecommunications loans and grants.”

          • JasonH

            Hey, you’re both right and both wrong on who writes the budget. Both houses write a budget and then they reconcile the budgets in committee and present it to the President.

      • Barbara A.T. Wilson

        @Dave and others,
        Of course there are more people on food assistance (we don’t use food stamps anymore, btw, at least not in MI) because the economy was tanked by the previous administration. But at least there are programs like the Bridge Card available for people who’ve lost jobs and income. Charitible giving is the worse stop-gap measure. It is much more embarassing for my unemployed brother on disability and his wife, to go to the local church food pantry every week and beg from the same kind people week after week, than to simply go to the supermarket, Bridge Card in hand. Human dignity is important as food sometimes. And, no amount of personal charitible giving (and Romney’s btw, goes right back into his church, which has found a way to turn a profit from that) can solve the problems of poverty in America. “Charitable” giving is a panacea and ego-stroke for the givers who want control.

        • Lynn

          Just an FYI – The Bridge Card is “foodstamps” in Michigan. The money is funneled through the USDA, just like in other areas, though each State decides how to accomplish determining eligibility. Most States use the term SNAP, but the one thing they all have in common is that paper “foodstamp” coupons have been eliminated due to the prevalence of fraud and the undue burden on the end receiver to process them within the banking system. “Foodstamps” is an outdated term, but seems to be well entrenched in the social lexicon.
          Your argument is just and I’m sure your story is hard for your extended family, but they should feel no shame in using their Bridge Card. This is a very worthwhile program and you, as a tax payer, should be honored you can provide such a service to those in your community.

        • http://doppel-adler.com/ Kathleen Hively

          http://doppel-adler.com/
          Faith based charities actually do a better job in helping those in need. As a local church we know the families who are actually in need and those that have learned to “game the system.” And while it may not be popular to actually say aloud, learning how to “live on the dole” has become a way of life for far too many people. And a local church can weed them out. Our social workers spend more time teaching money saving techniques than handing out food and vouchers.

          • emily lawrence

            Local churches cannot “weed them out.” You sound like a concerned citizen and I believe you want to do the right thing, and I am sure you did not mean to sound as arrogant and unmerciful as you did.

      • Burr Corley

        Nope republicans just claim more of the charitable deduction on their taxes. Something that I never do even though I give to charity

      • http://None Randy

        You rock Dave!

      • mec

        Correct about Republicans being more generous with their own money than Democrats. The Democrats by contrast, while particularly generous on a personal level, actually do give more- the difference being that they donate Other People’s money instead of their own.
        In terms of Christianity, Republicans tend to believe in an anthropomorphic god who is generous on his good days and dangerous to know when upset. Democrats, to the extend that they believe in a diety at all, seem to regard him/her/it as a giant flabby and pretty much ineffectual cosmic muffin. The God of the Canibals is himself, a canabal.

      • emily lawrence

        Obama was stuck with a mess given to him by the Republican administration. Things were bad bad bad, and it is not going to get fixed over night. But we are heading in the right direction, and I sure am not going to hand it back over to the folks who got us into this mess in the first place!

    • Dave

      > According to you, Republicans are doing more for the poor than Democrats *because* Republicans aren’t saying anything about it.

      False. That’s not what I said. I did not say Republicans do more *because* they talk less. Republicans donate more, volunteer more, and adopt more because numerous studies show that they do.

      For example, when comparing equally-wealthy Democrats and Republicans, Democrats donate only about 1/2 as much to charity.
      “Democrats and Republicans — Rhetoric and Reality”, page 145
      http://books.google.com/books?id=wGtJ66o3EyIC&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=Democrats+Republicans+volunteerism&source=bl&ots=nIIYzhw9HU&sig=LEXE9eU4MK9YiavbPXftLAkCQ0w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=58N-UOLGIaL1iQKZ2oGwBw&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Democrats%20Republicans%20volunteerism&f=false
      “The amounts adjusted to equalize income (on the right side) show a disparity that is only partly reduced, with Democrats donating about 53 percent as much as Republicans.”

      • Mathew

        This man is right.

      • Mathew

        It’s not enough to say you’re going to support the democratic party because Christians can do so without being morally bankrupt. I agree! A Christian can vote for a democrat and do so wisely. But saying you should vote democrat simply on that basis is not enough. Dave is right in implying that voting for Obama this year would be a bad move.

        Personally, I don’t vote based on labels and people’s opinions of those labels. I vote solely based on what a candidate has DONE. Not what their political party has done, not what that candidate says they will do, not based on what the media says they will do, or what my friends and family believe the candidate or their party will do. I vote solely based on fact: what has this candidate (regardless of political association) done. It’s on that basis I’m not voting for Obama OR Romney.

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

          OK then. I’m voting for Obama because he got a universal healthcare bill passed, and in this piece, I made clear why I believe universal healthcare is something that a Christian ought to support.

          • Dave

            > I’m voting for Obama because he got a universal healthcare bill passed …

            It’s not a universal healthcare bill. It’s a universal health insurance bill. Since doctors/nurses/etc in the US are already overworked, and since the bill contained no provisions for decreasing that workload, it won’t provide any more healthcare than currently. It will just provide more money for health insurance companies.

            > … I believe universal healthcare is something that a Christian ought to support.

            Everyone believes that. I don’t know of anyone who thinks that children shouldn’t have broken legs fixed. And the US already has universal healthcare, in the sense that by law, emergency rooms cannot turn away anyone for treatment.

            So I’m not sure exactly sure what it is about the Democrat’s universal health insurance plan that you consider to be advantageous (unless, of course, you are a politician getting some healthy kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions, or you work for an insurance company and are getting a healthy raise in your paycheck, or you want to make yourself feel like you are helping the poor instead of actually helping the poor).

            For example, a much more sensible plan for universal healthcare is what we have here in Utah (a heavily Republican state). Instead of univeral health insurance, we have more like universal health payment plans. If you are uninsured here, every place we’ve taken our family for medical treatment has put us on a payment plan where we got to set our own monthly payments. For example, one of my sons broke his arm and we were kind of broke at the time, so we paid $30 a month for a couple of years, then payed it all off at once when we were in better financial shape.

          • Andy

            I am worried about the universal health care for many reasons, but one is that in many of the Presidents speeches he talked about some people will need to sacrifice. With a limit on the dollars spent for healthcare each year under the plan, I can see the elderly and the chronically sick getting the short end of the stick, due to running out of monies or caps on the amount spent per person. I am worried about this because it does happen in other countries with healthcare like ours will be. There will be panels to decide on who gets what care, and why would you spend the money on a person who is costing the system a lot of money over the person who is basically healthy. I think there would have been far better ways to insure the unisured than what we ended up with. After reading the bill I think people will be surprised at what we are in for.

          • Jackie

            @Dave: “…I don’t know of anyone who thinks that children shouldn’t have broken legs fixed. And the US already has universal healthcare, in the sense that by law, emergency rooms cannot turn away anyone for treatment…one of my sons broke his arm and we were kind of broke at the time, so we paid $30 a month for a couple of years…”
            The problem is not so much covering the hundreds of dollars for a one-time event like a broken limb. There is no emergency room in the world that will provide 6 months’ of chemo to a cancer patient (or even 1 treatment). And just $100,000 in medical bills (a very modest sum for a catastrophic condition) @ $30 a month would take a whopping 277 years to pay off.

          • Molly

            @Andy: you couldn’t have read the bill, actually. The bill *got rid of* lifetime annual caps. The group that was most worried about this was the parents of hemophiliac boys, who often max out their caps purely because of their genetic illness. There are no “panels” other than ones that research the most effective treatments. Don’t we want medicine to improve and get more effective?

            My daughter broke her elbow 6 weeks ago. We went to the ER, who diagnosed it, “stabilized it” by putting it in a temporary cast, and told us she needed surgery to put in pins. No way an ER could do that– she would have had to live the rest of her life with a nonfunctioning arm if you’re talking about ER care.

            Finally, remember that this plan was invented initially by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative thinktank. It is a conservative bill, advocating personal responsibility. My husband and I are entrepreneurs and have to buy high-priced individual health insurance. Under the old system, we could be dropped by our insurers at any time if we got too expensive (a process called “recission.”). We lived in terror that our daughter’s H1N1/pneumonia/bronchitis/asthma would mean that we would be dropped from having any health insurance. The insurance company does this because right now folks try to buy health insurance only when they get sick. How is this fair– that folks who don’t choose insurance mean that responsible people get insurance dropped, and that we have to pay higher prices for irresponsible people who go to the ER and expect us to pay for them?

          • http://psychmamma.wordpress.com PsychMamma

            Dave –
            You speak with the naiveté of someone who has never encountered serious medical issues in the United States. Our daughter was born with multiple serious medical conditions that required 3 months of stay, surgeries and procedures in the NICU. Her medical bill for the first THREE MONTHS of her life? Right around half a million dollars. If we had not had insurance, what do you think would have happened to us? Your $30/month payment plan doesn’t get anywhere very fast. Do some math and get a rough figure of what our OOP expense was, WITH INSURANCE, considering our deductible and 20% co-pay. Also keep in mind the plethora of charges that insurance just decided they wouldn’t cover due to “out of network providers” (a little surprise we learned when the anesthesiologist for a sugary was not in the same network as the hospital where the surgery was performed), or expenses that are “beyond reasonable & customary.” I can summarize for you: The result is STAGGERING. You have no idea what it is like until you have walked it or listened to enough stories like ours. Your lives become centered on medical procedures and the dollar signs surrounding them. Every month you have to wade through stacks of bills and insurance EOBs and try to make sense of the mess. You HATE the hesitation and feeling of dread you experience when a doctor or specialist tells you your child needs another test or procedure. You HATE thinking about dollar signs associated with care, because you want your child to have the best, but you don’t know where the money will come from. You are in ongoing fights with the insurance company over covering charges, and in the meantime, the providers turn you over to a collection agency, thereby knocking your credit rating down a few notches. EVERY. DAY. EVERY. MONTH. EVERY. WEEK. EVERY. YEAR. Can you imagine it? Because there are a LOT of people LIVING it.

            Our daughter is now 6, and her medical care is extensive and ongoing. Medical bills, WITH INSURANCE, continue to be staggering and depressing, and we are among the fortunate in this country who have health insurance coverage and enough income to barely scrape by for premium, deductible and co-pay expenses, not to mention all those expenses that insurance deems “out of network” or “beyond reasonable and customary charges” and decide not to pay. We fall right smack in the middle of what our culture fondly refers to as “middle class,” which means we don’t qualify for Medicaid based on our income. I have no idea what procedures or opportunities might not have been possible for our daughter if we weren’t insured, and my heart hurts for parents in that position. Our system is a mess.

            A huge, HUGE issue for our daughter is the fact that, without Obamacare, she would max out of our insurance policy before she even reaches high school. Then, guess what? No other insurance would cover her because she has “pre-existing conditions.” We would be able to sign her up with our state’s fund to cover uninsurable individuals, but those rates are astronomical and the coverage is paltry. Obamacare ensures that she can not “max out” of a policy, and she can’t be denied care due to a “pre-existing condition.” Those things alone make me jump for joy about Obamacare. It might not be perfect, but it’s a start, and it’s high time we started SOMEWHERE.

            Finally, I share all of this with the realization that we are among the fortunate. We know many, MANY situations with families of children requiring far more care and expense than our daughter. Several have no insurance. I can’t even imagine their stress & heartache.

            The idea that churches and charities will step up to help those in need is just ludicrous and not based in any sense of reality. THREE MONTHS of care for our ONE daughter cost half a million dollars. Do you think our church can foot that bill? We belong to a large church, so the odds say there will be SEVERAL cases like ours, some, even more severe. Elderly requiring multiple surgeries, cancer patients requiring extensive care, etc. There is NO WAY churches/charities can handle that burden, and they’re not. That’s why we needed Obamacare.

            If Obama had accomplished nothing else except Obamacare, I would vote for him, based solely on that one reason. Thankfully, I believe he has accomplished much more and I’m happily giving him my vote for many reasons, most of which align perfectly with what Ellen said above so wonderfully.

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

        Just a reminder, Dave, that this post was about what I see as appropriate, effective, and necessary government involvement in alleviating poverty; it was not about private charity. Private charity has a place in a civil society, and certainly in how individual Christians fulfill Christ’s mandate to care for the least of these. But I’m arguing that private charity, no matter how generous, is insufficient without an accompanying government infrastructure that brings about social change and fundamentally supports individuals who are struggling in one way or another. I’m talking about how our faith is reflected in how we vote, not how we give. The Republican position is consistent in saying that we do not have a communal obligation to care for those in our society who are struggling. The Democratic position understands that there is such a communal obligation, in part because private charity cannot overcome structural inequalities, lack of access, and other problems that exacerbate poverty. Tomorrow’s post will look more closely at how private charity and government assistance intersect, and how both are necessary to truly alleviate the suffering of those who are poor.

        • Dave

          > The Republican position is consistent in saying that we do not have a communal obligation to care for those in our society who are struggling. The Democratic position understands that there is such a communal obligation, in part because private charity cannot overcome structural inequalities, lack of access, and other problems that exacerbate poverty.

          I disagree.

          To start, think carefully about what “poverty” means.

          By government standards, “poverty” has always been defined to be roughly the bottom 15% in terms of income. Since the “poverty” level became a popular measure in the 1960′s, “poverty” has been redefined several times, with the result that it ends up being roughly 15%.

          So can you ever eliminate “poverty”?

          Nope! There will always be a bottom 15%. Or, as Jesus said: “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” Mat 26:11

          So given that you cannot eliminate “poverty”, what can you do to help the bottom 15%?

          One answer: since the bottom 15% are more likely to have kids, and less likely to have money, give them money for their kids.

          And that’s what the Republicans (and NOT the Democrats) did.

          The child tax credit was proposed and passed by the Republican House and Senate in 1997.

          And to end the recession that Bush inherited from Clinton in 2001, the Republicans sent a “stimulus” payment to every taxpayer — so that people below the “poverty” line got direct stimulus payments.

          The Democrats, on the other hand, sent “stimulus” payments to wealthy people — a $8,000 home-buying stimulus, an $8,000 new-car-buying stimulus, $90 billion green-energy-stimulus to wealthy campaign contributors, etc.

          So when make broad statements about Republican vs. Democratic positions on “poverty”, you might want to think about what “poverty” means, what “poor” people need, and which party has the positions that most actually help “poor” people, as opposed to helping people who say they want to help “poor” people (such as insurance companies).

          • Random Enigma

            Bush inherited a recession from Clinton? Um, I was working and investing at that time. There was no recession until after 9/11 happened. The economy was just fine when Bush took over the reigns from Clinton.

          • JasonH

            >By government standards, “poverty” has always been defined to be roughly the bottom 15% in terms of income. Since the “poverty” level became a popular measure in the 1960′s, “poverty” has been redefined several times, with the result that it ends up being roughly 15%.

            http://www.census.gov/hhes/povmeas/publications/orshansky.html

            You’re wrong about the government’s definition of poverty. It is based on the cost of basic needs, not 15% of the population.

            >The president is the leader, not congress. Good presidents provide the leadership that fosters bipartisanship, bad presidents don’t.
            >The child tax credit was proposed and passed by the Republican House and Senate in 1997.
            >And to end the recession that Bush inherited from Clinton in 2001,.
            > Regarding food stamps; food stamp usage began rising in 2007 (you quoting someone)
            … the year the Democrats took control of the House and Senate …(your response)

            In your arguments you often blame/give credit to congress or the President based on how it suits your narrative – like how Clinton passed the recession to Bush…but you didn’t Gingrich has been speaker since 1995 since it didn’t fit your story of blame the Democrats. So following your own logic, the President should always take blame or be given credit. I’ll let you off the hook on this one since the congress consists of 535 elected officials with their own agenda (like making this President a one-term President) and the President cannot unilaterally create bipartisanship – you know like agreeing to entitlement reforms in exchange for ending the Bush Tax Cuts (or should it be called the Hassert tax cuts, I guess it doesn’t matter since they’re both Republicans) but then facing opposition that refuses to consider tax cuts because they signed a little pledge to the cookie monster (or some other Sesame St character they want to cut funding for).

            >the Republicans sent a “stimulus” payment to every taxpayer — so that people below the “poverty” line got direct stimulus payments.

            http://articles.cnn.com/2001-06-07/politics/tax.primer_1_tax-rebate-rebate-check-taxable-income?_s=PM:ALLPOLITICS

            You’re wrong about that, too.

            http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2001/10/09taxes-gale

            The “stimulus” you are talking about was nothing more than a way to get tax cuts that largely benefitted the rich.

          • Molly

            Dave, since the 1960s, the U.S. government has based poverty on an absolute scale, not a relative scale. It’s based on an assessment of the basics necessary to survive, not a cutoff of 15%.

          • DaveP

            > Dave, since the 1960s, the U.S. government has based poverty on an absolute scale, not a relative scale. It’s based on an assessment of the basics necessary to survive, not a cutoff of 15%.

            That’s sort-of true, except that the government keep readjusting the absolute scale so that the result is that the poverty level always hovers around 15%. The government has to keep readjusting the absolute scale because ideas about what constitutes “basics” changes, and because some of the brands of products in the basket of “basics” no longer exist.

            Here is a graph of the poverty level since the 1960′s:
            http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2010/09/us-poverty-rate-1959-to-2009.html

            The highest it ever was about 22% in 1959 (when it started, before they readjusted it), the lowest was about 11%, and since 1965 it has hovered roughly between 12% and 15% due to the readjustments.

          • Rob

            Dave, you cannot be credible if you truly believe Bush inherited a recession from Clinton. No Republican would ever agree with you on that issue (maybe teaparty loonies). It’s just not true. And, I received that tax credit from Bush. It came to a whopping $300. Would the poor rather have Healthcare or 300 bucks? And who passed Healthcare, Dave? See, Democrats do care more.

          • DaveP

            > It came to a whopping $300. Would the poor rather have Healthcare or 300 bucks?

            Most poor people are young and healthy. So they’d rather have the $300 bucks. Or in my case, since I was poor in 2001, I greatly appreciated the $600 that families got, since that covered clothing, supplies, etc, for back-to-school.

            $600 in their own pocket is worth far more to poor people than $600 in the health insurance industry’s pocket.

            > Dave, you cannot be credible if you truly believe Bush inherited a recession from Clinton.

            “Early 2000s recession”
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_2000s_recession

            “The actual burst of the stock market bubble occurred in the form of the NASDAQ crash in March 2000. Growth in gross domestic product slowed considerably in the third quarter of 2000 to the lowest rate since a contraction in the first quarter of 1991.”

          • thomas rychener

            those of you who think bush did not inherit a recession from clinton were not paying attention back then. ask any over the road long haul trucker. we all knew 5 yrs before bush we were in a stagnant economy headin for a recession and we always are the 1st to see a downturn and for sure the 1st to feel it.after 45 yrs on these highways i’ve seen a few recessions. anybody remember 1978 & 1979. if not you weren’t paying attention then either only to your own pocket book. lets be a little more informed before you continue this love affair with a socialist president who leading us down a recessionery path

          • Mack K

            “Most poor people are young and healthy.”
            Where do you get this belief from? I’ve lived my entire life in poverty, I was born to it and I’m still working my way out of it (thankfully, there are programs available that enable me to go to college), and I’ve never seen this to be the case.
            Most poor people that I know, which is nearly everyone that I know, are not ‘young and healthy.’ For one, they are of all ages, old, middle aged, and young. Which, of course, makes sense, seeing as families tend to include two or three generations, and not just the youngest generation. And for two, most of them aren’t healthy. A lot of them have health problems that they can’t afford to get fixed. And of those that do have health problems, most are denied insurance because they have a ‘pre-existing condition.’ One girl, who I’ve been friends with since high school, suffers from seizures regularly. She can’t afford the prescriptions, so she has to worry about if/when she’ll have a seizure, she can’t afford hospital visits, and she can’t get insurance. On top of all that, her and her husband are raising their first born child while trying to keep her condition handled. I know of another woman, about 50 years old, who lives in poverty and suffers Hep-C, her four children (now grown) also live in poverty because, despite their efforts, are unable to lift themselves out. A few of her children also have health problems.
            Long story short, I don’t know where you got the idea that ‘most poor people are young and healthy,’ but it’s wrong. You can throw ‘studies’ at that all you want, but it won’t change what I’ve witnessed with my own eyes over the past two decades.

      • Eric

        >> According to you, Republicans are doing more for the poor than Democrats *because* Republicans aren’t saying anything about it.

        >False. That’s not what I said. I did not say Republicans do more *because* they talk less.

        These two statements are equivalent.

        • DaveP

          > These two statements are equivalent.

          No they’re not. Read them carefully. Just because people talk less doesn’t mean they give more to charity. However, it turns out that not only do Republicans give more to charity than Democrats (among equally wealthy Democrats and Republicans, Republicans donate about twice as much), but Republicans are also less likely to talk about it, as Jesus said: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do …” Matt 6:2

        • Carole Townsend

          I’ve studied American History extensively, but can’t say if there has ever been a Hitleresque US , in terms of his ability or propensity to destroy democracy. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but Nixon and Bush #2 came closest). I doubt, in spite of all the rantings, that another term for President Obama will destroy the country. Here’s a random, fiscally conservative discussion point. Once we’ve elected a President, we need to go on ahead and allow him or her to serve as long as is legally possible. As reported by CNBC on Oct 17th (information that is available publicly from a number of government and private sources), currently living, past presidents are costing us about $3 million annually. President Obama is a young man. His pension and Secret Service entourage will add significantly to that, for quite some time. Now I know some will say $3 million is a drop in the bucket. That kind of thinking is what gets us in trouble. If every $3 million-a year boondoggle was discontinued, we could pay for many of the things most of us believe are important.

          • Rob

            Presidents only recieve that Secret Service protection for 10 years, paid by taxpayers. It is NOT lifetime.

          • Braxton

            Rob is only partially correct. According to the Secret Service website the protection detail was changed to 10 years for any presidential term after 1997. So starting with Bush 2 all presidents will only have protection for 10 years.

      • Peter

        Keep in mind that “giving to charity” also includes donating to build a brand-new gymnasium at one’s church. Don’t assume that it means Repubs donate more for causes for the poor than Dems.

      • Joel kretzmann

        @Dave Not all giving is quantified. I am sure my Republican brother deduces his giving & my Democratic brother may not bother, though he less liking to call it a loan.

  • Dave

    > Consider that four of the five richest states in the nation are solidly democrat (Alaska is an outlier due to low population size and high oil incomes) and the five poorest states in the union are the staunchest Republican states (http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/09/24/the-5-richest-and-5-poorest-states-in-america/#photo-1) and we can conclude that Republican policies don’t just not help poor people, they actively create more poor people.

    Who is this “we” you refer to as agreeing with your erroneous conclusion? That simply shows that the poorest states in the country are Republicans while the richest are Democrats — like the early Christians were the poor people and the Roman oppressors were the richest.

    • Eric

      CNN (http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/22/what-does-it-say-that-most-of-the-10-poorest-states-are-republican/)? Forbes? The WSJ? Statistics don’t lie; the lowest per-capita incomes in the country are in the incredibly poor South. Maybe you’re right. Maybe the terrible, evil liberals are keeping all those Good Christian Conservatives in the South down like the Romans did to the Jews (out of curiosity, you’re not from south of the Mason-Dixon line, are you?), or maybe we can draw some actual conclusions from the fact that the states with the highest poverty levels are the ones with the lowest taxes, worst worker’s rights and most permissive corporate laws.

      It wouldn’t be hard to create a fiscal policy where everyone worked for WalMart and got paid $7.50/hour, but that’s not exactly the kind of future we want to build our country on. Wage slavery is not a positive thing.

      • DaveP

        > It wouldn’t be hard to create a fiscal policy where everyone worked for WalMart and got paid $7.50/hour

        Obama and the Democrats must be incompetent then, because all they’ve been able to do is create a fiscal policy where 23 million people are working for $0.00/hour, while draining money away from hungry children on food stamps, and giving $10′s of billions to wealthy Democratic campaign contributors.

    • Nick

      Consider the measure of income inequality, and compare these data to states’ electoral tendencies. When you figure out states with already low median incomes (like Mississippi and Alabama), it appears that the bluest states are the ones with the biggest disparities (New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, etc.). http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acsbr11-02.pdf

      How does that jive with your assumptions? In states like California, where there is even more money spread across the top (>7% households earning >$200k.yr), wouldn’t it be an abomination to have more than 10% living below the poverty line? Or, in Massachusetts (9% earn more than $200k, yet 12% live below the poverty line)? The wealthy blue states stay wealthy because they keep their money concentrated at the top and only give a government pittance to the poor. Republican policies have failed the poor, but Democratic policies have failed everyone except for the well-connected.

    • Joel kretzmann

      @Rich : Or the rich in the poor state exploit their poor is more possible. And the poor states then exploit the rich states.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    “theological conservatism and political conservatism are two different things”

    Good point, Ellen. I often have to explain the same type of difference between judicial liberalism or conservatism and political/social liberalism or conservatism. Thanks for clearly – and irenically! – laying out the issues here for us.

    Tim

  • Frank

    How do you justify voting for a party that has abortion on demand in its platform?

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

      I am pro-choice, so that’s not a particular problem for me. “Pro-choice Christian,” like “Christian Democrat” is another phrase that many people falsely believe is an oxymoron. It’s not. I’m not getting into why I’m pro-choice here, because that’s not the point of this post and abortion politics have a way of hijacking conversations. I have written extensively elsewhere about my position on abortion.

      That said, I have many friends who are devoted Christians, who identify as pro-life, and who vote Democratic for largely the same reasons that I do—the Democratic attitude and platform regarding the poor. They say that because their main concern as pro-lifers is to reduce the number of abortions (a goal I share), rather than criminalize those who obtain them, it makes sense to support candidates with the strongest anti-poverty platform. A majority of women who obtain abortions cite economic pressures as a central reason for doing so. Programs that alleviate those pressures by providing a social safety net to our most vulnerable citizens (that is, programs that ensure that low-income mothers can obtain quality, low-cost or free health care, take paid maternity leave, find decent housing and child care, receive food stamps to feed their growing families, etc.) are likely to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. As a pro-life, Democrat-supporting friend wrote to me this morning in response to this post, “we know that most women who have abortions already have a living child and that they cite financial pressures as the reason they chose to terminate their pregnancy. Providing a base level of support, medical care, and good public schools for the poor isn’t just a nice idea, it one of the most direct, abortion-reducing acts a person can do in contemporary society.”

      • Jenni

        Poland’s first democratically elected government after Communism banned abortion, even though something like 1 million people protested against the decision (the Parliament was alarmingly male-dominated). Since then, the number of abortions has risen, not fallen. People chose abortion because of the huge economic problems and unemployment rates of the 1990s. They received no aftercare, and often fell victim to pro-life groups who enticed women seeking abortion in order to try to bully them out of their decision. I’m a Christian and I identify as pro-choice because it’s impossible to stop abortion from happening, but possible to reduce the number of women dying in the process. However, what I’d really like to see is an end to the stigma against single mothers, and more financial and practical support for pregnant women. I never knew a woman who aborted because she didn’t want to have a baby; I knew plenty who were forced into the ‘decision’ by practical circumstances, often involving money. That’s not choice. It angers me that so many of those who wish to prevent abortion also wish to remove the safety net from poor parents.

    • Gary

      Frank,
      How do you justify voting for a party that supports war spending? Neither the Democratic nor Republican parties have a lock on a Christian ethic. The function of the government, to restrain evil and to keep good order, must be kept in mind here. The government is not about being Christian, but about protecting the weak. And the truth is, the women who seek abortions do it out of desperation and weakness (a generalization, admittedly, but it is 100% true in my limited experience).

      • Frank

        There is no one weaker than an unborn child.

        • http://None Randy

          Well said Frank.

        • Kate

          No one has a right to use another person’s body, even if that use is the difference between life and death.

          I also do not believe that it’s anything approaching coincidental that the vast majority of people who support restricting or eliminating safe and legal abortions are people who will never need to have one.

  • Dave

    LOL! All of the commenters so far are guys.

    By the way Ellen, I’m really enjoying your book, both for your personal story and for the logic/reasoning behind your positions and decisions. According to the Kindle-meter, I’m about 15% of the way through.

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

      Thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying the book.

  • Jane

    I’m astonished and sickened at the intellectual gymnastics performed by those in the comments here to justify their basic inhumanity and to argue against the writer’s eloquent proclamation of the Gospel. What would Jesus think?

    • Frank

      Jesus would wonder why someone who claims to be His follower is not primarily concerned about the ultimate “least of these” being killed at a rate of over 6000 a week.

      Jesus would have a parable illustrating that all this elevation of justice and compassion over the poor while ignoring His little children is hypocritical and severely misguided and selfish.

    • Dave

      > What would Jesus think?

      I think Jesus might look at the poor people today and ask:

      Do they need food? No, there is an epidemic of obesity among the poor.

      Do they need clothing? No, free clothing is available at lots of donation centers.

      Do they need shelter? No, there are shelters of many kinds available.

      Do they need health care? No, emergency rooms provide health care to all who enter.

      Do they need jobs? Yes.

      Were Obama and the Democrats successful at supplying jobs?

      No, they failed.

      So Jesus would vote for Romney.

      • Dave

        The Democrats failed because of these reasons: “We are determined to make Obama a one term president”, “I hope that he fails!”, “We will block all things (even if a Republican idea) if they are supported by this president!”…and the corporate giants and Wall-street Welfare Queens and Kings were equally in on this. I find the Neo-Cons who run the Republican party today mainly lining up in their theological thinking with Herod the Great.

        • Dave

          Hey cool! I’ve got a pet troll who’s also using the name Dave.

          Tomorrow I’ll figure out how to set up a unique name for myself (I’m the Dave who posted most of the Dave comments on this page).

          But, Troll Dave does make a good point: another reason Obama and the Democrats failed is because they were unable to convince people to work with them in a bi-partisan manner. That’s the hallmark of true leadership, like how Romney got the Democrats in Massachusetts to work with him in a bi-partisan manner.

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

            You amuse me Dave. However, please don’t call “other Dave” a troll just because he has a different opinion. And I think both parties are equally to blame for the lack of bipartisanship.

          • DaveP

            I think I’ve set up a unique name for myself, DaveP.

            > And I think both parties are equally to blame for the lack of bipartisanship.

            The president is the leader, not congress. Good presidents provide the leadership that fosters bipartisanship, bad presidents don’t.

          • DaveP

            > I think I’ve set up a unique name for myself, DaveP.

            Nope, fail sauce. My name is still appearing in black instead of blue. Oh well, I’ll try again another day.

          • Dave?

            Dave, Given the basic subject of the thread I believe you are the troll.

          • Lgrant

            Romney worked so well with the Democrat’s in Mass. he vetoed over 800 bills sent to him. Tell me again how well he worked with the Dems?

          • DaveP

            > Romney worked so well with the Democrat’s in Mass. he vetoed over 800 bills sent to him.

            That’s exactly what the Dems wanted. They could vote for any crazy bill that their constituents asked for — “Free Food For Everyone — No Pay For Greedy Farmers!” — knowing that Romney would veto it and they could then blame Romney.

            Since the Democrats had a supermajority in the Massachusetts legislature, they could always override any Romney veto that they wanted to.

            So why didn’t they?

            > Tell me again how well he worked with the Dems?

            He was elected in heavily Democratic Massaschusetts, and he would veto the bills that the Democrats wanted him to.

          • http://members.wap.org/kevin.parker/ Kevin

            >Since the Democrats had a supermajority in the Massachusetts legislature, they could always override any Romney veto that they wanted to.

            >So why didn’t they?

            Romney exercised his veto power 844 times. The legislature overrode his veto 707 times.

            You really don’t know a whole lot about what you’re talking about, do you?

          • Kate

            850 vetoes, 707 of which were overridden, is not bipartisanship. The only difference between Mittens and Tim Pawlenty is that Pawlenty never had a DFL supermajority that could override his vetoes on a consistent basis.

      • Bloke

        You can get chemotherapy in an emergency room now?

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

          Very nicely done.

          Dave, the emergency room thing is ridiculous. C’mon. For example, I am an expert in broken bones, and yes, you can get a broken bone fixed at the ER. But you can’t get the PT you need after a severe break to resume functioning well. You can’t get your child with repeated fractures diagnosed with OI and treated with bisphosphonate medications. Health (in medical terms and in God’s terms) is about much more than fixing the occasional injury or illness. Emergency rooms are useless for helping people get and stay healthy. (Remember, even when Jesus healed, he was never ONLY about fixing that particular problem in an isolated way.)

          • DaveP

            > You can get chemotherapy in an emergency room now?

            Lack of chemotherapy is not a major problem facing poor people today. It’s lack of jobs — which the Democrats have failed at.

            And since the Democrat’s health insurance bill didn’t provide for any extra care providers — who are already overworked — there won’t be any more chemotherapy provided.

          • DaveP

            > Dave, the emergency room thing is ridiculous. C’mon.

            Have you ever been poor? I have. The emergency room is a godsend. And the payment plans tailored to income make it not too big of a burden to pay off.

            Handy emergency room trick: if you want to get you or your child moved to the front of the line, throw up. :)

            > For example, I am an expert in broken bones, and yes, you can get a broken bone fixed at the ER. But you can’t get the PT you need after a severe break to resume functioning well. You can’t get your child with repeated fractures diagnosed with OI and treated with bisphosphonate medications.

            Then surely you know that Shriners Hospitals will provide free medical treatment, including free follow up treatments, for any child who needs them? Free as in no payment, even if you can afford it? As will many other hospitals.

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

          I do indeed know about the Shriners. My daughter goes to the one in Springfield Mass and they are a godsend. However, not every child lives within reasonable distance of a Shriners, and Shriners Hospitals are generally quite small, able to treat a relatively small number of patients. They are certainly not the answer for children living without health insurance. And this Shriners in particular does a great job when it comes to my daughter’s medication, but a terrible one when it comes to fracture treatment. My daughter and I both have teams of doctors, of different specialties, to manage our bone disorder. We have great health insurance to cover it. I think every family deserves the quality care that we get.

          • Lynn

            Dave – you’re part of the reason why, when you have a true emergency you still have to wait for hours in the ER. Broken bones after hours, yes ER. However, look around the ER. Most of the people don’t have broken bones. They’re there for things that they’d be going to a Dr. for if they had health insurance (like throwing up). You know what else? I’m paying for your “payment plan” in the form of higher insurance premiums. Those of us who have insurance have been paying for those of you who don’t for years. It’s just like the uninsured/underinsured coverage I have to pay on my car insurance. Personally, I have a hereditary disease. I eat a very restrictive diet and exercise to try to mitigate the risks of the disease. However, I was turned down for disability insurance because of it. If I were to lose my job, without the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d have a heck of a time getting health insurance on my own, if I could even afford it. I really have a hard time understanding why the party of “personal responsibility” does not want to take personal responsibility for health care.

        • Steve

          DaveP,

          Fostering bipartisanship does require a willingness of both parties to actually work with each other. If one party categorically refuses to compromise, bipartisanship is not possible. The Republicans made abundantly clear even before Obama took office that they had no interest in bipartisanship or cooperation, and have made numerous statements and taken numerous actions in that regard since then (most glaringly, turning Obamacare into a “socialist-communist-fascist, death-panels-for-grandma horror story, when in fact 99% of Obamacare is identical to Romneycare and most of its tenets were originally conceived by conservatives. And then there was the whole debt ceiling fiasco.)

          • DaveP

            > The Republicans made abundantly clear even before Obama took office that they had no interest in bipartisanship or cooperation …

            Yep. When the Democrats controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, and could pass any bill that they wanted to, it was the Republicans’ fault that nothing got done.

            And it’s the Republicans’ fault that the Democrats gave $10′s of billions to their wealthy campaign contributors in the form of “green energy” loans and grants.

            And it’s the Republicans’ fault that Obama gave billions of $ directly from his discretionary funds to those same wealthy campaign contributors.

            And it’s the Republican’s fault that the number of people on SNAP (food stamps) has skyrocketed from 32 million to 47 million under Obama. Although that number did start to level off after the Republicans at least won back control of the House.

      • Amy

        Dave says, among many other silly things….
        > I think Jesus might look at the poor people today and ask:
        > Do they need food? No, there is an epidemic of obesity among the poor.

        Because mac and cheese can be bought for 10 cents a box and fresh fruit and vegetables are much more expensive. Poor people need HEALTHY food.

        > Do they need clothing? No, free clothing is available at lots of donation centers.

        And if this is true and actually available to them, they know this how?

        > Do they need shelter? No, there are shelters of many kinds available.

        I have a friend with 4 children, beaten by her boyfriend, who was not allowed into her local shelter because she has a 14 year old boy. When she took the boy home the boyfriend hit the 14 year old.

        > Do they need health care? No, emergency rooms provide health care to all who enter.

        That’s a fallacy. ERs are not required to provide healthcare unless it’s emergent. They are absolutely not required to provide cancer care, preventative care, etc.

        > Do they need jobs? Yes.
        > Were Obama and the Democrats successful at supplying jobs?
        > No, they failed.

        Obstructionist Congress. The most recent being the veterans bill: http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/09/23/senate-gop-obstructionists-throw-veterans-under-the-bus-vote-down-bill-to-help-vets-in-need-of-jobs/

        > So Jesus would vote for Romney.

        Jesus was a hippie Jew. Hippie Jews would never vote for a man who thinks corporations are people.

        Your arguments are straw men, at best.

      • JasonH

        http://www.umd.umich.edu/fullstory/article/Obesity_among_poor_Americans/
        > Do they need food? No, there is an epidemic of obesity among the poor.

        You missed the mark on this one, too.

        • JasonH

          “Some people wonder whether Medicaid coverage has any effect. The study findings make clear that it does. People reported that their physical and mental health were substantially better after a year of insurance coverage, and they were much less likely to have to borrow money or go into debt to pay for their care,” said Amy Finkelstein, professor of economics at MIT and co-principal investigator of the study.

          http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/2011-releases/medicaid-benefits-oregon-study.html

          People with government supplied medical coverage described themselves as being better off physically and mentally than those with no coverage.
          Seems like a pretty convincing argument that providing this coverage comforts the needy. I think the Bible tells us that is the right thing.

      • Kheris

        Dave said

        “Do they need food? No, there is an epidemic of obesity among the poor.

        Do they need clothing? No, free clothing is available at lots of donation centers.

        Do they need shelter? No, there are shelters of many kinds available.

        Do they need health care? No, emergency rooms provide health care to all who enter.”

        I’ll pass this on to the members of my family who are not fat, don’t always have consistent shelter, lack medical care (ERs are for emergencies not screening mammograms), and are undeniably poor even though employed. Low wage jobs are like that. They’ll be thrilled to know about what they have been missing.

      • Mirsh

        Emergency room is NOT healthcare….. let’s repeat that again… Emergency room is NOT healthcare.

        As has been stated already in this thread, emergency rooms are for emergencies. That is not healthcare. Healthcare is having a doctor. It’s having a place to go when you get bronchitis and get medicine BEFORE it turns to pneumonia and you’re in the Emergency Room and needing a hospital stay. Healthcare is having the ability to get treatments should a person get cancer.

        Besides, emergency room procedures can bankrupt a family…. nearly ANY family. They can accumulate thousands of dollars quickly and easily and be left w/ staggering medical bills that financially ruin them… Saying that the poor have healthcare, it’s the emergency room, shows a severe lack of knowledge about what healthcare is and how the medical industry works.

        One more time…. Emergency room is NOT healthcare.

        • Kate

          Emergency rooms are also bankrupting hospitals – because of the unfunded federal mandate that emergency rooms treat all patients regardless of ability to pay, hospitals are closing their emergency departments to avoid going into bankruptcy because of having to perform so many unpaid services.

      • CMA

        Whenever someone says that there are shelters for those who are homeless, I always think of what Ebenezer Scrooge says in The Christmas Carol, there are various versions, but something along the lines of, “My taxes go to pay for the poor houses, the poor can go there.” It’s the same frustration I have when friends say that if someone wants to have health insurance, they should “just get a job.” Great article Ellen, I loved what you said about helping others and I love that you are also pro-choice. I know you don’t want to get into abortion politics, but I loved your comment on that. The two parties can always come together and find some common ground, and if they did they might find that what they want is essentially the same thing. Building off that idea, it would be nice if people that commented on blogs would also realize that there can be compassion, empathy and cooperation amongst both “sides.”

      • http://http://doppel-adler.com/ Kathleen Hively

        Amen Amen to that

      • http://roadrunner Richard Faubert

        I am 70 years old my wife is 62 she has no insurance, yes I have some clothes to whear, I have food on the table and a roof over my head. Under the republican We almost lost all of the above, for we are below poverty level and we get help by people who care ah they are mixed republican and democrats I just had and operation,and now rehab, my wife needs operation but can not get one she has fibermyalger aBtrial fiberlation and her foot is bone on bone no ankle no one will help her in the Med field but on O’Bamas plan she will get help Mitt lies the legislature made Massachusetts not hime he vetoed all the bill except one the insurance he signed it saying his veto would have gotten over ridden anyway

      • Kristy

        “Do they need health care? No, emergency rooms provide health care to all who enter.”

        Do you realize that hospitals are being crippled by the costs of providing “free” care? Go look up hospitals that have closed down their ERs. Have you seen what kind of issues people come into the ERs with? Colds, flu, sprains, etc that could be seen by a doctor. ERs are swamped by people without coverage, and people with insurance are paying for it through increased costs. And if you don’t know it yet, the ERs will go after people who can’t pay their bills. Look up people who have been chased by debt collectors just for going to an ER. Additionally, ER is the place to stabilize emergencies, not treat minor conditions.

        As for shelters, well, why do we have people living under bridges, in the streets and alleys, and people living in deplorable housing?

        Free clothing? The clothes closet project in this town out in the middle of nowhere puts price tags on the clothing, and much of the donated clothes do have visible signs of being worn. I guess you have no issues with poor people being dressed to look like, well, poor people.

        Obesity epidemic among the poor people can easily be correlated to the fact that cheap food is junk food while good food is expensive. One big bottle of soda can be $1 while a gallon of milk is $3-5. A package of ramen noodles can be had for 50 cents while a salad is $3, or more depending on the fixings. Look through the food coupons in your local paper. What percent of these coupons are for junk food and what percent is for good food?

  • http://morganguyton.wordpress.com Morgan Guyton

    Thanks very much for sharing your perspective, Ellen. I think the reason I tend to vote Democrat is because I hate fundamentalists but I’m really an independent who is socially conservative and economically progressive because I actually read my Bible unlike a lot of Christians who say that they’re “Biblical.” I’ve written several pieces related to this topic.

    I talked about the way that Sister Simone Campbell is one of the best witnesses for the pro-life movement precisely because she has refused to make it a partisan issue. If the pro-life movement ever wins, it will be because people like Sister Simone engaged Democrats by supporting other causes that Democrats support and marching with them rather than trying to demonize them and win 53% of the vote. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morgan-guyton/sister-simone-pro-life-movements-best-witness_b_1959681.html

    Then I also wrote about the way that our capitalist society confuses entrepreneurship which is Biblically supportable with money-changing which is not: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morgan-guyton/theology-of-capitalism-entrepreneurs-and-money-changers_b_1930772.html

  • mary

    There is a Man in my life that gets into my business and only when I ask Him. He knocked on the door of my heart and I invited Him in. He guide’s my decision’s and I will trust His direction’s for my VOTE
    I will be smart and educate myself but really …This Man died for The incoming President so ask Him and follow His way’s…… what is funny is people all around the world vote differently and believe they hear it from the same Man……maybe yes maybe no…..GOD is funny that is all I know.

  • http://hubcityprogressive.com Michael

    This is an awesome post. Living in Texas, I get a lot of blowback for being a Democrat and a Christian. So, this certainly resonates with me. But honestly, I believe that Christianity on the right has been compromised anyways. They try to accomodate Ayn Rand Objectivism with Christian principles, and it doesn’t work. For one thing, Rand was an atheist. I cover a lot of this on my own blog.

    http://www.hubcityprogressive.com/?p=2656

  • Denise

    Thank you for this Ellen. Very, very nicely put. I thank God for people like you in this world. Please think of me whenever you are discouraged – because just speaking about these kinds of things gives great hope to many.

  • T.J.

    Thank you for writing this. It really spoke to me.

  • Amber
  • Amber

    I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your article. I have been saying for some time that Jesus told us to love God and to love others as ourselves. He didn’t run around trying to force folks to obey Him. He gave us all free will to choose what path we will take.

  • SB

    The idea that Republicans do more for the poor than Democrats is ludicrous. Republicans have been behind the curve on every social safety net program ever developed. If their intent had been followed we wouldn’t be arguing about food stamps because there would be no food stamps at all, no social security, no medicaid, or any assistance of any kind. It may be hard to believe, but once upon a time the mentally ill could live on the government’s dime in institutions. Reagan came along and closed the institutions and the mentally ill now live, all too often, on the street. This isn’t too surprising, as few with serious mental illness can hold a job that would provide them with benefits, and mental health care is expensive. No, it isn’t a matter of the Republicans doing their wonderful work in private, it’s Republicans doing as little as possible.

  • Kathryn Lee

    I have to say, all this talk about the Republicans understand poverty better than the Democrats is bringing back nightmares of the evening my husband invited a man from his church to our home for supper, and this man proceeded to verbally attack me for saying I was a Democrat and a Christian. He told me the Bible supports the idea of a free market and said it also promotes the “You’re on your own” teachings of the extreme right wing of the Republican party. He didn’t have any scripture to back up what he said. He just believed each person should take care of themselves and not rely on the government to take care of them. Funny, but this man is on Social Security Disability but he slips in and does some work on the side and doesn’t turn it in to the SS administration. I was waiting for him to start complaining about all the fraud in government programs, but he changed the subject to guns and how it was our “God given right to carry guns”. Don’t remember seeing that in the Bible either. Finally, I threw the man out of my house for dishonoring my hospitality and insulting my faith and my God. He needed to go home to take care of his family anyway. I think his wife had to go to work or something after she fed the baby. I feel sorry for him and his whole family, but he is just wrong. Don’t quote me stats from the internet or Fox News. Show me the Bible, show me God’s words. Show me where He says, “You are too fat, so you can’t be poor”. (Evidently some people are unaware that the food poor families have to eat is full of fat and sugar because that is the only food they can afford. I can afford fresh veggies and fruits everyday, but they can’t.) Don’t use just your brain to think—–use your heart, too. Thank you, Ellen for this article. I really enjoyed it and feel much the same way. All that followed your article was merely someone trying to justify being cruel to the less fortunate.

    • TLP

      Amen!

    • http://None Jim Stovall

      Two republicans were talking about how zealous they were, so excited that they might win the election and give humpteen more trilion dollars to the military industrial complex. A Democrat wandered by and asked “what might we do with the poor and the sick?” Answer, “Of course, we’ll keep them in the ghetto and gun point!’

  • Ted Newcomb

    Thank you for so clearly stating what I and many others believe. And to believe this doesn’t imply that we always get it right or that others need to follow in lock step. Very much appreciate your thoughtful insights. Blessings!

  • Robin Salvadori Allison

    I loved the comment about Bush’s payments to “the poor” as stimulus. I lived in a household with a single mom with little income, a single woman with a reasonable income, and my husband and I with an eh income. Above poverty level, but not by a whole lot. The payments were on some arcane formula, and of the $600 hubby and I could have gotten, we got $300- we didn’t make enough to get the full amount. The single woman got $300. The mom? Zero. She hadn’t earned enough. But the incredibly wealthy got thousands in tax breaks to “create jobs”, which they didn’t.
    You can claim all you like that the democrats haven’t created jobs. But under this president, more jobs have been created than during all of Bush’s administration, even if you subtract the ones he shed those last 6 months before Obama took office. Close to 2% of our unemployment rate is due to the feds and states shedding government jobs. Look at what Bush and Reagan did during their recessions (oh, and the downturn Bush “inherited” wasn’t by definition an actual recession.). Government jobs rose during those downturns.
    The recession began in 2007, During recessions, food stamp use and poverty rates rise. The only counter is government spending, which the republicans are quite willing to use when they are in power. Deficits, in the immortal words of Dick Cheney, don’t matter. As soon as Obama took office, the sudden focus was on cutting the deficit. We needed a 2T stimulus. The conventional wisdom in Jan 2008 was we needed between 900B and 1.2T. The too small stimulus was passed before the actual numbers were finalized, and it was way short. We got about 500b more in dribs and drabs before we lost control of the house and Senate. So 1.3 T versus 2T means a longer, slower recovery. Famously, the politicians on the right claim government doesn’t create jobs, only the private sector. Then predictably, the president is excoriated for not creating jobs. Now, the private sector does create jobs, and will, but only if there is demand. As long as states are cutting teacher pay, cutting payroll, cutting medicaid (so folks don’t go to doctors with the money to pay them), there isn’t demand. So the guy at Starbucks finds his hours cut, because the teachers who used to come by in the AM bring their coffee from home now, and he can’t afford his Friday night wings and beer with his buddies. So the bar loses business on Fridays, more hours get cut.
    Every government that has ever existed has had the granaries and stores set aside for droughts, bad harvests, invasions. It is part and parcel of a government’s job to make sure citizens don’t starve. Failed nations ignore this. Private charity is wonderful, if you are not in a place where local resources are sufficient to the local need. An inner city church isn’t going to be able to take the place of food stamps, while the church out in a wealthy suburb is going to be able to take care of any temporary glitch in a person’s life, like losing a job.
    Republicans may have given us the child tax credit, but they also gave us the earned income credit, expanded first under Reagan as an alternative to raising the minimum wage. So in essence, our tax dollars pay part of the wages of workers at WalMart. I love my EIC, it is my yearly chance to catch up bills or upgrade my computer. However, I’d rather make $2 more per hour, which coincidentally brings me to the inflation adjusted amout of minimum wage in 1968.
    You all are blaming today’s democrats for problems that have been strewing for decades, that 4 years will not reverse as long as 50% of Congress is determined that compromise isn’t in their vocabulary. The sole way to get out of the hole we are in is going to be convincing the rich corporations and owners to invest more in the compensation of their workforce, much as Henry Ford did, and stimulate their own growth by increasing demand.
    At the moment, the republican party is encouraging lying and deceit as a means to the end of getting elected. That by itself would disqualify it from being a party any Christian should identify with. Personally? All good people of any faith, or none at all, should be all for making sure the richest country in the world has everyone clothed and fed and able to see a doctor and get medications when needed without going broke. My friend had appendicitis, no insurance, emergency surgery via the ER. AFTER all the write-offs and write downs, the bill is still more than she’s made the past 3 years total. So she’s going to be able to pay this off before she dies? You think? Her meds, when she takes them all, run $600/month. Her income is less than that. So ObamaCare and expanded Medicaid eligibility will likely save her life between now and eligibility for Medicare-if it is still there for her. I don’t see anything “Christian” in today’s republican party. I see lies,I see a disregard for free will, for taking care of the least of these. We never would have needed a social safety if private giving was sufficient. My extended family needed $300 to make rent last year, or 3 adults and 3 kids would be out on the street. Their church could give them $100. The money isn’t there, and the argument that lowering our taxes and letting us donate instead, when it is pennies on the dollar when we all chip in, just won’t cut it.

  • Bob

    I wouldn’t vote for Flip Flop Mitt even if his was the only name on the ballot. Don’t trust him as far as I an urinate facing a hurricane wind.

  • http://www.patrickhouston.com Patrick

    Thank you for the thoughtful post that put my feelings about it into words far better than I ever could.

    Your point about the difference between ‘fair’ and ‘just’ very well stated.

    As Stephen Colbert so perfectly said, ““If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

    • ellen

      amen!

  • Sir Vincent Omega

    So you’re a Democrat, for the same reason others are Republican.

    You think you should be allowed to force your brand of morality upon other people… and you call yourself a Christian? Bullshit, Jesus Christ never once advocated using force and as such, was an anarchist.

    • Bookweight

      Ummmm….wow. I’m pretty good at reading, and I absolutely *cannot* find anyplace where the poster tried to “force her brand of morality upon other people.”

  • Understanding

    First and foremost this is an EXCELLENT piece and bravo 2u 4 writing something so well thought out. But some other things that I think should be considered. Many Republicans or Independents or undecideds lament the lack of jobs or lack of job creation under President Obama and while it has been slow … lets keep in mind that an Obstructionist Republican party has done everything within their power 2 fulfill their stated mission of making him a one term President. In my humble opinion that is down right treasonous and Unamerican … but i idigress.

    They first voted down the American Jobs Act which I found reprehensible. One of John McCain’s top former economic adviser,s Marc Zandi, estimated that the passage of the American Jobs Act would have resulted in upwards of 2,000,000 new jobs. Then again … good old fashioned Conservative Christian Republican politicans cant go along with anything which might possibly put President Obama in a good light now can they? Of course not.

    Further proof of this is seen in them voting down the Veteran Jobs Act which another poster noted earlier. This was a bill which was bi partisan in that it was co-authored by Democrats AND Republicans. If there is anything we can all agree upon it is that veterans deserve our utmost respect and all of the assistance we can over them right? This bill was already paid for. The funding was there and all it needed was X number of votes. So tell me why 44 out of 50 Republicans turned around and voted against it. U know why? B/c President Obama had the unmitigated gall to mention it in his DNC Speech. As soon as Republicans learned that it was something that HE was for … they then voted against this bi partisan authored legislation which would have trained veterans and given them jobs thereby effective lowering the unemployment rate amongst these heroes. How do u play politics with the lives and well being of those who served and sacrificed for this country o_O?

    It amazes me how the economic policies of a Conservative Christian President left this country standing on the edge of an economic abyss and yet the day before Obama’s inauguration … at least 13 Republicans gathered together in a room and vowed they would do everything in their power 2 make him a one term President. I thought Jesus commanded us 2 obey and pray 4 our leaders. I am disgusted. It also amazes me how Republicans can vote against not one but TWO bills which could serve as a engine 4 getting people back 2 work … but then regularly and repeatedly vote 2 give Big Oil Companies tax subsidies [Corporate Welfare] 2 the tune of billions each year. Last i heard … these oil companies are repaing RECORD profits so please tell me what the justification is 4 voting against TWO jobs bills but constantly voting in favor of giving taxpayer dollars 2 profitable companies like EXXON who post quarterly profits in excess of $8 Billion?

    I am also disgusted with Billy Graham Ministries who intially had Mormonism listed on their website as a CULT and yet … after meeting with Mr. Romney took that definition of Mormonism as a cult off of their website. So now Mormonism is no longer a cult? Or is it just that certain evangelical Christians will side with anyone who can get Obama out of office? Hmmm ….

  • KJB

    It is impossible not to think of Dickens masterwork when I hear some Christians and their iun-Christlike thought processes:

    ‘The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?’ said Scrooge.

    ‘At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,’ said the gentleman, taking up a pen, ‘it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.’
    ‘Are there no prisons?”

    ‘Plenty of prisons,’ said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
    ‘And the Union workhouses.’ demanded Scrooge. ‘Are they still in operation?’
    ‘Both very busy, sir.’

    ‘Oh. I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,’ said Scrooge. ‘I’m very glad to hear it.’

    ‘Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,’ returned the gentleman, ‘a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?’

    ‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied.

    ‘You wish to be anonymous?’

    ‘I wish to be left alone,’ said Scrooge. ‘Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.’

    ‘Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.’

    ‘If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

  • Susan

    I agree with your article Ellen! And most of the smart, intelligent responses. I am really disappointed in Billy Graham. Our country needs to support our leadership, stop being decisive against our President and take care of the poor and needy.

  • Amy

    I cannot understand why anyone, Republican or Democrat, would quote a study that looks at charitable giving, and then extrapolate from that that one party gives more to charity than the others. If you read about the study, you will see they looked at charitable giving in people with incomes of $50,000 or more, and they used charitable deductions as claimed on tax forms. I know many people who give to charity but who do not itemize for tax purposes–I was one of them for many years. Then there is the fact that charitable giving and charities are not defined. There are numerous types of non-profits out there, from arts foundations, kids’ sports teams or clubs, medical research, universities and they can all receive donations. But you can just as easily donate food to a food bank, put in volunteer hours at a homeless shelter, prepare and serve meals in your own kitchen for the homeless and provide services like free hair cuts, rides and help with filling out forms. It’s really hard to define what is valuable to society just by looking at non-profit status

    I have given to charity since I became an adult, but I didn’t itemize on my taxes, I didn’t make more than $20,000 a year at the time, I didn’t keep track of the cash donations here and there, and I often gave money to needy children who didn’t qualify as a 501 (c)3. I gave money to official groups like Save the Children and my church, but even though my donations would be included in tax report that those two entities completed and you might be tempted to look at that data, I lived in a state where my electoral votes always went to the Republican candidate even though I was usually voting for the Democrat. How could you possibly know how people who are donating money are actually voting?

    This report doesn’t even mention the percentage of one’s income that is being given, and since they wouldn’t use data from people making less than $50,000, they are cutting out a lot of people who donate time, effort or money for philanthropic causes.

    There is no meaningful way to know which members of a political party are more generous in charitable giving, so you can’t “Hey look, I’m better than you!” And why would you want to? I can understand stating for the record why you are Democrat, why you are a Republican, why those parties speak to your core values as a Christian; it is quite another thing just to convince yourself that one party is more generous than the other based on such inadequate data.

  • Jason

    The charity thing, is a little off. Republicans are typically richer the Democrats as well. I can say Jesus would be a pro life Democrat like myself. Jesus said to given to Ceaser what is Ceasers. So Mitt Romney is going against the Bible for bidding his money overseas. Well Mitt Romney has his own cult he followes. The Billy Graham conference had Mormonism under a cult until recently when Romney people talked to them.

  • Sean

    Thank you for helping to restore my faith in Christians. I hope everyone reads this and understands that the “Christmas Spirit” is actually “Christian spirit”, and should be everyday. Christ was not about hating anyone, even Muslims and gays. christ was about love and forgiveness to all.

    • Frank

      And when gay people ask for forgiveness for their sinful behavior they get it. But they have to have to ask.

      • Kendra

        When ANYONE asks for forgiveness, they receive it. NO ONE, regardless of which sins are present in their lives, should have to ask for love or to be treated with compassion and consideration, especially since that is what Christians are called to do and commanded by God to do.

        • Frank

          There is nothing loving or compassionate in supporting, condoning, affirming, accepting, or remaining silent about sinful behavior. That’s hate.

          • Eric

            So, let me get this straight. Accepting someone without regard to their behavior or background is hate. But turning them away until they get their lives in order, that’s actually loving them? I want to make sure that I’ve got that right, because if so, we need to call a LOT of dictionary publishers. They’ve had it wrong the whole time!

  • Mike Wallace

    Amen

  • Karen Lawson

    Thank you so much for putting in writing exactly how I feel. I’m no less a Christian by being a democrat. Well put !

    • Staci Nagy

      Agreed.

  • Tamara Rampold

    Thank you for writing this. I didn’t read one thing I disagreed with. I did see one thing missing – and maybe it’s too detailed for your blog post; but it’s not only those living in poverty that are not helped and not supported by the Republican party. It’s also those with disabilities. I have a son with Down syndrome. Paul Ryan’s budget call for budget cuts over 5% across the board – which includes special education funding. Mitt Romney drastically cut special education funding in Massachusetts when he was governor. I haven’t found statistics yet on what another Republican president would do to adults with disabilities, but it won’t be good. Can you imagine being a person with an intellectual disability and navigate a voucher system?

    Republicans rant against aborting based on prenatal testing – but they don’t step up and support things that matter to babies born with a disability – from the cradle to the grave, they are totally unsupportive. Democrat policies favor those with disabilities much more than Republican policies.

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

      Thank you for adding that perspective. Normally, disability and prenatal testing are central to my writing, so this is something I’m passionate about as well.

    • DaveP

      > I haven’t found statistics yet on what another Republican president would do to adults with disabilities, but it won’t be good. … they don’t step up and support things that matter to babies born with a disability

      The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.

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

        The ADA was/is a wonderful thing, but it has very little to do with the issues Tamara raised. The ADA does much to provide equal opportunity for those with disabilities, but it does not ensure that people with disabilities get specific types of assistance, such as health coverage and safe, affordable, and supportive housing.

        • DaveP

          > … it has very little to do with the issues Tamara raised. … does not ensure that people with disabilities get specific types of assistance, such as health coverage and safe, affordable, and supportive housing.

          Tamara didn’t raise the issues of health coverage or housing.

          Tamara raised the issues of “special education funding”, “adults with disabilities”, and said that “from the cradle to the grave, they [Republicans] are totally unsupportive”.

          Which is false, since it was George H.W. Bush who was responsible for the Americans With Disabilities Act.

          • Joel kretzmann

            GH Bush only signed ADA bill & little to do with it. It was largely writren by a disable veteran from Portland, who lobbied for it for years.

  • Suzanne

    Well written. I moved to Houston, Texas , from Boston, Ma 30 years ago. I really thought of myself as a Christian, in my early years here. But, after 30 years of seeing Christianity turned in to a political right wing, “angle”. Considering, there is not a Liberal leaning Christian church around. I’ve left Christian churches,far behind. I am now a member of the Unitarian Universalist church. Which does, have some Christian members.

    It is very refreshing to see, read and actually feel an article like this, brings back, my earlier views on Christ and Christianity in general….glad to see it. Thank you very very much.

  • Susie

    Thank you for saying what I believe but have been unable to so clearly and respectfully express.

  • Mark Hughey

    This is where I stand too. In the North Texas current environment, you are looked upon as an infidel when you bring up the fact that, yes, you are a Christian and a Democrat and, no, it isn’t an oxymoron. Thank you for your article.

  • Bess

    AMEN! This is the best piece I have read on the subject. Long live, and vote, the Christian Left!

  • Diana

    Thank you! Wonderful articles. Trolls “be gone”!

  • Bookweight

    Hmmm….if “private charity” is such an effective methodology for aiding “the least of these”, then why – after 2000+ years of Christianity, is it only with the advent of *government* social safety-net programs during the 20th century that our societies have started being successful at actually *lifting* people out of poverty and improving their quality of life?

    And why are Republicans so bound and determined to return our society to the harsh and unjust outcomes that the poor experienced in the 19th century, and before?

    • DaveP

      > why – after 2000+ years of Christianity, is it only with the advent of *government* social safety-net programs during the 20th century that our societies have started being successful at actually *lifting* people out of poverty and improving their quality of life?

      Because what you’re saying is not true.

      You can’t “lift” people out of poverty, because the people considered to be poor are always the roughly bottom 15% of any group. That’s because people determine poverty based on comparisons to themselves. Most Romans didn’t consider themselves to be poor because they only had other Romans to compare themselves to. Today, all Romans would be considered poor because they didn’t have microwave ovens.

      As to improving the quality of people’s lives, that’s technology. Roads, cars, antibiotics, etc.

      But no matter how much technology improves the quality of people’s lives, roughly the bottom 15% will always be considered poor.

  • DaveP

    > the five poorest states in the union are the staunchest Republican states

    As Eric noted, the poor people themselves are voting Republican because they know what’s best for themselves.

    So anyone who really wanted to help poor people would vote the same way as the poor people, and would vote for Romney.

    Just as in Roman times, the poor people themselves followed Christ, as did any Romans who really wanted to help poor people.

    But if you only want to trumpet how much you care for poor people, as opposed to really helping them, you will vote for the Democrats, because they trumpet how much they care for poor people, instead of actually helping them. That’s why under Obama and the Democrats the number of people on SNAP (food stamps) grew from 32 million to 47 million.

    As Jesus said: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do …” Matt 6:2

  • AppalachianOutlier

    When you read the gospels in their entirety, in context, you recognize one unmistakeable principle: the greatest enemies of the message of Jesus were the same kind of pious, moralistic religious conservatives that push the Republican agenda today. They conspired to kill the messenger back then, and they have choked the life out of his message now.

    I used to think that, somehow, the authentic spirit of Christ would prevail. Now I feel like Linus in the pumpkin patch… that it was just wishful thinking, and I was a fool to believe the Jesus story. He couldn’t save himself from them when he was alive, and his message inevitably lost out to the spiritual descendants of his enemies.

    For me, the lesson is this: when it comes to Judeo-Christianity, the Pharisees always win.

  • Chris

    This so exactly explains how i feel that I teared up a little reading it.

  • Stacy Meadows

    Very well stated. Although I was raised in a “fundamentalist” faith I no longer identify myself as “Christian”. I am a child of God & believe that all faiths have something of value to offer us in our quest to ease suffering in the world & to demonstrate more loving kindness each day.

  • Pam Blanchard

    Well said! Thank you for articulating why I as a Christian vote Democrat and why I deeply respect Obama and his policies to help the least of these.

  • DaveP

    > In the North Texas current environment, you are looked upon as an infidel when you bring up the fact that, yes, you are a Christian and a Democrat and, no, it isn’t an oxymoron.

    That’s probably because instead of helping the “least among us”, the Democrats are in favor of killing the “least among us” — unborn children.

    So it’s smart marketing on the part of the Democrats — trumpet how much you care for poor people (without really helping them) — so that people who feel guilty about killing unborn children can assuage their consciences and can at least maintain a facade of caring about the “least among us”.

    • Phil

      What I am about to say may be incredibly offensive, but I pray that the words are taken as intended. I applaud the author for clearly articulating that in our current system, charity has not the ability to provide the level of poverty alleviation that is required. I also congratulate her deep understanding that the absolute best preventative of abortion is making our world a more hospitable place for women to give birth to a child. The post is indeed insightful and close to the heart of Christ.

      Now on to the tough issue. Christ is loving, Christ is charitable, but has one and only one goal, to bring everlasting glory to the Father. His love and His charity are to serve that one goal. According to scripture, Christ is most glorified when souls enter heaven. With that said, I ask you to think about something. An unborn child has done no wrong, is not covered in sin, is blameless. Which should we worry about more, the soul of a child living and breathing, or the soul of a child clothed in the innocence of Christ.

      Republican Christians being Republican solely based on the topic of abortion are surrounding themselves with easy religious platitudes while ignoring reality. Roe v Wade will never be over turned so we need to stop spouting off how bad abortion is, and start creating a country where abortion is the last thing on a mothers mind because she knows without a doubt that her child will be safe and that the cost of motherhood will not be so great that her child has a difficult life. Again I do apologize if I offended anyone, I mean only for Christ to be glorified.

      • Linda Nichols

        That is a fabulous response! Thanks for posting!

      • Kim

        I am a “Bible-believing” Christian, and I pretty much agree with you. It seems hypocritical to insist that we value life by opposing abortion, but to do so little to ensure the quality of that life once it is born.

        • DaveP

          > do so little to ensure the quality of that life once it is born.

          Nixon: founded Environmental Protection Agency, 1970
          Reagan: Head Start Act, 1981
          George H. W. Bush: Americans With Disabilities Act, 1991
          Republican Contract With America: Child Tax Credit, 1997
          George W Bush: tax refund checks sent to all taxpayers, even to poor people who paid no tax: 2001
          George W Bush: Head Start extended to all homeless children, 2007

          Carter? Nothing. Clinton? Nothing. Obama? Nothing.

          • Paul Reynolds

            DaveP, you have done a masterful job of counterpoint on this forum and I thank you for taking the time and having the intellectual resource to do it. My personal bottom line with the “Christian Democrats” is social issues and the horrific conclusion that a fetus/baby is not a person until the mother individually decides it is. We have a President with a barbaric abortion/gay philosophy and all of the defenses of him make for some very light reading.

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  • Grace Isabella

    Oops. Little typo in the article. For the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, it’s Matthew 25:31–46, not Matthew 24.
    Let us not forget Acts 4:32-35. “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many were possessors of land or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.

  • Ben

    If you can be both, do you support abortion? There is no biblical support for abortion. And last time I checked, Democrats are pro choise, Republicans are pro life. Yes, there are times when children are born out of circumstances other than love and marriage. But does that mean a child (though born sinful) should have their life cut short and be denied a baptism to plant the spark of faith simply because the parents made the irresponsible choice to have sex outside of marriage?

    I say nay in this regard.

    • A Reader

      Ben–

      I believe you oversimplify and paint with too broad a brush.

      First, there are numerous examples of Democrats who have publicly stated their opposition to abortion. (for example, Robert Casey, both Senior and Junior). And there are plenty of Republicans who claim to be abortion rights supporters.

      But more importantly, I look to words more than actions. In a break from his past positions, Mitt Romney now claims to oppose abortion; however, he simutaneneously stated that as President he would not enact any restrictions on abortion. So what use would it be to vote for someone with such thin rhetoric? And then you have people like Republican Congressman Scott DeJarais, who also claimed to oppose abortion yet paid for his mistress to have an abortion after he got her pregnant. Thankfully, Rep. DeJarais has a Democratic opponent, Eric Stewart. Mr. Stewart also happens to publicly oppose abortion.

      It’s also known that the rate of abortions actually go down under Democratic presidents and increase under Republican ones. While there may be multiple factors at hand, I believe that one contributing reason is that Democratic policies do far better to address issues of poverty that are a key contributor as to why a woman may ultimately have an abortion.

      So yes, President Obama may profess to be an abortion rights supporter, and Mitt Romney may claim to be anti-abortion. But given that whoever wins, neither man as President would likely do much to actually address the issue head on, I’d much vote for the man who will act to address the contributing factors than the man who may say the right things but whose words are utterly meaningless.

      • Steve

        Whenever you call anyone “pro-abortion” you are lying to win points. The expression, and the philosophy, is “pro-choice,” not “pro-abortion.” If you want to argue against it, go ahead, but your arguments have to be pretty weak if you feel a need to resort to that kind of nonsense. And I can certainly see why you “christians” are so adamant about abortion, considering the very clear message Jesus sent on that very subject……oh, uh……well, whatever.

        • KMorris

          Well said Steve.

  • Patoma

    This is why our founding fathers supported separation of church and state. Religious beliefs are a choice involving free will (God given of course) and to sit around discussing who’s religion is right or better is ludicrous. Believe in whatever God you want to but leave that out of Government. The Mayflower was filled with people fleeing a country whose Government was involved in dictating what they should believe and how they should behave. It’s alarming to see how this country has taken such a huge step backward.

  • Candace

    I have had a miserable relationship with churches in my lifetime. In 7th grade, during the Bush/Gore election, my pastor YELLED at me because my family voted for “baby killer Gore.” I’ve never gone back.

    This article really spoke to me because I desperately want this. I want to have faith but I refuse to be trapped in a hateful environment that teaches me Gays are evil and voting for “baby killers” is un-Christian. I’m overwhelmed by how powerful this message is and I hope everyone can read it. Thank you so much for restoring my hope!

  • DaveP

    > I haven’t found statistics yet on what another Republican president would do to adults with disabilities, but it won’t be good. … they don’t step up and support things that matter to babies born with a disability

    The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.

    • Steve

      Wow, a Republican who didn’t stand in the way! Of course, you do have to look back 22 years to find one, but hey! you guys still want to claim credit for Lincoln, right? What a crew!

    • Joel kretzmann

      Bush the first just signed the ADA bill.

  • Julie

    This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read……you took the words right out of my mouth….I too have been the target of republican bullying and looked at with suspect eyes as to the integrity of my Christian faith. Thank your for putting into words what I could not speak!

  • Mr. Dan

    Great article. Thank you so much.

  • http://returnofthewhiterobin.blogspot.com/ Molly

    Excellent explanation, I too am a Christian voting for President Obama for the second time. The Democrats seem to be better than the Republicans at practicing what Jesus preached. Charity is one thing, but changing the system to provide more opportunity for the poor and disadvantaged provides a comprehensive solution.

    • DaveP

      >… changing the system to provide more opportunity for the poor and disadvantaged provides a comprehensive solution.

      The Democrats are changing the system to provide more poor …

      … not more opportunities for them.

      The number of people on SNAP (food stamps) under Obama and the Democrats has skyrocketed from 32 million up to 47 million.

      That’s why poor people themselves are voting for Romney.

  • Doug

    Charity is the act of giving your excesses to cover someone elses deficiencies. If you take from one, without thier consent, to give to another,keeping a portion for “administrative costs”, is that charity? It is stealing. Some need help. Some are just dependant slaves. I am a better judge of who deserves help with my money than someone buying votes with it. Both parties are guilty of misguided a view of charity, and people like Ellen Painter Dollar are enablers, no different than buying an alchoholic a beer.If you didnt give the money you made writing this article to charity, you are missing your own point.

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

      I don’t make any money by blogging.

      Jesus didn’t tell us to give after determining if the recipients’ motives are pure, and figuring out whether it’s fair, and studying the most effective way to spend our dollars. He just told us to give to those who need.

      And I’m the first to admit (as I did in this article) that I do not give nearly as radically as Jesus asks us to.

      • DaveP

        > I don’t make any money by blogging.

        Hmmm. Have your (or Patheos) considered a donate button?

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

          I am not a fan of “donate” buttons on blogs. Or at least, it’s not for me. And I should clarify: Patheos does pay me a small amount based on page views, but I have never met the minimum monthly number of page views required to get paid. So technically, I guess they do pay me. Or promise to based on very specific criteria.

    • Grant

      Hey Dave,

      Hebrews 13:2, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
      Matthew 7:2, For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

      As to your earlier point, the ACA WOULD have been universal health care coverage federalizing and putting firm price fixes on medical care, but that was quickly rejected as evil socialism. As to the ER being “universial” health care, the costs for those who can only afford the ER and not actually see a doctor for what should be relatively minor things are passed on to those with insurance. Ellen is right, I believe, that the idea of a “for profit” medical system is immoral. The statistics also shows that the U.S. leads the world in the cost of healthcare but is barely in the top 20 in terms of life expectancy.

      Further, the notion that charities should be left to individuals and churches alone ignores that this is not the way things work. If I open a homeless shelter in your neighborhood without the proper permits, they municipality can, will, and most often does force my charitable work to CLOSE and usually because someone in the neighbor hood does want “undesirables” in their planned community.

      The very notion that you feel confident in painting millions of your fellow citizens as lazy, stupid, or anything less than you are without sitting with one of them is an anathema to the ministry of Jesus who sat with the lepers (who were not allowed among the “clean”) made it a point to speak with Samaritans (who were considered less desirable than dogs and a containment on “proper hebrews”) and even went so far as to have as one of his Apostles a TAX COLLECTOR.

      Ellen, I applaud your bravery for putting your out where people can callously stomp on it without considering that they are demeaning, degrading, and insulting not only a fellow citizen of the nation as being unworthy of citizenship but also accusing them of being evil and unchristian. If the people who had accepted Jesus as their savior spent as much energy in lifting others up rather than tearing anyone who disagreed down (I think that was in the Gospels as well) the church would not be losing ground in this nation.
      Come unto me ALL ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. – Jesus
      But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
      Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

  • Mel

    It’s really this simple for me. I don’t care what you are. I revile a group – whether political, religious, social – that would attempt to remove God from their equation. You can’t have one foot in the world and the other in heaven – choices must be made. Period…end of story …

    • Steve

      And I bet you’re just the one to decide if a group has attempted to remove God from their equation (whatever that means). I bet you’re really sure where your own feet are, aren’t you? God is in the equation if you say he is, based on whatever you think you know, or have culled out of the bible, correct?

      Yep, you’re right…..end of story…..

  • A Reader

    Terrific article! I agree wholeheartedly with the author’s analysis.

    While I do oppose abortion in most circumstances and disagree with the official Democratic Party platform on that particular issue (and hope that in the future they move to adopt a more “big tent” position), I refuse to be a single issue voter when it comes to partisan politics.

    And in reviewing the parties positions as a whole,notwithstanding the abortion issue, I believe the Democratic Party better reflects truly “Christian” values than the Republican Party. Jesus was most indeed a liberal, and while many Republicans and conservatives profess to be Christian, their views on economic issues and social justice fall closer in line with the selfish Ayn Rand philosophy than the founder of their own religion. The Republican philosophy neither encourages one to give a man to fish nor to teach him to fish; rather, it only enocurages one to ridicule those without fish as somehow being “less than.” And that is immoral.

    Neither political party is perfect; however, when weighed against each other, the Democratic Party far outweighs the Republican Party in the promotion of what has been dubbed the “seamless garment of life.”

  • maegan

    To clarify a common misconception, going to an ER for a health issue is not health insurance. If someone (let’s say they became unemployed in 2009 and therefore do not have health insurance anymore) develops cancer and needs treatment, he won’t get it until he finds some way to come up with the cost for treatment.

    Now this is man who worked his whole life until 2009, when he was 59 years old. Somehow it was expected and considered acceptable to expect a man who was living off of generosity of his family to survive day by day to ask for $800/mo so that he could get chemotherapy and radiation, due at the beginning of each first monthly session or he was turned away. That $800/mo was considered the best rate they could give him.

    This man is my father, and without the help of my aunt and myself he would likely be dead by now. But when I bring this up to “Christian republicans” they just shrug their shoulders. This idea that the “poor made their bed now lie in it” is more like the antithesis of what makes a good Christian.

    • DaveP

      > going to an ER for a health issue is not health insurance.

      And health insurance is not health care.

      > $800/mo so that he could get chemotherapy and radiation,

      The cheapest Obamacare family plan for you, your aunt, and your dad, is over $1,000 per month. It has a high deductible (about $6,350), so not only would you and your aunt have to pay over $1,000 for Obamacare even if no one got sick, you’d then have to pay over $500/mo just to cover the deductible.

      “How Much Is The Obamacare Mandate Going To Cost You?”
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/gracemarieturner/2012/07/24/how-much-is-the-obamacare-mandate-going-to-cost-you/

      • Tracy

        Let’s remember that if your income is low, this does not apply to you.

        And let’s remember that if you have no health care, and you show up at the emergency room, your care is not “free.” You will receive a bill — and if you can’t pay those bills, you will go bankrupt. One way or another you’ll pay. And so will the rest of us.

        • DaveP

          > Let’s remember that if your income is low, this does not apply to you.

          See the last comment below.

          > And let’s remember that if you have no health care, and you show up at the emergency room, your care is not “free.” You will receive a bill …

          True. However, if you can’t pay the bill and if you are uninsured, then you can just call the hospital or wherever and request a payment plan. Every time I’ve done this they ask how much can I afford to pay, and so the monthly payment is always within my budget.

          > … and if you can’t pay those bills, you will go bankrupt.

          The only people I know who’ve gone into bankruptcy over medical bills was because they couldn’t afford the deductible on their health insurance — and so it was the insurance companies who drove them into bankruptcy, not the hospital or other health care provider.

          > And so will the rest of us.

          And who will be paying not only for the health care for the poor, but also the generous salaries for legions of insurance providers, and state employees to create health insurance exchanges, and federal bureaucrats to administer the program, and all the new IRS employees they’ll be hiring to check businesses and individual compliance?

          That’s right. The rest of us.

          • Kelly

            >>True. However, if you can’t pay the bill and if you are uninsured, then you can just call the hospital or wherever and request a payment plan. Every time I’ve done this they ask how much can I afford to pay, and so the monthly payment is always within my budget.

            Then you are lucky. My father, before he passed away, was on both disability for a multitude of health crises, including a bout with MRSA that landed him in the ICU and crippled him to the point that he could not walk–and on my mother’s private insurance plan as well.

            Yet we ended up with balances, after Medicare and private insurance, nearing a thousand dollars per ER trip, because they usually evolved into a stay of at least two or three days for treatment. I wasn’t working; I couldn’t. It was either stay home with my father as his in-house caretaker, or send him to a nursing home. Which would you have done?

            The hospital’s “payment plan” was laughable; we told them what we could afford, and their only offer was at least double that.

            Then there is myself; for over a month, I’d been having digestive and “female” issues, unable to keep anything but bland pasta down, and only in small amounts. It was only after a month of this that my mother dragged me to the ER–with me uninsured, because I was still home with my father–and the ER found that I had a necrotic ovarian tumor. I spent three weeks in the hospital’s cancer center, both before and after the surgery, which became a full hysterectomy once they saw the extent of the smaller, unseen cysts hiding behind the big one. The bill for that surgery and care came to right at ten thousand dollars. Thanks to the hospital’s charity care program, it was covered 100%. If it had not been, I would have died because that was simply an expense I could not afford, and neither could my family.

            So please don’t tell me that the hospitals will work with you, and that the ER is adequate for care. Because neither is true. The hospitals want their money–and rightly so, because they did provide a service. But they’re not going to work with you to get it. If you find one that will, I think you’re the exception, rather than the rule.

            >The only people I know who’ve gone into bankruptcy over medical bills was because they couldn’t afford the deductible on their health insurance

            You are blowing it out your ear. Or another orifice significantly further down. It’s not always the deductible; it’s also the co-pay that your insurance doesn’t cover, or bills for tests and procedures that your insurance company deems extraneous or unnecessary or whatever word they use nowadays. Just because your doctor thinks you need a particular procedure to save your life, your insurance company may not agree. And let’s not even discuss the high cost of medication and how trying to decide between food and medicine is also a factor driving people into bankruptcy.

            > That’s right. The rest of us.

            You mean the folks like me, who are already paying sales tax and state tax and federal tax and property tax and when folks work, Medicare tax and payroll tax and paying for their own insurance on top of that? You mean the money that’s already coming out of our pockets is going to be spent on these things? Gee, I’d have never considered that option. I thought the Money Fairy was going to wave her wand and pay for this. [/sarcasm]

          • DaveP

            I said: >The only people I know who’ve gone into bankruptcy over medical bills was because they couldn’t afford the deductible on their health insurance — and so it was the insurance companies who drove them into bankruptcy, not the hospital or other health care provider.

            Kelly replied: > It’s not always the deductible; it’s also the co-pay that your insurance doesn’t cover, or bills for tests and procedures that your insurance company deems extraneous or unnecessary or whatever word they use nowadays. Just because your doctor thinks you need a particular procedure to save your life, your insurance company may not agree.

            Kelly is correct, I forgot to include copays, etc, when I said “deductible”.

            But still, all the people I’ve know who gone into bankruptcy over medical bills were driven into it by their insurance companies, and not by their health care providers.

          • Steve

            That’s right, the rest of us. Of course, if we are Christians, we won’t mind that, will we? Isn’t that the point of Ellen’s article? And if we do mind, then we aren’t really Christians, are we? I don’t understand why you don’t have the guts to just come out and say it – if people get sick, too bad for them. Come on, let’s have a little of that right-wing Christianity on display, St. Dave!

          • Joe

            Dave, you really think folks “you know”, in other words anecdotal evidence, is compelling at all? You obviously don’t move in very big circles.

        • Anne

          “””And let’s remember that if you have no health care, and you show up at the emergency room, your care is not “free.” You will receive a bill — and if you can’t pay those bills, you will go bankrupt. One way or another you’ll pay. And so will the rest of us.”””

          -> Unless you go to a Catholic Hospital, who then admits you, and provides 8 follow up appointments

          This happened to my husband. We were in college and made a combined 25K at the time and the charges were nearly 12k, which were COMPLETELY waived.

          And they still do that because of people like me, who now that I can afford to donate to the hospital.

          Perfect example of how a private group has it right

  • Tracy

    I have several church friends who are public school teachers in depressed communities. I have other church friends who are social workers and community mental health counselors. Their salaries are paid for by the government. They are the face of the government to the children in their classrooms and the clients in their practices. How can we possibly say they are not helping?

  • Jan S

    Ellen, thank you for a fine essay and for helping dispel the ugly myth that democrats are “godless.” I am a born again Christian and I agree completely with what you’ve said. There is no political party in perfect alignment with all Christians’ beliefs- what would that even look like? And common sense tells you there never will be. I voted once or twice on these wedge issues that have been held out there as “the Christian” issues and realized I had been duped. I now consider myself independent as a voter but I will be voting for Barack Obama again in 2012 and if there is an independent candidate in 2016 who I believe will govern well and morally I will vote for them. We direly need something to break this insane two party gridlock. That could do more to reunite Christians in this country than anything else so I pray for it, and for more common sense, truth and fair play to prevail in the future.

  • Rick

    Cory Booker (Dem. mayor of Newark, NJ), said it best I think. “Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people; before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children; before you preach to me of your passion for your faith, teach me about it through your compassion for your neighbors. In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as in how you choose to live and give.”

    As to the whole “food stamp” distraction, more individuals were added to the program while George W. Bush was in office than have enrolled under Obama’s presidency: Under Bush, the program grew by 14.7 million individuals; under Obama so far, it’s grown by 14.2 million, and, as of October 2011, was declining.

    • DaveP

      > as of October 2011, was declining.

      False.

      In January 2010, there were 39.43 million people on food stamps.
      In January 2011, there were 44.19 million people on food stamps.
      In January 2012, there were 46.45 million people on food stamps.
      In July 2012, there were 46.68 million people on food stamps.
      “Stimulus: Food stamp enrollment reaches all-time high”
      http://washingtonexaminer.com/stimulus-food-stamp-enrollment-reaches-all-time-high/article/2510898

      • Rick

        The program has gone up and down. In October, it *was* declining which was a good sign. Then it went back up (I suspect that winter time always sees higher enrollment). Regardless, the rate at which it is increasing has slowed dramatically. And if you try to blame Democrats for adding almost 15mil to the rolls, do you also blame the Republicans for adding almost 15mil to the rolls when Bush was president (and were added at a time prior to the recession)?

        Sounds like you’re cherry picking your data and applying different standards depending on who is in office.

        • DaveP

          > In October, it *was* declining which was a good sign. Then it went back up

          That is correct, but that’s not what you said. You said “as of October 2011, was declining” which is false — you tried to make a one-month anomaly sound like it had continued to the present.

          > And if you try to blame Democrats for adding almost 15mil to the rolls, do you also blame the Republicans for adding almost 15mil to the rolls when Bush was president …

          Obama has added more to the rolls in 4 years than Bush did in 8.

          And much of the addition during Bush’s presidency started in 2007, when the Democrats took control of the House and Senate.

          • Rick

            It wasn’t a one-month trend at the time, it had been declining for several months.

            Also, the recession appears to have started in late 2006, which would explain the rise in food stamp usage in 2007 in a much simpler manner than trying to blame it on “the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2007″. If a Republican/Democratic Congress was the single most important factor in food stamp enrollment, you would expect the program to drop significantly when the Republicans won control back in the House and could still prevent any Democratic policies from being passed in the Senate in 2010. However, we saw the numbers actually rise by 6,000,000 when the Republicans took control, and increased another 5,000,000 the next year. You will, I’m sure, try to claim that the Republicans simply started the slowing of the rate increasing, but it is just as simple to explain it by saying that the programs of 2008/2009 that turned the economic recession into a slow recovery was the actual cause.

            You choose to blame Democrats when convenient, you use stats that conveniently back up those ideas. You ignore stats that might suggest anything otherwise. It sounds like you’re already convinced, regardless of any data presented, that you already have the full story. So why do I bother trying to show you a different explanation that is possibly more valid?

          • DaveP

            > Also, the recession appears to have started in late 2006

            … when the economy started to react to the coming takeover of the House and Senate by the Democrats.

            Just as the economy might start reacting now if either the Democrats or the Republicans seem to be the clear winner of the upcoming election.

            > you would expect the program to drop significantly when the Republicans won control back in the House and could still prevent any Democratic policies from being passed in the Senate in 2010.

            The Republicans couldn’t do anything about Democratic policies in 2010 because the election was in Nov 2010. The Republicans didn’t take control of the House until January 2011. And they couldn’t affect the SNAP (food stamp) program in 2011, because the laws covering 2011 had been passed in 2010.

            The first year there could be an effect from the Republicans was 2012. And there was a huge effect.

            From Jan 2011 to Jan 2012, under laws passed by the Democrats in 2010, 2.26 million went on food stamps.

            From Jan 2012 to July 2012, when the Republicans could begin to have an effect, only 0.230 million people went on food stamps. About 1/10 as many in 6 months, so about 1/5 as many for a full year.

            http://washingtonexaminer.com/stimulus-food-stamp-enrollment-reaches-all-time-high/article/2510898

      • FMWalker

        The ironic thing about the food stamps argument is that the growth is in the Red States, under Republican control.

      • Steve

        Yeah, those numbers sure have been going up since the Tea Baggers have taken over the House. Of course, that can’t have anything to do with it, right? Everybody knows how much Tea Baggers care about the least among us……

        • Frank

          Steve just a friendly suggestion… using “teabaggers” and “koolaid” does not help your position at all and will cause people to dismiss you outright.

    • Frank

      Lets look at how the Dems propose to treat innocent unborn children. Yes let’s start there.

      • Rick

        Sure. Start there. The Democrats have come to the logical realization that you cannot stop abortions. You can outlaw them, you can make it harder to get one, but they still happen. Please see: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2009/10/banning-abortion-does-not-reduce-abortions/

        As such, what can we do to best prevent abortions? The answer is to give good health care to everyone so that all mothers can have adequate pre-natal care (which you can’t get in an emergency room). The answer is to make it easier for everyone to raise children without being an oppressive burden on the family. These are the same social programs that the Democrats have been promoting while the Republicans have been demonizing.

        I’m sure someone will start posting that more abortions take place where abortions have been legalized than happen in places where it has been made illegal/very hard to get. They miscontrue the data. First there is the displacement effect. Make it illegal in one place and the people who want it will go get it elsewhere. Second, the data doesn’t take into account the illegal abortions that happen in those places, so any real comparison will be nigh impossible.

        • Frank

          Yes of course those who are morally and ethically bankrupt will find a way to be so. The harder we make it the better. Making it a point on your platform is inexcusable.

          So yes let’s all work hard to improve the lives of those who feel they have no other choice but to absolve their personal responsibility and kill the life they more likely than not choose to create. But lets stop the slaughter first as we work on this. The 6000+ innocent unborn children killed each week should not be ignored while we try to work on other issues. It’s completely inexcusable!

          • Kathleen

            Why do you care, Frank? Why are you so worried about fetuses? Are you this passionate about starving post-birth children? Do you post about abuse, or drug addiction or other issues that affect children who are already born? I don’t get why so many of these men who post are so into pro-life.

          • Steve

            Of course he isn’t, kathleen. They save all their compassion for “innocent unborn children,” because as soon as they are born they don’t deserve a thing. It’s much easier to weep for a child that doesn’t exist then it is to help a poor child with your time and money.

          • Frank

            The real question is why don’t you care?

            And Steve your post is foolish. No one is suggesting not caring for people who are in need. It hard to take people seriously about their care for humanity when they ignore the least of the least of these.

  • http://www.ecumenicus.org Peggy

    From James Fowlers book Faithful Change: progressives are concerned about social freedom and economic justice. Conservatives are concerned with social justice and economic freedom. “These “tempers” are faith orientations, both in content and process. They adhere to deeply differing convictions about the locus of authority and interpretations regarding the normative story of the nation’s freedom. For the conservative, freedom tends to be understood in economic terms – committment to free enterprise. Progressives focus freedom on protection of the social and poilitical rights of individuals.” I have always remembered this – as it is quite true.

  • Rick

    As to the “abortion” distraction, it has long been clear that the Republican party has never proposed any practices that would actually reduce abortion, only make it illegal. It’s been illegal before and that didn’t stop (or even seriously reduce) abortions, rather it just made them much more risky for the health of the woman involved. Democrats have consistently proposed measures that make having a healthy child easier, make raising a healthy child easier, and in this manner actually reduce the number of women wanting abortions.
    See: http://peacelovekindness.org/abortionQuestion.html

    • DaveP

      > it just made them much more risky for the health of the woman involved.

      The greater number of abortions that have occurred since abortion was legalized may have been much worse for the health of women, since new research is indicating that abortion can cause breast cancer. Specifically, that interrupting a pregnancy before full term leaves breast tissue in a non-fully-differentiated form that is more prone to becoming cancerous.

      The pro-choice community has apparently long been in denial over the causal link between abortion and breast cancer.

      “Researcher Finally Admits Abortion Raises Breast Cancer Risk In Study That Fingers Oral Contraceptives As A Probable Cause Of Breast Cancer”
      http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/175394.php

      “An April 2009 study by Jessica Dolle et al. of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center examining the relationship between oral contraceptives (OCs) and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in women under age 45 contained an admission from U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) researcher Louise Brinton and her colleagues (including Janet Daling) that abortion raises breast cancer risk by 40%.”

      • Rick

        Please compare your 40% more risk of breast cancer (which is treatable) to the approximate 219 deaths that occur *EACH DAY* due to illegal abortions, and try telling me that it is seriously healthier for women to have illegal abortions.

      • A Reader

        Just to be clear though, oral contraceptives are NOT the same thing as abortion.

        And yes, I know that a side effect of oral contraceptives may be that a fertalized zygote may be less likely to implant, but if one looks at the primary and intended purpose of oral contraceptives, used correctly it should never reach that point. So one cannot claim that oral contraceptives are the same thing as abortion.

        I’ll be honest, even as someone who has serious issues with abortion in most instances and who opposes abortion in most instances, I don’t much understand the opposition to contraception. Unlike abortion, I actually do believe it is a privacy issue concerning one’s own body (whereas in abortion you have to consider the interests of both the mother and the unborn child). And when used correctly, contraception would reduce the number of abortions exponentially. So, with all due respect to the heirachy of my church and their stated position on the issue, I believe universal access to contraception is a good thing and not in contradiction with one’s stated opposition to abortion.

        • DaveP

          > Just to be clear though, oral contraceptives are NOT the same thing as abortion. … one cannot claim that oral contraceptives are the same thing as abortion.

          To clarify: the article was on oral contraceptives, not abortion, but it included statistics on both oral contraceptives and abortion regarding breast cancer.

          > Unlike abortion, I actually do believe it is a privacy issue concerning one’s own body (whereas in abortion you have to consider the interests of both the mother and the unborn child). And when used correctly, contraception would reduce the number of abortions exponentially. So, with all due respect to the heirachy of my church and their stated position on the issue, I believe universal access to contraception is a good thing and not in contradiction with one’s stated opposition to abortion.

          Me too.

      • Sharon

        @ DaveP – There is no reliable basis for your claim that there is a causal link between abortion and breast cancer:
        From http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/moreinformation/is-abortion-linked-to-breast-cancer
        Results from major prospective studies

        The largest, and probably the most reliable, study on this topic was done during the 1990s in Denmark, a country with very detailed medical records on all its citizens. In this study, all Danish women born between 1935 and 1978 (a total of 1.5 million women) were linked with the National Registry of Induced Abortions and with the Danish Cancer Registry. All of the information about their abortions and their breast cancer came from registries – it was very complete and was not influenced by recall bias.

        After adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors, the researchers found that induced abortion(s) had no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer. The size of this study and the manner in which it was done provide good evidence that induced abortion does not affect a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

        Another large, prospective study was reported on by Harvard researchers in 2007. This study included more than 100,000 women who were between the ages of 29 and 46 at the start of the study in 1993. These women were followed until 2003.

        Again, because they were asked about childbirths and abortions at the start of the study, recall bias was unlikely to be a problem. After adjusting for known breast cancer risk factors, the researchers found no link between either spontaneous or induced abortions and breast cancer.

        The California Teachers Study also reported on more than 100,000 women in 2008. Researchers asked the women in 1995 about past induced and spontaneous abortions. While the women were being followed in the study, more than 3,300 developed invasive breast cancer. There was no difference in breast cancer risk between the group who had either spontaneous or induced abortions and those who had not had an abortion.
        What do the experts say?

        In February 2003, the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) held a workshop of more than 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. The experts reviewed human and animal studies that looked at the link between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. Some of their findings were:

        Breast cancer risk is increased for a short time after a full-term pregnancy (that is, a pregnancy that results in the birth of a living child).
        Induced abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.
        Spontaneous abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.

        The level of scientific evidence for these findings was considered to be “well established” (the highest level).

        The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Gynecologic Practice also reviewed the available evidence in 2003 and again in 2009. ACOG published its most recent findings in June 2009. At that time, the Committee said, “Early studies of the relationship between prior induced abortion and breast cancer risk were methodologically flawed. More rigorous recent studies demonstrate no causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer risk.”

        In 2004, the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer, based out of Oxford University in England, put together the results from 53 separate studies done in 16 different countries. These studies included about 83,000 women with breast cancer. After combining and reviewing the results from these studies, the researchers concluded that “the totality of worldwide epidemiological evidence indicates that pregnancies ending as either spontaneous or induced abortions do not have adverse effects on women’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.” These experts did not find that abortions (either induced or spontaneous) cause a higher breast cancer risk.

        • DaveP

          > There is no reliable basis for your claim that there is a causal link between abortion and breast cancer:

          Look at the dates of your references, they’re all out of date. In fact, if you go to your linked page, you’ll see some at the bottom that say things like “accessed … in 2011″ to try to make them look more recent, but if you actually go to those pages to look at their references, they’re also out of date.

          • Sharon

            2004, 2007, and 2008 are out of date? Regardless, how does the date change the reliability of a study such as this? The study you reference indicates it included 897 cancer patients and 1,569 control patients. The older studies included 1.5 million women in one (Denmark), 100,000 in 2007 (Harvard), and another 100,000 in 2008 (California). They were also using prospective study methods, which have been established to be more reliable. The made-up “abortion-cancer” link is false propaganda used by pro-birth groups. I find it even MORE intriguing that the tiny study you reference only appears to reference induced abortions, and does not appear to include spontaneous abortions. A woman’s body’s changes would be exactly the same for an induced versus spontaneous abortion, but the biased study authors do not appear to even address this.

          • DaveP

            > 2004, 2007, and 2008 are out of date?

            Yep. Why are they avoiding 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012?

            > I find it even MORE intriguing that the tiny study you reference only appears to reference induced abortions, and does not appear to include spontaneous abortions.

            I suppose that’s because spontaneous abortions (which I’m assuming are the same as miscarriages) aren’t as well defined, or as well reported, or as easily measurable.

          • Sharon

            DaveP, you’ve GOT to be kidding me – your biased person’s study had only 2300 total participants. The other studies are VERY recent and include over 283,000 participants, and if you include the Denmark study, that’s ANOTHER study with 1.5 million participant. So yeah, I’m going to stick with my “older” studies because they are FAR more comprehensive and reliable than your biased study that excludes spontaneous abortions.

  • http://www.ecumenicus.org Peggy

    I have never liked the use of economic language applied to humanitarian activities and that started a long time ago…we dont worship money above people.

  • http://www.solidrocksgf.org Steve Smallwood

    The NT has a distinct bias against worldly wealth–period. Far more so than most modern American churches would like to acknowledge. We need fiscal responsibility and we need a safety net for the unskilled poor (and work training programs), children, the disabled, and the elderly. Individuals and churches cannot fill the gap that is growing larger and larger between the poor and the rich. There has never been an extended period of economic growth that has been dependent on low taxes on the richest of the rich–especially at a time when two unfunded wars are being prosecuted.

    • Gregg

      I disagree that the New Testament has a “distinct bias against worldly wealth”. I think it’s clear that the Bible is neutral on wealth, per se; but that God opposes two things: 1) the idolization of money (in fact, all idolatry); and 2) those who acquire or maintain wealth unjustly and those who are not charitable. If you doubt that, ponder Abraham (whom God favored greatly, though he was fabulously-wealthy for his time); and, lest you draw a bright-line distinction between the Old and New testaments, resolve the wealth of Joseph of Arimathea and Zacchaeus (who did not commit to pauperism). Wealth is not biblically-synonymous with iniquity and poverty is not biblically-synonymous with godliness.

  • Mack

    CLASS WARFARE ALIVE AND WELL!

  • Dawn

    Bravo! Thank you for taking the time and considerable energy to identify as and defend being a Christian and a Democrat. I too resent that so many assume that all Christians are Republicans – and ultra conservative Republicans at that.

  • Pingback: Why I am a Christian Democrat « OuttaSiteOuttaMind

    • Mtm

      James 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
      1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
      John 15:18-19 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

      • http://louiszwu.blogspot.com Michael Powers (@louiszwu)

        Thanks for reminding me one of the many reasons I’m an atheist.

  • Brad

    I’m so happy to read this, as it articulates how I feel and helps me understand why I’m so frustrated with the Christian right and my fellow Utahns. Ellen, thank you for sharing this.

  • Debbie Hammons

    I applaud you. I was told at our Democrat booth at our county fair in Oklahoma by a republican that I was NOT a Christian because I was a Democrat and that there was NO way that I could be one.
    I just told him he was wrong because I believed in God and was also a Democrat. He argued with me for about 15 minutes and was so rude. Evidently in his faith, he was never told that you shouldn’t judge people.
    Keep writing good articles!!
    God Bless!

    • AJ

      Good for you!

  • http://sgryle.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    Well written article. Personally, I’ve chosen the Libertarian path, but I do consider the Democratic Party the “lesser of two evils” and agree with you that compared to the republican party they do support more policies for equality and to provide help for the impoverished. I also realize that a vote for Gary Johnson will in the long run help Obama more than it will actually put Johnson in office (but hey one can hope) and I’d rather see the Democratic Party remain in office than put Republicans back in… I believe fully that Obama inherited this mess, and that he’s not had a fair shake to fix it due to being blocked by Republicans in Congress. I’ve seen too many flip flops on Romney’s part, as well as lies on his part and false claims on the Republican Party’s part. Also as a more “liberal” Christian, I disagree with the Republican Party becoming the “Christian right” and trying to rule this free country with their religion. Abortion and Gay Marriage are the least of our issues right now… Good post.

  • Kris Schulenburg

    Ms Dollar, I’m a registered independant because of what many of my friends say is my conflicted world view of being politically moderate – liberal and theologically conservative. I throughly enjoyed this essay, thank you for saying so clearly what my mind and heart have been whispering for the past 40 years!

  • cc

    Thoroughly enjoyed the article. Just wanted to point out that statistics are incredibly malleable and easily manipulated by both parties. Someone earlier stated they don’t *lie*, but unless you have looked at the raw data, I wouldn’t trust them. Take a look at who generated the stats and ask what that organization might have at stake in this conversation.

  • http://twitter.com/boggarthunter Eric

    Thank you so much for this article. As a Christian that loves my country, I have found that I have quickly become a pariah amongst my so called conservative friends over the election issues. I, like your professor friend, find it morally and politically reprehensible to cast a vote for Mitt Romney. I have actually been kicked out of forums for questioning his motivations and his uncanny talent for changing positions at the drop of the hat. Unlike many, however, I find it just as difficult to support Obama (I was) for a second term. Instead I am supporting a socially liberal third party candidate. It’s articles like this one that reinforce my decision, knowing that although we may all be different, not everyone will judge you negatively for it.
    “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” -John Quincy Adams

  • Dennis Stork

    I agree with the sentiment but please get the bible references right! The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats is not Matthew 24:31–46. That is the parable of the Thief in the Night. You were off by a chapter. It is Matthew 25:31–46.

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

      Dennis, someone already pointed that out dozens of comments above yours. And typos happen, so please give a blogger a break; I bet Jesus would.

      Blessings,
      Tim

  • AJ

    I’m a Catholic Democrat. I loved you post. God bless you. Four more years!!

  • Mark

    I am a Christian Democract because I understand that the truth of original sin and that the sinful nature of man leads to the ravenous use of leverage and power over the weakest in order to make money, and the making of money has been distorted as the ultimate of God’s Will by the Christian Right, or those on the Right who claim to be Christian. And the making of money by way of leverage through any means necessary (free market capitalism) is the lead plank of theRepublican Party’s platform. One person’s regulation is another person’s protection. The Democratic Party does a much better job of protecting the weak from those who use leverage unjustly, which I believe is what God instructed us to do. “Lean to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the Ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow”. Isaiah 1:17

  • Ezra

    To address need and giving amongst Republican-led and Democratic-led states as it pertains to the poor:
    “Among states that voted Republican in the last three elections, all but one gets more money back from the federal government than it pays in taxes. For most Democratic states, it’s the opposite. Looked at this way, the red states are the moochers and the blue states are the makers. ”

  • Dennis

    At what point did Jesus say “legislate for the poor”? He didnt, he asked for personal sacrifice. In a Christian world Christians would meet each other’s needs. The party that demands more and more of what you own while grandstanding about their benevolence is hardly a picture of charity, especially when their efforts are about staying in power. Unwilling to impose budget controls, attacking the church and our personal freedoms, growing gov as an ideology, you will reap what you sow.

    • Sheri

      Well said, Dennis.

    • Steve

      Voting for legislation that will increase your taxes so that there is a social safety net, and health care for all – you mean that kind of personal sacrifice?

  • Michelle

    Thank you, Ellen. I see family and friends that profess to be Christian and see themselves as Conservative. It has turned me off to religion seeing the hypocrisy in our society. A party that talks about Christian values and then threatens to kill people with their guns. People who believe in charity only if they deem someone deserving. People who think the influence of money is evil and feel like the government is stealing theirs. They want small government but the fight to have the government interfere with circumstances they know nothing about. They talk about family values and refuse to have compassion for other families. Reading this article renewed my hope for religion.

    • Dennis

      Why attack only one side? Republicans and their guns, sure. There is no way you are just taking an outside the box view and changing your mind if you are only disgusted with that. I could write three pages of offenses by both parties. Reading your comment renewed my thoughts that Christians don’t know why they believe what they do anymore…

      • Dennis

        *3 pages about the offenses of both parties.

  • http://www.tnr.com/print/article/politics/magazine/108185/blue-states-are-scandinavia-red-states-are-guatemala Ezra

    To address need and giving amongst Republican-led and Democratic-led states as it pertains to the poor:
    “Among states that voted Republican in the last three elections, all but one gets more money back from the federal government than it pays in taxes. For most Democratic states, it’s the opposite. Looked at this way, the red states are the moochers and the blue states are the makers. ”

  • John Cunningham

    What a right on the point, well-done essay! You can tell how close to the mark it is by the vigor of the howls of protest from the right. Thanks, Ellen, for your courage in putting this well-reasoned essay out there.

  • thanksforthis

    I grew up as a Christian Republican, but as I’ve learned more life lessons I lean more toward Democrat. I don’t think it’s right to just look at gay marriage and abortion as the only issues. I really feel that Republicans don’t actually care about these issues, it’s just an easy way to get votes while still having financial policies detrimental to 95%+ Americans.

    Many Repuiblican/Christian people I grew up with scowl at people asking for a couple dollars to help feed them or their family. They just say “oh they are just going to buy booze with it” or “lazy people should get a job”. Maybe some are, but I know if I was in a situation where I had to stand outside a store begging for change to feed my family, I’d pray to God that someone would take pity on me. Anyone willing to just sit outside and beg for money for days on end is in some kind of trouble.

    Lastly I really tire of the cherry picking economics on both sides. Repubs complaining about gas prices now? They were actually higher where I live in 2007/2008 than they are now. They came down because the economy crashed under Bush.

    Dems bragging about how great the Clinton years were? Yeah they were great, but alot of the economic surplus was driven by market speculation inflating the stock market, that in turn fueled real estate, and in turn that brought in a ton of tax dollars over what would normally be expected. And of course that crashed the market, which had nothing to do with Bush. That crash wiped out wealth and jobs, and created problems when budgets had built in expectations of that market continuing.

    • DaveP

      > They came down because the economy crashed under Bush.

      Low gas prices are a great benefit to poor people; the economy should crash more often.

    • Joel kretzmann

      >”had nothing to do with Bush: really???
      DaveP: Perhaps rich use the poor in the poorer states, & then richer states have to flow into the poorer states.

      Food for thought.

  • Thomas Carr

    Ellen Painter Dollar. Thank you for your eloquent labor of love. Too many of the rest of us have been silent, and to be sure, ill-equipped to say what needed to be said.

  • http://www.ourwaldobungie.com Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie

    Thank you for writing such a thoughtful post. It’s like you reached into my brain and articulated what I have been trying to explain to my conservative friends/family-in-law for a long time. If you had only written this back in ’02 when I was a freshman at a conservative Christian college and was trying to explain to people why I had a Kerrey ’02 bumper sticker on my car. It would have saved me a lot of time/frustration! :)

  • http://isaiah40.wordpress.com Lueg Skywalker

    Ellen,
    I’m a Reagan Republican and I agree that Jesus isn’t particularly interested in our party affiliation. I think you listed the arguments for being on the right fairly. We can argue policy until we are blue in the face. But I do have a few quibbles with what you said.

    You said it was unfair to tax the rich more than the poor, but that it was just. That simply isn’t true from God’s point of view. In Moses’s law, he was very clear that all were taxed the same and specifically that the rich should not be taxed more than the poor. If you tax the rich out of existence, then you tax away the opportunities the poor have to enrich themselves by being employed.

    In fact, ultimately, to tax the rich is to tax the poor even more because the taxes come from the profits of what they sell or serve and that gets passed onto the consumer. I’m for no corporate taxes whatsoever. Indeed, let’s make it a consumption tax with no loopholes and be done with it.

    I also agree that governments should be there to help the poor. Proverbs makes that clear. But please don’t mix up governments with people when it comes to Jesus saying that if you did it to the least of these, you did it unto him. Tax payers aren’t going to be numbered among the sheep. Those who gave sacrificially and willingly will be. For it to please God, it is what we pull out of our own pockets, who we visit in prison personally and at risk of our own lives and well being who will enter into his rest, by his grace and mercy. Not at the coercion of the government.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Steve

      Yeah, I’d hate to see Sheldon Adelson or the Koch brothers “taxed out of existence” just so a few thousand people can maybe not die because they can’t afford health care. And even Mittster – I mean, how can he and his poor family survive without all that money he takes in every year for doing nothing? Oh, I forgot, he’s a job creator – that’s what he’s doing with all that money he send out of the country so he doesn’t have to contribute to his country?

      I really do wonder if you people are serious sometimes……

  • DaveP

    In Roman times, the poor sided with Jesus, the rich sided with Herod.

    Today, the poor side with Romney, the rich side with Obama.

    This election will really separate the Christians from the Pharisees!

    • Andrew

      Yep, the poor side with Romney. Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, all the poor. Got it.

      C’mon, Dave–you’re just not making any sense with this one.

      • DaveP

        > Yep, the poor side with Romney. Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, all the poor. Got it.

        I didn’t say “only the poor sided with Jesus”. Some of the more enlightened Romans, rich people, etc, also sided with Jesus. Such as Saul of Tarsus (St. Paul).

        > … you’re just not making any sense with this one.

        Eric, much earlier in the comments, posted the numbers:

        > … four of the five richest states in the nation are solidly democrat (Alaska is an outlier due to low population size and high oil incomes) and the five poorest states in the union are the staunchest Republican states (http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/09/24/the-5-richest-and-5-poorest-states-in-america/#photo-1)

    • Steve

      I assume that you mean the poor in spirit. Or are you referring to the poor in intellect? Either way, if anyone who’s poor really thinks Romney gives a fig about them, they really are drinking your kool-aid.

  • Joe Gerber

    I am a libertarian, conservative, evangelical Christian that works as a professional social worker. I have seen first hand the ravages of both Democratic and Republican policies on the “most vulnerable.” I have to say, Democratic policies are devestating to the most vulnerable while neo-conservative policy has been almost just as bad. The only way I can conceive of a regenerate person voting for Democrats would be due to ignorance. For example, being ignorant of the Democratic platform regarding abortion is the most glaring example. While there are a handful of pro-life Democrats, the vast majority are ver pro-choice (and no one more so than President Obama). 50 million plus humans have been denied their civil rights since Roe V. Wade. There is no justification for the violation of the human rights of the unborn (the most vulnerable among us). There were of course “Christians” who condoned slavery and the slave trade with some of the same arguments. We now look back and realize that those Democrats were on the wrong side of history and also were objectively wrong. I am convinced that today’s Democrats will be looked back on in the same light. Again, voting for Obama or other Democrats out of ignorance is one thing, but voting with knowledge is a violation of moral conscious.

  • Ted Majdosz

    A Christian should not align themselves blindly with any political party.
    How can any Christian when faced with the non violent Gospel of the non violent Jesus support Obama and his war making and drone attacks that reign down death on innocent civilians, just this past Sunday three young children were killed in a U.S./NATO air strike to add to the recent killing/murder of eight Afghan women and young girls by a U.S./Nato air strike. Ted Majdosz

  • Anna

    The government trying to replace the churches job isn’t working but enabling more and more people in poor choices. It’s the churches job, not government, to reach “the least of these” and therefor reach out to meet spiritual needs in meeting physical needs- just as Christ did. This is JUST the tip of the iceberg!

  • Sheri

    I am a registered Republican and a believer in Christ. A Christ follower can be found in any political party because Jesus cares about a human’s heart condition – not the way they externally label and are labeled. That said, I don’t appreciate the label put on me by Dems that I am selfish, greedy, and don’t care for the poor. For 3 years, I worked as a social worker at a nursing home, where I had the chance to minister to the “least of these”. I had the joy of shopping and buying pretty dresses for precious little grandmas who had been literally forgotten and abandoned (some of them) by families and the world, in general. My job was to try to have seniors here discharged if they were able to, and my job was to find creative ways to help them. Funny how Dems like to show how caring they are by how they give to nursing homes. Nursing homes don’t need more money – they need human volunteers to come in and hold the hands of these precious elderly people. I believe in the government supporting our most vulnerable, but many people want the government to do it all so they don’t have to. It’s laziness.

    Anyway, I also initiated a program that brings children and seniors in our community together, my husband and I sponsor three children from 3rd world countries and write them letters on a regular basis. I love meeting, finding, and reaching out to those in the dark corners of society. I’m not saying all this to pump myself up but rather to show that when people say Repubs are bad at reaching out to the least of these, they are generalizing and being ignorant. Both parties are guilty of generalizing about the other but it’s not right. I also live in a town that has had a lot of corruption and division, so two years ago I initiated a children’s parade to help people in our town focus on what we all have in common and love: our children. So, please don’t think Repubs are all about money. I have many friends and relatives who are Repubs and they have huge hearts. My bro and sis-in-law just spent their summer not at Disneyland but instead they chose to go to Africa to work with the “least of these”. Yes, they too are Republicans. I could go on and on.

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

      Sheri, you make an excellent point. In my writing world, I work alongside many Christian writers who are Republican, and can point to all sorts of ways that they are living out the Gospel. That’s why I chose to focus in this post on the party platforms and how I see those platforms in light of the Gospel, rather than on individual Democrats or Republicans.

      And my finger has hovered over the “Trash” button when I’ve read some of the comments here that make blanket statements about the moral character of Republicans and Democrats. This conversation is not meant to be an attack on individuals or even a group of people, nor is it holding up any individuals or groups as morally superior. Other than Romney and Obama themselves, as the primary spokespeople and representatives of their party’s platforms right now, this post is about broad platforms and emphases, not individuals.

    • DaveP

      > For 3 years, I worked as a social worker at a nursing home, where I had the chance to minister to the “least of these”.

      It sounds like you have brought lots of happiness to lots of people all over the world!

      I, too, used to help out in a nursing home (playing piano and recording oral histories), but now that I am older I realize that the one getting helped was actually me. When I played piano, I received far more in applause than I gave in musicianship.

      One of the gems of history given to me by a lady at nursing home: her mother was at a county fair when she was a little girl where Ulysses S. Grant had come to speak.

      After Grant spoke, they presented him with a Bible. The little girl followed Grant, and when Grant thought no one was looking, he slipped the Bible under a pile of napkins.

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

    I am floored by the response this post has gotten, which makes me think there are a lot more of us out there who are afraid to talk about being a Christian and a Democrat because of the baggage that comes with both of those terms. I appreciate everyone’s input, particularly those of you who are much more informed about policy than I am. And I appreciate that many of you who disagree with me have done so charitably. At this point, I cannot possibly respond to every comment but I do read them all. I want to make two points for additional comments:

    1) I do have a comment policy, which you can read here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ellenpainterdollar/2011/12/comment-policy/ I have only deleted two comments from this thread so far because I considered them defamatory—one that talked about Romney’s Mormon faith in an offensive way, and one that questioned the intelligence of a fellow commenter. I will continue to delete comments that violate my comment policy. Comments are coming in so fast and furious that I might miss one, so please alert me if I let one slip through accidentally.

    2) If this comment thread becomes overly focused on abortion politics, I will close the comments. While I recognize abortion as a valid issue for discussion when we’re talking about party politics, I deliberately avoided discussing it in my original post. I have written extensively elsewhere about why I am a pro-choice Christian, and have also written in cooperation with pro-life Christians who model gracious and welcoming conversation around this most difficult topic. Unfortunately, I find that those on both sides of the abortion debate have a particularly hard time being gracious toward those on the other side. I will not allow this thread to become a debate about abortion.

    Thank you all for reading and participating. I am grateful for your words.

    • DaveP

      > one that questioned the intelligence of a fellow commenter.

      Ellen, if someone questions my intelligence or otherwise thinks they are insulting me, please feel free to not delete their post! It would be a change to have my intelligence questioned by someone who wasn’t my wife or kids. :)

    • Frank

      I understand that truth about abortion is extremely inconvenient to any other agenda.

  • Cate R.

    Hey, Everyone. Dave P knows what’s best for the world. And with all of the Conservative sources he’s been citing how can we argue that?

    To Dave P. Sleep well tonight knowing that if the unthinkable happened and you lost your entire family, life savings and the ability to make a living your fellow Americans have voted and will continue to vote to support the very social programs that you would become reliant on. Because that’s what sets us apart from 2nd and 3rd world countries. And the evolutionary process makes universal healthcare in this country inevitable.

    • DaveP

      > Dave P knows what’s best for the world.

      If only everyone had your positive attitude!

      > Sleep well tonight knowing that if the unthinkable happened and you lost your entire family, life savings and the ability to make a living your fellow Americans have voted and will continue to vote to support the very social programs that you would become reliant on.

      Actually, I’d just go live in some bushes. That’s what I did for a while before I had a family, or any money, or a job. I slept very well there.

  • Mike

    I find this discussion fascinating and thought-provoking for my own life and worldview.
    But, while I see many political viewpoints, evidence, counter-evidence, and details on issues, that part is all focused on the political party side of this equation.
    I would really like to see a (very) brief section on why the main discussants in this conversation would say they are Christians. I believe Ms. Dollar said she believes the Nicene Creed. Is that the basis of your faith, or is their anything else? Maybe, just in response to my post, people could post why they call themselves a Christian. Then I will be able to put the entire discussion into its proper context.

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

      Great question! Please chime in folks.

      I used the Nicene Creed to explain that I believe all the fairly standard Christian doctrine. Really, for me it’s all about the resurrection as ultimate proof that God can make the broken whole and the dead live. Without the resurrection, I’m honestly not sure how I would get up in the morning. This world is so sad and angry and hurting and broken. Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection tell me that God knows and cares and is more powerful than the worst stuff that life throws at us.

      • DaveP

        > Really, for me it’s all about the resurrection as ultimate proof that God can make the broken whole and the dead live.

        I wonder what might happen to Christianity once medical science is able to do the same thing.

        Now that humans know how lightning works, Zeus hasn’t been a major player, god-wise.

        • http://www.allisonmayer.me Aliy Mayer

          “Now that humans know how lightning works, Zeus hasn’t been a major player, god-wise.”
          :)

    • http://www.allisonmayer.me Aliy Mayer

      I think the Nicene Creed nicely summarizes what I believe as well.

      I consider myself a Christian because I believe that Jesus is the son of God (and one in the same with God) sent to save me from my sinful nature and model the path to holiness.

  • Josh

    Hi Ellen,

    Let me start by saying that your justification for voting Democrat is compelling and obviously well thought out. I have had many discussions with my grandmother and she cites the perceived care for the ‘least of these’ as her primary reason for being both Christian and a Democrat. I have a problem with this justification. If the ‘least of these’ was really taken to heart then where does the unborn child come in. Who can be more helpless, more in need of the Christian to stand up for them? I pray I am not assuming that you believe that life starts at conception, even a matter as simple as this has been clouded in our culture. As far as I know this administration has not been a defender of life in the womb and at an average of 1.6 million abortions a year since Roe v. Wade in 1973 how can we as Christians gloss over this mass murder of our own people. There is a strong possibility that the next president will have the opportunity to appoint two new Supreme Court justices, that means if the right person is elected, the unborn will finally be defended. The ‘least of these’ will have a voice.

  • Kris

    Ellen, spot on. I was born and raised as a mormon. To some here, you can let go of the idea that they are different or a cult of any sort. Their religious story is no different than any other story in the bible. Due to the neoconservative movement of the mainstream christian that you are so aware of and speak so well about, I found my way out of the church at as a child. When you are a child, things are very simple. To me, the beliefs of the conservative right (republican party) are directly opposed to the intentions of the bible and I conscientiously objected to going there anymore. Since I could barely consider myself agnostic, really closer to being atheist; more accurately, buddhist. However, my belief system is so completely humanitarian and pacifist. Love your neighbor. Help the weaker, the poor. Do the greatest for the greater good so that we may all survive and prosper.

    What our republican lords would have us do is simply a return to feudal society and live in the dark ages once again. Should we sit aside and not defend the people of our country or the helpless population of a country being murdered by its own government? No. Should we spend the money that our people need at home on making war around the world for political or monetary gain? How far from christian principles can a nation go? Even the Democrats haven’t worked hard enough to reduce our military to a national defense only posture in my opinion. The few detractors above only serve to reinforce the idea that the GOP is actually anti-christian. Satan is said to be sharply dressed, handsome, charismatic and speak with a silver tongue. They speak of the RINO (Republican in name only), I say they are christian only when it serves their purpose – like influencing large masses of people. The abortion debate they love to crow about is nothing more than a red herring, a false flag, a tool they use to prove they are christian. Evidence you ask? Try being a poor infant once you are born to the unwilling mother forced to carry your embryo. They’ve got your back, right up and until you are born. Then, they are done with you. You hold no further political value for them.

  • Stephanie

    Unfortunately, your argument is invalid. Republicans DO want to care for the sick, less fortunate and for those that need assistance to care for their young children or for health care. The political argument lies in the line that is drawn between ideologies. Where do you draw the line between helping those truly in need and providing free handouts to citizens who take advantage of the system? Many fiscal conservatives regularly give to charity 30% or more of their income and volunteer on a regular basis. Politics are invalid when it comes to helping those in need. As a general consensus, it’s in our nature to want to do better not only for ourselves but for others as well. As a fiscal conservative and female small business owner; helping others and bringing more good into the world is what drives me and my business. The current administration and liberal platform is trying to make those in my position the enemy of their regime, simply because we believe individuals have more power in helping people by good nature rather than by force. In openly politicizing this argument you and the administration have lost all credibility.

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

      “Where do you draw the line between helping those truly in need and providing free handouts to citizens who take advantage of the system?” – I honestly don’t think Jesus cared a whole lot about drawing that sort of line. I’d rather live in a country that errs on the side of generosity for all. I think “free handouts,” even to those who don’t deserve it, is a hallmark of God’s love for humanity.

      Now obviously, any government aid program should have safeguards in place to try to ensure that it’s not being scammed. But we are smart people. Certainly we can figure that part out. Saying that we should be careful about helping anyone because someone might cheat us doesn’t strike me as a particularly Christ-oriented perspective.

  • Charlie

    Medicare Part D – passed in 2006
    War in Iraq – started March 20, 2003
    War in Afghanistan – started October 7, 2001
    Bush Tax Cuts:
    Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, passed June 7, 2001
    Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 was passed by the United States Congress on May 23, 2003 and signed into law by President George W. Bush on May 28, 2003.

    What are the major factors of the debt we have today? All of the above.. all happened prior to 2007… like magic… the Dems take over and all of a sudden they are responsible for the policies and wars that came before they took over… Makes a great sound bite… Did one of the Mitts point this out to you?

    • DaveP

      > What are the major factors of the debt we have today? All of the above.. all happened prior to 2007…

      When Bush became president in 2001, the total debt was $5.77 trillion. When Obama became president in 2009, the total debt was $10.41 trillion. So in 8 years under Bush, the debt went up by (10.41 -5.77) = $4.64 trillion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States_public_debt

      Obama, in 2008, said that adding $4.64 trillion to the debt was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kuTG19Cu_Q

      However, the debt is now $16.02 trillion. So in less than 4 years under Obama and the Democrats, the debt went up by (16.02 – 10.41) = $5.71 trillion. http://www.usdebtclock.org/

      Thus Obama and the Democrats, by Obama’s own words, are far more irresponsible and unpatriotic than Bush and the Republicans:

      8 years under Bush/Republicans = $4.64 trillion debt increase.
      Less than 4 years under Obama/Democrats = $5.71 trillion debt increase.

      • Steve

        Hey, I get your point – so you must be in favor of letting the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy expire, right? To close the deficit? Because, hey, you are obviously so concerned about it…..

  • James

    Amen, Sister!

  • http://www.businomitics.com FinanceBuzz

    It is interesting and liberals like this lady, who truly seem to have a motivation of kindness and love toward others versus a radical socialistic agenda or a desire to undermine American values, I don’t have a vehement battle with. Now, I do exception with her conclusions. Jesus does encourage all the things she says about helping the poor. Yes…we should do these things. But where does he go and ultimately physically FORCE someone to do that against their will? Following Jesus is all about choice. She used the word generous with regard to possessions once. When you are complying with a law that implements high taxation to help others, that is not necessarily being generous, rather that is obeying the law. Generosity is borne by the heart, by one’s motives and complying with the law is not necessarily generous because there is no legal option. Finally, I do truly believe that the best way to help people, is to create a robust economic environment where ultimately people do better thanks to increased economic opportunity. Yes, some people will get rich and make more than others, but overall, people will have the opportunity to do better. I truly see that as being far more helpful than keeping them bound to whatever limits come with government programs for their needs. No matter how “generous” we are with those programs, there simply is not enough money to go around to help people achieve the quality of life that can be had with a robust economic environment.

  • Deebie

    Does she have any idea what being poor in America is like? If she thinks it is Christain to put people in a place of dependency with other peoples money. She should have to live on foodstamps and wealfare so she will know what she religates the people she claims to have compassion.

    • Steve

      Hey, that’s right! Let’s get rid of all that nasty welfare and food stamps – maybe when the poor start really starving they will go grab one of those millions and millions of jobs that are just sitting there waiting for someone to fill them. Boy, you Christians really do have it figured out!

  • Jeff

    Thanks Ellen. I appreciate your thoughts. While not a Christian, I say “well said”.

  • JFowler

    Amen!

  • David

    Dear Ms. Dollar,

    I just cannot support a platform that is for the murder of so man children, yes abortion, define it however you wish, it is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Christian, anti-human, and anti-choice because the little ones that are aborted certainly had their choice taken away.

  • Ken

    Her argument is that Government should be the vehicle to do the work of Christians. Putting aside that the Democratic Platform is very anti-christian (pro-abortion, pro-stem cell research, pro-gay marriage, etc…that’s a different, yet valid argument.) Being a Catholic Christian and a Conservative, I see it like this… If God really did favor a top-down approach to poverty reduction, why wouldn’t He establish a government with the power to wipe away poverty on demand instead of leaving things to chance and the possibility that someone like conservatives would come along and mess up His plans?

    I think perhaps we dehumanize the poor when we treat them as nothing more than problems to be solved, and we dehumanize the rich when we treat them as wallets to be picked.

    Wealth and poverty are catalysts for bringing the rich and the poor together in community, and community is the hallmark of the church’s mission on Earth. Government is not community. Government is one of community’s tools, a coercive one we use when it is necessary to force people to behave in ways they would not otherwise behave voluntarily.

    Ever since the New Deal, the Church in America has gotten way too comfortable looking to government as a solution to the problem of poverty. This flies in the face of the traditional Catholic/Christian emphasis that helping the poor is an individual duty imposed upon all of us by God, with the Church through her charitable activities taking the lead. Christ said “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and the unto God the things that are God’s.” Looking to Caesar to help the poor shifts the duty from us onto the State, a duty which the State routinely performs poorly, often trapping the poor into lives of dependence upon the State for a meager living. Some people in our society, through no fault of their own, cannot work due to mental or physical impairment. Those should always receive assistance from the State for a basic standard of living. For all others, we should recall the admonition of Saint Paul: [8] Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nothing, but in labour and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you. [9] Not as if we had not power: but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us. [10]For also when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

    [11] For we have heard there are some among you who walk disorderly, working not at all, but curiously meddling. [12] Now we charge them that are such, and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ, that, working with silence, they would eat their own bread.

    Our charitable efforts should always be geared to teaching those who are unemployed to find work and become self-supporting. Many of the disorders in our society are attributable to our fostering a culture of dependence upon government and subsidizing sloth. To most Catholics/Christians of earlier generations this would have seemed common sense. That it may strike many Catholics/Christians as radical today is a testament to how far off the beam we have gotten as a society.

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

      “…why wouldn’t He establish a government with the power to wipe away poverty on demand instead of leaving things to chance”

      That’s like asking, “if Jesus cared so much about healing people, why didn’t he give super healing powers to all his disciples forever, so people wouldn’t have to rely on unreliable, market-based healthcare systems,” and “if Jesus cared so much about getting people to repent and drawing them closer to God, then why didn’t he rescind free will and replace it with foolproof human will that is perfectly in line with God’s will?”

      Satan and the disciples both wanted Jesus to take on worldly power to prove that he was indeed the Son of God. And Jesus said, “Nope, that’s not how we’re doing this thing.” The idea of Jesus establishing a foolproof government is absurd, not to mention completely anathema to everything we know about Jesus and how he chose to change the world.

      Look, this essay was titled “Why I am a Christian Democrat,” not, “Why Democrats Rock and Republicans Suck.” I hold certain values as a Christian. When I vote for the leadership of my country, I look at whether candidates reflect those values or not. I am simply arguing that the Democratic Party platform more closely addresses the concerns that Jesus focused on in his earthly ministry. People had abortions in Jesus’s day. People got married. People were gay. But Jesus didn’t choose to focus his preaching and ministry on those issues, but rather on poverty, justice, oppression, sickness, and exclusion. I’m just taking his lead.

      As for abortion and gay marriage, I find it odd that so many conservatives argue that the solution to our problems lies with individuals living out their Christian faith, not with the governments that (in more liberal eyes) aren’t doing enough. And then protest because their government isn’t doing enough about issues that they see as central to their Christian faith.

  • http://facebook Natalie Barrick

    Intresting points…however the Bible has over 2,350 verses dealing in money stewardship and Management. This country is in major financial trouble from both parties. Overspending and greed is sin. Education in this country used to be done be the churches and hospital care by the churches. Let’s not be fooled for one second that Obama is that deeply concerned about helping the poor. He is looking out for his best interest’s and isn’t going down easily. Groernment has overstepped its boundaries and has made things difficult on churches. When people need help who do the come to? I absolutely agree we need to help each other….but to who’s standard? God has expectations of us….if we turn for evil God will be faithful and heal our land. Providing everyone with free health care, free school, free cell phones for that matter is not going to fix the deep seeded problems plaguing this country. We should not turn our backs on the needy however, we were designed to work by our heavenly Father. Giving everything to everyone without knowing how to financially pay for it is just as big of a sin as turning your back on someone. As history shows civilations how been destroyed because of declining morals. For me I will vote for the person with biblical principles. Free healthcare won’t matter if we arn’t around to use it.

  • Mark Dissette

    I have been made, the least of these, over the past 2 and a half years. I went from a 60K a year job to 12K on unemployment. I’ve made mistakes in life. I didn’t go to school I went to work taught myself everything I know worked hard and rose in an industry that is typically hard wired for college graduates. I taught at a college for 4 years, without any degrees, I lived my life and didn’t make choices to further educate myself and earn degrees. I felt I was doing the right thing. I was wrong. Now I can’t even get an interview in my industry because I don’t have the “college degree” to pass the computers HR requirements. I’ve lost my entire career and my financial life is in ruins. After 2 years on unemployment I finally got a job offer. To be a stocking person for the midnight to 6 shift at a grocery store. It paid 9.11 an hour (sort of karmic). I’m 52 years old. I’ve had 13 major operations. My back has been broken my leg shattered and both my arms have had major surgical repairs done on them. I took the job. The first night they ran the shift till 9:30 in the morning saying we stayed till the job was done, I stayed. I went home and sat in the shower until it turned cold weeping saying over and over, “I don’t know if I can do this”. I spent the rest of the day and evening in bed taking what I could to ease the pain. I lasted a week and a half. Both of my hands became swollen and numb, my elbows burned with intense pain that would not stop. I couldn’t hold a glass of water. I wanted so badly to succeed in this job. I knew it was the only chance I had been given in over 2 years. I tried. I failed. I wept. They fired me because I had to miss two shifts because I just couldn’t physically make it. I am on my last hope; I am trying as hard as I possibly can. If it weren’t for the services offered I don’t know where I’d be but it would be a darker place than I am now. I had to learn to accept these benefits because if I didn’t I would be homeless and helpless. I thank the people who have committed to help those like me, and those who are worse off. Each time others complain about the people on welfare, unemployment, food stamps etc. I cringe, that is me. People say horrid things and they think it only is directed at those who abuse the system. My ears burn my heart hangs heavy and my self-confidence is shattered at a time when I need it the most, by words. I am that person who needs help right now. I have tried my entire life to help others and be a good man. I have many friends who would say I’ve done just that, I just hope and pray to get the chance to have some type of security again. Not what I had just a bit to continue my journey without looking in the mirror and feeling lost. There is my story of “one of those” people.

    • DD Davis

      Dear Mr. Dissette.
      Bless you. Thank you for sharing your story as the “least of these.” I can relate. Only I did have the college degree! Not to mention all kinds of industry credentials and was even past president of my field’s professional organization and board officer on others. And I still couldn’t get the interviews. I was on unemployment for almost two years and finally got a job in my field making 1/6 of what I had been making and no benefits. And I’m 10 years younger than you . . . I m writing this to help you know that the college degree may or may NOT have helped. In my case it didn’t. in fact, I even got myself accepted to a top 10 graduate school program but decided against it after realizing the money I would have to borrow to go back to school was not worth the salary I could (only hope) to get in the new field. It wasn’t worth putting my family into debt. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. You are not alone.

    • acarter

      To “one of those people”- your story is very heartfelt, I am one of those people who was born to an uneducated family, was one of the first to actually go to college. I was told that “someone like me” was never going to be able to go to college, but I worked hard, as a single mother working in a work program at my local college. Therefore I had a job there, and I was able to go to school also because they worked around my classes. Another program that they provided for me was financial aid, and a program called the “cares program”, this program gave incentives to help single mothers be able to go to college. It was a wonderful program and I cherished it. I too, am one of those people who worked hard for everything I have, I eventually got all of my schooling finished and I love my job, working with youth. I have alot of respect for those who have worked their jobs for many years without college degrees and I feel that their dedication and experience has been equally competitive to my college experience, in some cases even more so respectable. They are wise women and know their jobs well, so I understand that it would be a terrible blow for them to experience the same situation as yourself, I cringe thinking about them in that situation. Mr. Dissette, thank you for sharing, I think its necessary for people to put this kind of stuff out there, so we cannot ignore the truth.

  • Conservadiva

    http://patriotdepot.com/weapon-of-a-s-s-destruction/ This video is a very clear answer to this article. If people are intellectually dishonest enough to agree with this article that publishes no statistics or facts to back up any of the statements that the author makes, then you are brainwashed. Don’t bother viewing the video. And yes, please go ahead and vote for Obama, because you are part of his base. Every candidate has one.

  • bigjoesaddle

    Can I say first the posts are interesting, thanks all who wrote them.
    YOU are blessed by God when YOU give, if you give to a good charity, the CHARITY is blessed for helping the needy person with your money, and of course the NEEDY PERSON receiving is blessed. If a thief ROBS someone with a gun and the robber gives the money he stole to a needy person, the robed person is NOT BLESSED, the ROBER is NOT BLESSED, and the needy person is NOT BLESSED with stolen money. The Robber represents the GOVERNMENT taking money at the point of a gun (don’t believe me, try not paying your taxes, then TRY not going to jail). God’s blessings come through charity from the HEART, not forced charity by a Government.

  • Dave

    This president is pushing abortion. You can justify abortion? And, Yes, I would like to spend my money the way I choose. If The Church does not stand up for righteousness,There will be no more USA.

    • Jeol Kretzmann

      President is pushing contraception & reproductive health, not abortions, which decreasing the need for abortions. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Religion says god sees into your heart.

  • http://absolutegrace.wordpress.com Linda D

    Hi! I don’t want to argue about being a Democrat or Republican, because none of that matters in the long run. What does matter is the premise that one group or another care for the “least of these” more than another, which simply isn’t true. The best thing our country gives us is freedom to serve others. In the Bible, the government is called to welcome aliens when they honor the rules of the land, to care for the fatherless and widows, and judge without partiality. Sometimes our government has done this well, other times it hasn’t. Both parties have succeeded and failed. But what really matters is that we vote in people who will continue to support the Church’s and individual’s right to serve and help all of the ‘least.’ I volunteer full-time with a ministry that feeds homeless, has bought group homes to house the mentally ill, and provides several homes for recovering addicts. However, because we are Christian, have Bible Studies and teach that Jesus is the Son of God, we were disqualified from any so-called government assistance. But guess what, we don’t need it–because individuals, businesses, and churches are the ones who pour their hearts, time, and money into this ministry. In fact–we don’t want the government involved. Also, my friends that are part of a Catholic ministry helping young women on the streets, and guess what—the Democratic platform ( i.e. ObamaCare) is going to force them to shut down, because they don’t comply to its dictates. Government should not tie our hands from serving. Internationally, more of the least of these have been cared for through Christian organizations, like Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Blessing, and Compassion than government has ever done.. When our government tries to send money to places like Haiti or Southern Sudan, the funds end up unaccounted for or handed over to poor stewards. So, the only thing we need from government is to protect our freedoms, protect our shores, and establish justice. People have BIG hearts. And when Jesus returns, He won’t be praising Democrats or Republicans for their deeds–he’s going to judge individuals–the very thoughts and intents of our hearts–and to determine if we loved and served Him, by loving and serving the least of these.

    • acarter

      Linda D., well said!! My favorite part is where you said, “And when Jesus returns, He won’t be praising Democrats or Republicans for their deeds–he’s going to judge individuals–the very thoughts and intents of our hearts–and to determine if we loved and served Him, by loving and serving the least of these.”

      • Frank

        Indeed and saying ” hey my taxes were used to do this” just won’t fly.

  • Gregg

    I’m not going to tell you why I think you’re generally wrong to vote Democrat and wrong in your evaluation that the Democratic party better emulated Jesus than the GOP (and, for the record, I think neither that Jesus would identify AS a Republican nor that the GOP gets it right 100% of the time).

    What I do want to note is that I don’t think (and I think I would be called theologically-, economically-, socially-, and politically-conservative by any definition), theologically-conservative. I think that based, primarily on two comments you made. The first was that you believe in the resurrection and the virgin birth, “especially the resurrection.” That suggests to me that you don’t completely “buy” it all (“especially” the resurrection, but not so much the virgin birth … and maybe not other statements of faith of the creed). The second comment that makes me believe you’re not actually conservative is that the scriptures are not “consistent”. For me (and I think your subsequent comments bear this out), that’s a red flag that you’re really believe in relativism. My guess is you’re also the kind of person who would say, “A good God wouldn’t allow [insert here name of any person "good" by human standards] to go to Hell”, and that, at heart, you’re universalist.

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

      First, you’re reading far too much into my “especially.” All I meant by that is that the resurrection is absolutely central to my faith, as I explained to another commenter who said he was interested in knowing more about how/why I and various commenters on this thread define ourselves as Christian. The idea of the resurrection being the key thing on which our Christian faith ought to hinge is, of course, Biblical. Paul said it first.

      Second, the scriptures aren’t consistent. They are full of things that, at least on the surface, are contradictory. All you need to do to see that is actually read the thing. I will concede that I am not a fundamentalist. I do not believe in the literal truth of every word in the Bible. For example, I accept evolution as consistent with God the Creator. But most American Christians aren’t fundamentalists, whether they are conservative or liberal. But I do accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God and as True with a capital T–that is, containing God’s truth and using many forms to communicate it, including story, hymn, and parable.

      • Gregg

        Your first comment is fair enough. But, I disagree that the scriptures are inconsistent. One’s understanding of them might be imperfect, but I won’t concede that they’re inconsistent (and, just in case you’re thinking I’m not sophisticated enough to appreciate your qualification that they’re inconsistent “on the surface” — but maybe consistent at a deeper level that’s only fathomable by those with some superior understanding of the subtext — I mean, quite literally, that the Bible has complete internal integrity). Finally, I think it’s interesting that you didn’t comment about being universalist.

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

          You are very good at figuring out what I think based on what I don’t say! Amazing powers of clairvoyance you have.

          OK, sarcasm aside….

          I agree that the Bible has internal integrity. There are some fundamental truths that are woven throughout: our sinfulness, God’s mercy, justice, righteousness, forgiveness, and goodness, and (wait for it) the responsibility that God’s/Christ’s followers have to care for those who are shunned, marginalized, disempowered, voiceless, poor, sick, forgotten.

          I didn’t comment about the universalist thing because I’m not quite sure what you meant by it. Are you asking if I think everyone can be saved and that there is more than one path to salvation? I don’t know. I believe it is a colossal waste of our time to sit around trying to figure out who is saved and who isn’t. God is the judge, not me. I’m just trying to follow him as best I can figure out, knowing that I (like every other human being) get it wrong at least as often as I get it right. I think we will all, every single one of us, be utterly surprised by what we learn when we no longer see through a glass darkly.

          • Gregg

            And, that’s exactly my point: you declare yourself theologically-conservative, but I contend that ultimately you’re not. I’ll concede that you’re probably more conservative than many who profess to be Christians, but it’s my position that, relative to biblical conservativism, you’re not conservative.

            I don’t think I have the answers to all questions, but I do think that the Bible has correct answers to all questions it addresses (directly or by implication); and one of those questions is whether a portion of humanity will spend eternity in Hell. And, by the way, this is not an insignificant question: nothing matters more, ultimately, to a person (whether or not he or she knows it) than whether he or she might be bound for Hell; and one’s personal answer to the question of whether anyone will go to Hell is a foundational question that affects how the person thinks about the world and other people. Jesus indicated that there would be many people who claimed to know him whom He would reject. … I believe many of those people are people who truly believed that they were “good” (enough) and that, because they were “good” they missed Paul’s central message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. So, there are two major dangers in being universalist:

            1) not examining one’s own depravity to appreciate one’s need for salvation and, as a result, not accepting the gift of grace (for most — but not all — people I think this eventually leads to forsaking fellowship with the saints, substituting one’s own “wisdom” for what the Bible actually teaches — it’s no coincidence that the main-line churches have compromised principles and are, frankly, dying); and

            2) not appreciating that others absolutely need to understand their own need for salvation, and (as a result of not appreciating such) not sharing with others that real gospel message.

            Everything hangs on faith, and I think the only safe position to take on the Bible is this: it’s true (and, because it is God’s revelation of Himself to us) and good, and that — whether or not it “makes sense” within the framework of my logic (inspired by the modern “scientific” world-view) and whether or not it seems “fair” within the framework of what my “heart” tells me is “fair” (which, ultimately, is a function of selfish notions) — I (“I” being the individual who’s evaluating the Bible) accept it absolutely.

            I think Heaven is going to be so different from earth and from what we conceive Heaven to be like that there’s no serious comparison to what we conceive. In part, that means that most of what we think and do will be unspeakably-insignificant. But, what will be paramount is whether one had faith (including, I believe, faith in the accuracy of the word of God) and accepted Jesus as his / her savior.

  • Heleatunda

    Jesus said, “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good.” Mark 14:7. This tells us two very important things: 1) “Whenever you wish” means at my own discretion, and NOT when the government tries to force me to give to lazy people by being “fair” with my hard-earned money. 2) “You have the poor with you always.” To try to end poverty is to deny the truth of Jesus’ Words!
    The Bible speaks plenty about giving to those who are IN NEED. Being IN NEED is clearly different from being LAZY. “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Proverbs 10:4. If you really believe God’s Word, then you can clearly see there’s only one reason people become poor.

    • http://www.allisonmayer.me Aliy Mayer

      Careful, the Truth sometimes makes people angry. :)

      Proverbs 10:4 very applicable

    • Sharon

      @Heleatunda ~ wow. Your comment indicates that you think the people being helped by government programs are just “lazy.” How horribly sad! Did you read Mr. Mark Dissette’s story above? Or how about the worker who was injured – not on the job, but at home – who could not afford insurance, could not afford medical care, and now cannot work? Is that person “lazy”? Your comments sadden me more than you know. If not for government programs to help him, he would be homeless. And there are millions more just like Mark or the other worker (who is someone I know but choose not to name).

    • Joel kretzmann

      @Hel… There are many ways to be wealthy. So I have to wonder what the original term was. Well said Sharon. There are many poor who stay poor by refusing to be helpped.

      As for anti-abortionists, perhaps ask what your sin is?
      One topic Republicans fail to understand is the role of regulations, & no, I cannot automatically say there are too many. Of course they are a nuisance, like many job policies are.
      As I got from my Christian upbring is God knows what is your heart & only faith will raise you up.

  • jamdanny

    would someone please tell me what today’s usage of the words “liberal” and “conservative” are? bush/cheney dodged the draft/vietnam with deferments and family connections, bush was a doper as a youth and cheney got kicked out of yale for partying, bush got into yale/harvard due to family-related affirmative actions versus skill/grades, cheney’s wife writes soft-lesbian porn and their lesbo daughter is married to another lesbian and they have a biological child in the mix, bush/cheney engaged in extravagant deficit spending versus using tax dollars to pay the nation’s bills. once upon a time, all these characteristics made a person a “liberal.” today, for some reason, bush/cheney are perceived as “conservatives.” if the words “liberal” and “conservative” have no distinction, then what do people mean when they continue to use them?

  • ambrs57

    I don’t get what the problem is with single issue voters. You abolitionists act like slavery is the only thing that matters. There are other things that are important as well. What about caring for the poor? It may be true that our party supports the right to choose to own slaves, but look at all the great social programs that we have put in place to help the poor. Just look at how much government can do to protect the interests of the marginalized and promote the common good. Biblical values are not all that clear cut in any case. The Bible never gives a clear condemnation of slavery. If you don’t like slavery, then don’t own slaves. Personally, I am against slavery, but it is not right for me to force my religious views on others. So I just choose to focus on what Jesus focused on, caring for “the least of these”, the poor and the marginalized. And to do that we need big government programs. Sure, your party wants to do away with slavery, but your free market economic policies will just hurt the poor. So I will continue to vote for the party that supports bigger government social programs, because that is more important to God and for my faith than getting rid of slavery.

    • Frank

      Logic will make some people heads explode. Be careful!

    • DaveP

      :) :)

  • http://www.allisonmayer.me Aliy Mayer

    I liked this view from someone who has a different view point. I think as Christians we need to be true to what we believe and work together. Ellen and I don’t agree, but we really aren’t all that different either….

    http://allisonmayer.me/3-reasons-why-i-am-a-christian-and-a-republican/

  • ambrs57
  • Eber
  • Marc

    Thank you, Ellen Painter Dollar.

  • Diane

    I think each Christian needs to pray individually about it and seek God’s answer. It’s very hard to do just that and not let pre-judgments, society, etc affect our thinking. For me, I feel it to the very depths of my soul that I can not knowingly vote for someone who is pro-choice. I have come to terms with the death penalty. Not that I am in full agreement with the death penalty, but it can be completely avoided by the choices an adult makes. But I can not come to terms with the taking of an innocent life. I have several friends who have had abortions, and I love them with my whole heart. We all sin and can be forgiven. But I can not vote for those who work to uphold this as a “given right”. There have been many times where I wish a Republican would have voted differently on allocating funds for the poor or some public policy, but I am thankful that we as citizens also have the ability to give our money as needed to help the needy. By having fewer taxes taken out, I AM THE ONE WHO CAN CHOOSE where to give my money to help the needy. I saw a news story a couple years back (Dateline or other national news show) that studied philanthropy among Democrats and Republicans. What they found was that Republicans gave considerably more money out of their pockets. The news group dug deeper and found that it was the Christian Republicans who were giving of their money to help the needy. What I also love about this, is that they are giving their dollars to organizations they support, whereas our tax dollars may go to organizations who we would not otherwise choose to support (despite doing some measure of good). Neither party is perfect and a Christian should never feel they “have to” vote Republican in order to be a good Christian. Instead, seek God’s answer through prayer and know as much as we can about each candidate we vote for. Thanks for starting the dialogue!

    • KMorris

      You can’t claim to be pro-life but be ok with the death penalty. If you are truly pro-life you respect life from conception to NATURAL death. A death is not natural if it is ordered by a judge or jury and administered by a person with a needle full of poison. There is no true “innocent” person on this planet, unborn or otherwise. We all carry a piece of original sin, even fetuses. A fetus is certainly free of any social sin whereas a criminal is not. While that matters to us, in God’s eyes it may not.

    • Exubertastically

      Romney is pro-choice, too. So I take it you’re not voting for him, either?

  • Diane

    See my comment below. However, I don’t think all of your statements are accurate. I will not vote for Obama, but we as Christians need to be peace makers, and not generalize that all Democrats are bad. They are not, and many good things have come from both parties.

  • Michael Feaster

    Honestly I find it really abhorrent that anyone would bring up Jesus in context with supporting wealthy politicians. I’m pretty sure Jesus would have a lot to say about both parties, and our politicians. And it wouldn’t involve falling in line with a political party…
    Please keep God out of legitimizing your political choices. He’s not your personal political operative. I’m pretty sure he would be above the Democrat leader in authority… Just saying… Rather than the other way around.

  • http://towriteistowrite.wordpress.com Kathy

    “Feed my sheep.”
    Thank you for this blog post.

  • Chris

    If religion is the main force for what is driving your support for a candidate then why have this discussion at all? How can one Christian tell another he is not a Christian if he votes for a certain person? This is a rift that I believe was created by the right, not the left. I don’t remember this ever being so divided in all of my life. In fact, Jimmy Carter was the favorite of most Christian groups during his election and I don’t remember religion playing any role in the elections of Reagan and the first Bush. It was not until Clinton and Bush when we started hearing the push from the Christians on the right and all that family values bs. The right Christian movement became incredibly organized during the Clinton years and has been a divider of this country ever since. Isn’t it odd that Obama has had to defend his Christianity but Romney gets nothing about his Mormonism? Why is this? Why does the writer of this article feel the need to write this article? Religion should only be a part of what helps you decide on who to choose as a candidate, not the only part.

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

    I have just deleted a number of comments, one of which claimed the commenter was a “true Christian,” (implying that the rest of us are not) and several that went on and on about Dems being pro-abortion, along with making offensive and inaccurate assumptions about women who get abortions. I’ve said it before and will say it again, this will NOT become an argument over abortion politics. Please keep the content of your comments directly on what I wrote or what another commenter wrote. Unless you’re getting into an argument about abortion. Then please take it outside.

    • DaveP

      > I’ve said it before and will say it again, this will NOT become an argument over abortion politics.

      Hmm. Good luck with that Ellen!

      I think that’s akin to a Democrat in the 1850′s and 1860′s saying “this will NOT become an argument over slavery politics.”

  • Werner

    You cannot legislate goodness or fairness. Forcing people to do their fair share hinders their ability to give themselves and it is not giving from the heart. I worked the homeless many years. When I started, I believed the same way you did. Unfortunately the democrat policies of helping the poor actually cripple them, just like calculators have crippled our memories for basic math skills. Maybe you should read Star Parker’s book, Uncle Sam’s Plantation. That snooty, uppity feeling you seem to have that you are actually helping someone may be humbled. And considering the number of policies that help, and the number of people who are totally dependent on government, increase together, I think we need to revisit how we are helping. Jesus never told someone to keep living in sin. Jesus never told down and out women to abort their babies. Jesus said to
    The woman at the well to sin no more. How about we do that as a government? You are correct about one thing. Jesus wouldn’t align with a political party. Meaning, he wouldn’t Align himself with you, either.

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

      Never said he would!

  • SLS Harris

    Thank you for stating this so completely and eloquently. I am an independent — both in my politics and my religious views. However, what I DO believe strongly in is that a person cannot and should not call themselves a Christian merely by believing in Christ’s existence and promise and ignoring his stated mission on Earth. And I see a lot of this. I cannot reconcile the tone and the platform of the current Republican Party with Christ’s teachings. I cannot see the compatibility between Rand’s objectivism and Christian qualities. And so I cannot vote for Romney — especially when his own message seems to mutate each time the polls are posted. Thanks so much for your article!

  • DWK

    As an Australian Anglican, I find it beyond my understanding how anyone who professes to be Christian would want people not to be properly cared for when they fall sick or need help. While Australians Christians are generally aware of American history and politics, it often seems from a distance that the political notion of American exceptionalism and the positive quality of economic self reliance has superseded, or become incorrectly confused with, the basic teachings of Christ. I have family in America and have a deep respect for America and her innovation and industry, but Christ does not care one whit for RvD politics, just as he did not care one for the desire of his own Jewish people to overthrow the Romans. On judgement day, we will all be asked to account for our lives not on the basis of whether we came from a greater or lesser nation on earth or what politics we have, but purely what our hearts and faith reveals about us. On that day I would rather say that I showed compassion for others than a life based arround the accumulation of wealth and a false sense of virtue based on an ideology. The Jewish political and religious elite under Herod were fabulously wealthy and were even considered a potential threat to Rome itself, but at the same time feared and ignored the social needs of their own people as a result of this wealth. This is why Jesus turned over the money change tables in the temple – wealthy Jews were attempting to buy their salvation and gain social prestige by paying special religious tithes in public. This is no different to gaining a false sense of salvation based on economic virtue and “self reliance”, an easy trap to fall into because it conflates a positive economic quality with one that God views as important.

  • Greg McDougald

    Last line of the post – it’s always funny to me that the “least of these in a Democrat’s world never include the unborn. The group that the Democrat’s target for destruction with government money at the rate of a million and a half lives a year. When they want to talk about ” the least of these”, I’ll listen.

    One more note, the “unsafe housing” the article referred to would be typified as today’s government housing projects. Many families used to live in single family homes, until compassionate government official condemned them and drove the poor into government communes. When a family was living in a single family home, a church or organization could come in and fix it up making their life better. In government housing, in many cases, the church isn’t even allowed in the area. Then we are told that we are not compassionate. Give it a rest.

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

      There are many pro-life Christians who vote Democrat because their goal is reducing abortions rather than criminalizing them, and they see poverty reduction and govt programs to support low income families as one way to ease the economic pressures that lead to a majority if abortions. I wrote more extensively about this in an earlier comment.

      • DaveP

        > There are many pro-life Christians who vote Democrat …

        I don’t think so.

        > their goal is reducing abortions rather than criminalizing them …

        That means they are pro-choice, not anti-choice (of which pro-life is a subset).

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

          Dave, I am quoting friends who call themselves pro-life and vote Democrat. That’s all.

          • DaveP

            I was wondering what “many” meant.

            Hey, I thought you were trying to keep the discussion off abortion. :)

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

            I am. I’m done.

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

            Okay NOW I’m done.

          • DaveP

            :)

        • Nancy

          I am a pro life Christian who will vote Democratic! Mitt Romney said abortion is ‘not on his agenda’ and he has been pro choice in the past. I don’t trust him to do anything ‘Christian’ because he is not a Christian and he flip flops! I would rather vote for Obama who is giving women a ladder from poverty to middle class and birth control through Planned Parenthood.
          I don’t want any abortions to happen so it is my hope, that helping women will make a difference!

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

      It’s always funny to me that Republicans assume the unborn to be the primary “least of these” even though Jesus never said such a thing. Jesus was pretty clear on who he was talking about…people without food and drink, prisoners, the sick.

      • DaveP

        > It’s always funny to me that Republicans assume the unborn to be the primary “least of these” even though Jesus never said such a thing.

        Jesus didn’t mentioned children in that list, either. Or slaves. Only “strangers”, “the sick”, “prisoners”, “the hungry”, “the thirsty”, and “the unclothed”.

        So does that mean it’s okay to abuse healthy children, or whip slaves?

        Or was Jesus just giving examples of the “least of these”, and not a complete list?

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

          Dave, I’m going to respond to this only because if others read it, maybe they will finally get what I’m saying, which is this:

          People had babies and sex in Jesus’s time. Yet he chose to spend his limited time on this earth focusing NOT on issues around reproduction, sexuality, and marriage, but around issues of compassion and help to the weakest members of society, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, those who were excluded, which included women and children as well as the sick, etc. He did not choose to focus on reproduction, marriage, and sexuality. He chose to focus on how individuals and entire societies treat the marginalized in their societies. So, as a Christian, I have chosen to focus on the same when deciding how to live, vote, spend, give, etc. Right-leaning Christians (note that I’m not saying that they aren’t Christians just because they don’t live out their faith as I do, unlike many commenters to this post who disagree with me) choose to make abortion and, to a lesser extent, marriage the primary issues directing how they vote. I just don’t think that is consistent with the Gospel message. If Jesus had wanted zygotes to be the primary group he wanted us to protect and speak up for, I think that (being God and all) he would have said so.

          • DaveP

            > … help to the weakest members of society, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, those who were excluded, which included women and children as well as the sick, etc.

            Jesus didn’t mention women, children, “the weakest”, “the disenfranchised”, “the marginalized”, or “the excluded” in his list of the “least of these”.

            He only mentioned: “strangers”, “the sick”, “prisoners”, “the hungry”, “the thirsty”, and the “unclothed”.

            If Jesus had wanted women, children,”the weakest”, “the disenfranchised”, “the marginalized”, or “the excluded” to be the primary groups he wanted us to protect and speak up for, I think that (being God and all) he would have said so.

            But if we assume that Jesus was just giving examples, and if we make a longer list of “least of these” from “leastest” to “mostest”, here is the list I would come up with:

            From “leastest” to “mostest”:
            1) Unborn children.
            2) Children.
            3) “the weakest”
            4) “the excluded”
            4) “the disenfranchised”
            5) “the marginalized”
            6) women

            So are you saying that unborn children are less vulnerable than, say, “the disenfranchised”?

          • Sharon

            Ellen ~ I love your article and I love the way you think. Thank you for being a voice of reason in a sea of people who often don’t see how far astray from Jesus their thinking really is. Jesus = love, kindness, caring, compassion, and helping others. I think you don’t just talk the talk – you walk the walk. But the way you talk is wonderful. Thank you, thank you!

        • Frank

          A unborn child is a stranger, is a prisoner, is hungry, thirsty and unclothed.

          • DaveP

            > A unborn child is a stranger, is a prisoner, is hungry, thirsty and unclothed.

            Excellent point.

            If I could revise my list, I would separate “unborn children” into “unborn girls” and “unborn boys”.

            I think “unborn girls” are truly the “least among us” because in countries with legal abortion-on-demand, the biggest demand is to abort girls.

  • David

    I’m just not motivated enough to address all the issues in the article and the comments and have a feeling that there is enough blame to go around in either direction. However, the article refers to several biblical issues, that, I am willing to respond to. First to the “take away” from the day workers … the point was not that all the workers deserved or justly received an equal amount of pay for an uneven amount of work, instead the point was that the employer (in this case a picture of God handing out mercy) can do what He wants with His money (mercy). It would have been both fair and just to give each worker what they earned.
    Also, Jesus never changed the government, instead he approached individuals and asked them to part with their lives and wealth to follow Him. Should we have a government that has Christian values? That is a great question and topic. Jesus however, only asked his followers to obey the law of the land unless it violated the law of God. Forcing people to have mercy was not the point of Jesus’ ministry. This forcing of mercy also opens up a whole new realm of legalism. It allows those that pay their taxes (if only those that they can’t get out of) to be able to claim that they have somehow satisfied the call of loving their neighbor or charity or mercy. This is why ultimately, these social programs should be left to a smaller entity then the federal government. NOTE: The efficiency and appropriateness of the federal government is another issue that may be inserted here which would speak towards the stewardship of funds that are meant to help the needy (always seems like there is a lot of waste when you involve a bureaucracy).
    Finally, you state that “’Biblical’ values are far from clear cut, so I focus on what Jesus chose to focus on in his earthly ministry. Jesus understood, I think, that our holy scriptures are not always consistent when it comes to details, even such important details as the character of God (Did the same God who called the little children to him really mastermind the murder of the innocents?).” This statement in and of itself, while not proving that you can’t be a democrat and a christian at the same time, clearly call into question whether you can believe this statement and be a christian at the same time. Anyone who believes that God is guilty of “[murdering] innocents” should doubt their “Christianity.” Likewise, anyone who believes that any of us are just plain “innocent” to begin with, should also doubt. God is unchanging and is the same throughout scriptures. Now, while it is true that not every detail is spelled out in the bible, like should I take my coffee with or without creamer, scriptures are ALWAYS CONSISTENT. To believe otherwise is a mistake. Jesus did not come to change the law, He came to fulfill it.
    Again, there are a lot of issues that could be discussed/argued, therefor I chose only to address the Christianity/biblical side of the article.

  • Cynthia M. Davis

    Thank you for putting it into so beautifully what I have always felt about being a Democrat and a Christian. Well done!

  • Cynthia M. Davis

    Thank you for putting it into words so beautifully what I have always felt about being a Democrat and a Christian. Well done!

  • Karen Maxwell

    I wish there was a “dislike” on here. For the fact of some of the statements she had made. Everyone uses the word “Christian” lightly and as the bases of Religion. If they knew the TRUE relationship she wouldn’t have said; ” None of us practice a pure faith.” The answer to this is, “Us” the born again saved believers of Christ practice faith everyday to be exact! God doesn’t work in each of us without faith. Did he not say in his Word: Paul speaking: God hath given to every man (meaning everyone) the measure of faith. And IF faith is to be taken lightly then why is there 123 scriptures alone on faith and 51 alone on faithfulness? Why did Jesus throughout his ministry on earth talk about faith and do miracles through faith healing the sick and raising the dead? And when his disciples lacked faith he then asked them, ” Oh ye of little faith,” ” Oh though of little faith?” Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 9:2; 14:31; Mark 2:5; 4:40; LUke 5:20. We the believers are justified by faith Romans 3:28. Being not weak in faith Romans 4:19. We believers walk by faith not by sight 2 Cor. 5:17. I can go on with this one subject but I must press on. She stated that she believes about the virgin birth and the resurrection, but yet she states, oh how did she put it, oh yes ” I am not radical enough for Jesus!” Then she goes on to say; “Most of us, regardless of affliation (meaning all that have division in their thinking and actions and that are not affliated to some religion or secret club) aren’t.” Well here is something that just might ruffle your tail feathers if you are not radical for Jesus. Then who are you radical for, Satan!? You have to be radical for one, which one? I choose Jesus the one who became sin who knew no sin that we the believers the ones who fully commit to him, that we may become the righteousness through him. Being nailed to a cross and beaten and bruised so we may have life. The Jesus that was buried and asscended to hell to snatch the keys of death and the grave out of the hands of satan and was resurrected on our behalf. That is the JESUS i am RADICAL for! Satan is a destroyer. He creeps around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8. He in fact is the destroyer of the faith. He is the Father of ALL lies. Satan is the God of this world temporarly. So once again, who are you radical for? In verse 9 of 1 Peter 5:8, it states that believers go through the same afflictions and temptations the devil (satan) throws at us but if you look closely it reads; “Whom resist steadfast in the faith” our faith in Christ and wisdom in his truth knowledge of his word we overcome the wiles of the devil and the perversions set forth by the world and the worldly minded. Look at the message about Peter stepping out of the boat when Jesus asked him to come, Peter walking on water towards Jesus believing with faith suddenly looks away and looks around he begins to sink, Jesus takes Peter’s hand and lifts him up out of the water. That is exactly what Jesus does for us, why because of Love and our Faith in Him. To sum this up, everyone has a right to freedom of speech but if your going to put “Christian” in front of it, hold true to the faith, and be true to the realtionship it holds. And if your going to put Jesus (God) in it, then stand up for him as a testimony not a conviction, not dividing the value of the truth to fit “your” format, but by the very truth of him, even if you might have to study first. I do not vote nor do I intend to for the very fact that none have measured to be faithful, they are liars and theives stealing from God.
    God Bless!

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

      Thank you for so nicely illustrating my main point, which is that too many people have the chutzpah to believe that they and those who believe, vote, and live exactly as they do are the only “real” Christians.

  • Ronald Riggs

    It is absolutely stunning to read one woman’s testimony to what she understands to be the social implicatons of her faith, only to be answered by the political talking points of those with closed hearts and minds.

    • A

      I couldn’t agree more!

  • http://doppel-adler.com/ Kathleen Hively

    http://doppel-adler.com/
    Ok, I don’t care how we got here – all I know is, my daughter and her family live on disabilty. Four years ago they were getting by….well, no longer. Obama can say what he likes, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Talk is cheap, like they say. Daughter lives in West Virginia, where it is now so bad, her church can’t even help her out, because there are too many people needing food. All the free pantries have closed from lack of funding, and donations. Her disability requires many many medications that have higher and higher co-pays. And I can’t help her out because my husband is back in the hospital because he couldn’t get his very very outrageously expensive medication – just because the pharmacy and doctor and insurance company have spent a month arguing over if it is necessary or not. So he’s back in the hospital. (I guess that proves it is necessary) How much worse will it be when Obamacare is totally in effect? Get Obama out of there so we can go on with our life! My life is proof his wonderful words don’t mean a thing.

    • Rick Meidell

      Kathleen
      Please understand that far from making it worse “Obamacare” as you call it actually goes a long way to improving health care for people like your daughter and husband. Because of the changes in the law more people will qualify for MediCaid adding as much as 33 million people to the rolls of those with health insurance. Those 33 million people currently have NO health coverage at all. Your daughter and her family may well qualify for this. “Obamacare” actually pressures drug companies to make lower-cost generic brand medications available which might just help your husband. In 2009 when President Obama pushed through the so-called “Stimulus”package a substantial amount of money (some $60-Billion) was provided to the states to help maintain unemployment and disability payments to citizens. Because of Republican resistance much of “Obamacare” policy does not go into effect until 2014, so please hang in there. I just thought you should know this.
      Bless you and your family

  • http://geometricanalysis.org/KevinVixie Kevin R. Vixie

    We have big government (in the US), because those professing Christianity have failed to be Christians.

    I am neither a Democrat, nor a Republican, because I believe the only way to be free to generate the most blessing for myself and others is to avoid all tribalism, all identifications which rob the world of the unique essence that God created and that we are to unfold, without fear, with love and generosity.

    Another observation I would make is that both parties transgress by misunderstanding freedom. The Republicans do not understand the economics that sustains freedom, while the Democrats do not understand the freedoms on which economics is built. For Republicans miss that fact that poverty and large gaps in wealth destroy freedom for everyone (though it takes much greater patience and care to see how it destroys the freedom of the wealthy class). Likewise, freedom generates creative impulses that are nurtured and encouraged by giving as free a reign as possible to action based on those impulses, but Democratic over-regulations restrict — often to the point of annihilation — the small businessmen, the small innovators, the small anything and in so doing rob the world of economic health and happiness.

    Both of these cliffs that people fall off are the result of spiritual blindness, of not choosing the living path; Living wisdom can never be replaced with static ideology, no matter how good the intentions.

  • Michael Feaster

    http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/red-staters-once-again-lead-in-charitable-donations-why-do-libs-claim-to-be-more-compassionate-of-o/question-2367079/
    http://blog.geoiq.com/2009/01/07/dataset-of-the-day-who-is-more-generous-republicans-or-democrats/
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html
    http://www.science20.com/news_articles/republicans_versus_democrats_why_some_people_give_more_charity-90603

    The FACT is, numerous studies have been done which show Republicans are more charitable.
    You can legitimize your political choices however you like, as I said before. But it’s better to rely on facts than take politician’s statements at face value.

    This is my entire point. The politicians of the day will say anything, even if it is not true. It is the responsibility of each person to cherish the value of the truth, rather than abdicate their thinking to a political party. And that is why I find the notion of the mere mention of Jesus’ teachings in he same breath with politician’s claims very offensive. Jesus was more than anything a proponent of honesty and fairness. Hypocricy and lies are the antithesis of what he was here to accomplish. And our politicians are full of hypocricy and lies. They are wealthy, and what they say is often not true. Jesus would not side with them, he would be at odds with them, and they would persecute him, they DID persecute him. People of the same cloth had him crucified.

    In light of the data, since the Republican party is more charitable, please change either your political party, or your argument…

  • Bill C.

    This article sounds good on the surface but there are quite a few flaws in her logic and “facts”. She knowingly misrepresents or misinterprets conservatives’ views. and she contradicts herself saying she’s theologically conservative but also that she doesn’t believe all of the Bible. Those views are 180 deg. opposed.

    I don’t think “all” Rs are Christian nor that “all” Ds are not. But I do think a preponderance of non-believers are Ds, resulting in a far lower % of Ds that are theologically conservative Christians. I’m sure the pollsters have published statistics on this somewhere.

    I think one can also show that far more attacks on religion come from the Ds than from the Rs. Maybe even 100 to 0. E.g. initiatives to remove 10 Commandments, “in God we trust”, school prayer etc etc.

    So sure, one can be a Christian and a Democrat. But her logic as to “why” is illogical. Or confused. Or misinformed.

    • Denise Sauls

      How does Ms. Painter defend the killing of innocent unborn children? Unfortunately for our country, she and other Democrats focus on caring for our fellow man who is here (yes, Jesus would approve), while endorsing the slaughter of God’s created unborn. No matter what one says, if you are pro-choice, you are pro-abortion. Jesus would not approve of that, I assure you. Destroying God’s plan for marriage is also indefensible. With this president, non-Christians have persecuted Christians more than ever. He has promoted disharmony among our citizens. I pray God removes her blinders for her sake. As for me, I will cast a kingdom (God’s, of course) vote.

      • sjay

        Nobody has been made to get an abortion by President Obama. He could be as pro-choice as anyone, but without an individual decision by a pregnant woman to get an abortion, there would be no abortions in this country whatsoever. On the other hand, the decisions of the president and Congress directly affect the allocation of resources in this country.

  • Patty Rives

    Thank you . Beautifully worded. You have expressed my views and beliefs more eloquently and directly than I have been able to. I plan to forward this message to all my Republican friends and church members

  • Moochie

    Waitwaitwait. Ellen, just waitaminute. Yes, I read the article. I think it’s woefully incomplete because, Ellen, you want to defend your support for Obama, ultimately. In doing so, you end up bending scripture to support your POV.

    By “murder of the innocents” are you referring to Herod calling for the death of all boys 2 years & under in Matthew 2:16-18? If so, God did not “mastermind” those deaths. That is a completely & totally irresponsible eisegesis of the text. The Bible is VERY clear that Herod himself made the choice to murder all boys 2 years & under, not God. God told Joseph in a dream to get out! God allowed the massacre in the same way He allows acts of nature like Katrina & the tsunami that devastated Japan last year or for individuals to make the choice to abort a baby. In these examples, human beings die. In the 1st example, God allows acts of nature because He created Natural Law & can’t go against it. In the 2nd, He gave us free will & won’t take that away from us. But that does not mean He is directly responsible for the deaths of those in either example in any way. God is incapable of “masterminding” (a uniquely horrific word choice, BTW) the deaths of His children like this. And, please, do not quote chapter & verse about how the Egyptians were wiped out in the parting of the Red Sea or when their first-born sons were killed. That was because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, which was also a free-will choice on his part, not God’s part. The God of the OT is the same as the God of the NT.

    Also, to boil down Christ’s teachings to the 2 things you say we must do, is incomplete. Christ Himself said He came to fulfill the law. So, there are not only 2 things we must do. But . . . those 2 things encompass the entirety of the Law! He is the Law. He can’t teach that we are to do these 2 things exclusively of the Law because He can’t contradict Himself.

    BTW, I want to be very clear here: I’m not saying that “real” Christians can’t be Democrats or that God wants us all to be Republicans. We all have free will & may choose what party to belong to all by our onesies. But, I think any attempt to say that God wants us or be of either party or that “real” Christians must be of 1 party of another (a position I heard recently from a DRE) are always & in every way erroneous & offensive.

    God wants 1 thing: our faithfulness. That means adherence to His will. That means we can never . . . NEVER . . . put human will above God’s will. That includes doing so in politics. And politics always puts human will over God’s will. Always. I, for my part, can not vote for either Obama or Romney because I do not believe either of those idiots will enable us, empower us, the common citizens of the USA, to do the things Christ teaches we must do because they’re too beholden to special interest & lobbyists. So, ultimately, it’s unions & large corporations who are in power, not the common citizen.

    IMO, that is what government should do: Empower us, the electorate, to do what we need to do to help our fellow citizens. That’s why I’m an adherent to distributism. When the government gets involved in helping the common citizen, mandating exactly HOW the common citizen should be helped, the common citizen always suffers more. Whether it be the individual, the family, the community, a group of communities, etc, the Government should do no more than empower the smallest unit capable of rendering a specific service to do so effectively. In other words, I know what’s best for me & my family than do our elected officials. My community knows best what its needs are, more so than our elected officials. We’re in the trenches in a way politicians can never be, especially a didactic, professorial, I-know-what’s-best-for-you sort like Obama. He has no clue what it’s like in the trenches. Not 1 clue. And Romney is only very slightly better.

    Bottom line: Get government out of the way & allow the individuals to get things done in a way government can’t. That, IMO, is the best way to actively carry out all the commandments Christ gave us, both Old & New Testament.

    • Exubertastically

      If we followed the OT Law in its entirety, then we would be arrested, convicted, and imprisoned. We cannot go around stoning people for public behavior, forcing women to marry their rapists, and giving “bitter water” to women who were caught in adultery to force abortion.

      When I hear people talking about the OT Law, I wonder if they themselves have read Leviticus and Deuteronomy. And do they, themselves, follow those Laws, to a T?

      The Pharisees were the ones who harped Law, and tried to convict Christ based on the OT Laws. Christ fulfilled the OT Laws of purification — they are no longer mandated for Christians. There’s some good, solid advice, in those Laws, but we are not held to them if we are re-born in Christ. The Law we are held to, under Christ, is the Law of Love. 1 Corinthians outlines very nicely what that actually looks like. Patience, kindness. A lack of jealousy, pride and arrogance. Not ruse or self-seeking or easily angered. Love rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

      OK, so there is the Law. Our government sorely lacks in many of those departments. I do believe as individuals we should pray for God’s guidance in utilizing the freedom and choices we have been given in voting.

  • McGuire

    it’s bizarre to me how Christianity has gotten so intertwined with politics in the US. It was always so of course, but not to such a degree. This is an ok essay in a very narrow sense, though I think it basically misses the point.

    If the good samaritan parable has any meaning for a Christian than surely one important political focus of any Christian should be the victims of the US military world wide. Those are the faceless nameless people who are being ignored in the US election.

    The writer says ‘dissenting commenters argued for a government focused primarily on defense’ as if the US has to worry in the least about defense! The US military is a zillion times bigger than any possible competitor. The US has ZERO worries about defense.

    The writer completely ignores the fact that the US ‘defense dept’ is killing innocent people daily, has 1000 military bases worldwide, is occupying countries that are absolutely no threat to the people in the US, that a democratic president has a ‘kill list’ and can decide with executive authority to kill anybody, including US citizens, in the world, and this president is killing people daily with robots.

    Frankly I find US Christians, on the left and the right, to be the most hypocritical people in the world, and it’s hard to take their expressions of faith seriously. The US is an empire that is using its military and economic power to oppress people worldwide, that’s a fact that everybody who lives outside the US cocoon can see clearly, why can’t Christians face the truth of the fact and do something about it, if they are truly sincere in their belief?

    The writer is like a Roman citizen living in Rome during the days of the Roman empire writing about political morality of the Roman political class and ignoring completely the actions of the Roman legions, the slavery upon which the society was based, and the crucifixions of those non people living under the boot of the empire, including the crucifixion of one ‘non person’ that took place, if the bible is to be believed, in Jerusalem. Jesus, if he were alive today, would be killed by a predator drone operated by a guy outside of Las Vegas staring at a computer screen. Why does the writer ignore this? The good samaritan did not ignore the suffering of other human beings, isn’t that the point of the story?

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

      The writer (hey, that’s me) “ignored” this simply because in a limited number of words, I have to choose a focus. It always floors me that I have to explain this to people, but it is impossible to cover every facet of a topic in a blog post that ranges from 800 to 2,000 words. So I have to make choices. I chose to focus on how my Christian faith informs my political beliefs, particularly as they relate to our treatment of the poor, because caring for the poor, sick, reviled, and marginalized was such a clear emphasis of Jesus.

      I completely agree with you that our government’s violence (along with our culture’s love of violence) should also be of concern to those who claim to follow the Prince of Peace. The fact that our most recent Republican administration chose to engage in pre-emptive warfare that has killed, injured, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people (not to mention how it has led to record levels of suicide, PTSD, and other ills among our own soldiers) is yet another reason why I lean Democratic. The fact that the Republican party consistently upholds unlimited gun rights is another reason that I lean Democratic. Of course, our cultural tendency toward violence is not a uniquely Republican trait, but an American one, and we are all complicit in it regardless of party affiliation.

      And you do realize that I wasn’t arguing FOR a government focused primarily on defense, right?

      When I published this piece, a friend commented on my private Facebook page that while he too leans Democratic, he wishes the Obama administration would do even more to live out the values of Jesus Christ, including fostering peace at home and abroad. And I agree with that. I also agree, at least on the face of it (because, of course, it’s impossible for you to fully cover every nuance and facet of your argument in a few hundred word blog comment) with your portrayal of the US as an empire that has used our military and economic power in ways that do not align with Christian values.

      • DaveP

        > The fact that our most recent Republican administration chose to engage in pre-emptive warfare that has killed, injured, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people (not to mention how it has led to record levels of suicide, PTSD, and other ills among our own soldiers) is yet another reason why I lean Democratic.

        If you really care about suicide among our soldiers, then you should lean Republican.

        The highest number of military suicides in the past 10 years have occured under Obama, not under Bush. Democrats are always worse for our soldiers than Republicans (Lyndon Johnson being the worst ever, in my opinion).

        From thinkprogress.org, which also includes a graph:

        “Suicide Rate In Military At Highest Level In Ten Years”
        June 8, 2012
        http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/06/08/496604/military-suicide/?mobile=nc

      • DaveP

        > The fact that our most recent Republican administration chose to engage in pre-emptive warfare that has killed, injured, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people (not to mention how it has led to record levels of suicide, PTSD, and other ills among our own soldiers) is yet another reason why I lean Democratic.

        The highest level of suicides in the past 10 years, by far, have occured under Obama, not Bush. Democratic presidents are always worse than Republicans for our soldiers (Lyndon Johnson being the worst, in my opinion).

        From thinkprogress.org, which includes a graph:

        “Suicide Rate In Military At Highest Level In Ten Years”
        June 8, 2012
        thinkprogress.org/security/2012/06/08/496604/military-suicide/

        (You may have to put the http colon slash slash in front of the URL because for some reason the Patheos blogging software won’t accept this comment if has the full thingprogress.org URL).

  • C0nservat1ve

    What you are saying is wrong. It is against our Constitution to rob from the rich to give to the poor, to force us to pay for something we do not want. America is failing now. We cannot support every downtrodden individual by sucking the wealth out of people in the middle class and up. Then to top it off the govt is regulating our businesses out of business. Socialism fails, every time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FXYykztMs0&feature=share&list=PL_4EAZc3zdEhVALskiHxwDIZ_CZoceRpW

    • http://louiszwu.blogspot.com Michael Powers (@louiszwu)

      It seems to me that just about every conservative talking point is really little more than a response to some perceived threat. No one want to rob from the rich. We just want them to pay their fair share. I’m met many like you. Savagely unsympathetic, and paranoid. If we are to call ourselves a civilized people, then it up to us, and a government of the people, to ensure no one dies simply because they don’t have money. If you are unmoved by the needless death of someone you find unworthy, you’re not a rugged individualist out of Atlas Shrugged, you’re a sociopath.

    • Exubertastically

      I’m forced to pay for wars I do not want.

      I’d rather be forced to pay the General Welfare of our country, of which I am a citizen, to be honest.

  • Tim Trautman

    Ms. Dollar,
    Thank you for a well-reasoned and well-written entry.
    Peace to you.
    t

  • McGuire

    “I chose to focus on how my Christian faith informs my political beliefs, particularly as they relate to our treatment of the poor, because caring for the poor, sick, reviled, and marginalized was such a clear emphasis of Jesus.”

    Ellen, who is poorer, the poor in Afghanistan or the poor in the US? Who is more reviled and marginalized, a Muslim in Waziristan living under drones hovering and buzzing 24 hrs a day or the poor in the USA? You simply ignore those people, you cannot spare one word out of a long essay for them. And so you contribute to the culture of ‘ignore the victims of our empire’ that is completely bipartisan and very typically Christian.

    “I completely agree with you that our government’s violence (along with our culture’s love of violence) should also be of concern to those who claim to follow the Prince of Peace.”

    So why didn’t you say SOMETHING about it, one sentence even.

    “The fact that our most recent Republican administration chose to engage in pre-emptive warfare that has killed, injured, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people (not to mention how it has led to record levels of suicide, PTSD, and other ills among our own soldiers) is yet another reason why I lean Democratic. ”

    Now you promote the idea that the empire is somehow ‘Republican’, when in fact everything Bush did was supported by a majority of Democrats in Washington. So you partisan politics is in fact stronger than your supposed Christian values. Can you not see your own hypocrisy?

    “Of course, our cultural tendency toward violence is not a uniquely Republican trait, but an American one, and we are all complicit in it regardless of party affiliation.”

    “And you do realize that I wasn’t arguing FOR a government focused primarily on defense, right?”

    Then why didn’t you mention that ‘defense’ (again, you promote this concept ‘defense’, when in fact we are talking about ‘offense’ that is US agression) SPENDING has gone UP under Obama? You simply ignore Obama’s war making all over the world. Is it OK for Obama to have a kill list or to wage war because he is a DEMOCRAT? Again your partisan politics are more important than you supposed ‘faith’ and ‘belief’. You are more loyal to the Democrat Party than you are to Jesus Christ, otherwise you would spare one sentence about the war making of the Democrat Party.

    ” he wishes the Obama administration would do even more to live out the values of Jesus Christ, including fostering peace at home and abroad.”

    Nothing will be done if Christians simply, as you did in your essay, IGNORE the massive suffering caused by a Democrat Administration. You simply ignore it. And you call yourself a Christian, so is it Christian to ignore suffering in the name of partisan loyalty?

    “And I agree with that. I also agree, at least on the face of it with your portrayal of the US as an empire that has used our military and economic power in ways that do not align with Christian values.”

    If you agree with me then speak out about the suffering, at home (you ignore the US prison system fostered by bipartisan agreement, for example, that puts more people in prison than any country in the world) and abroad, caused by the actions of a govt. led by a Democrat Administration. Otherwise anyone who knows about the reality of bipartisan politics in the US and is truly following Christian values cannot take you seriously. You are simply pleasing yourself, it’s a exercise in ego massage, and nothing else.

  • Gregg

    First of all the US is not a theocratic run government. We are a Constitutional government. NOTHING in the constitution says to take form the rich to give to the poor. Oh wait no one reads the Constitution. See Articl 1 Section 8 on what the congrees can pass laws on. THAT is the job of the churches. Christian and Socialism dod NOT mix

  • Patricia

    I like your reasons for voting the way you do. But I take issue with anyone who combines their religious faith or lack thereof with their political affiliation. The issues, the faiths, the parties are all too complex to try to make an argument aligning them. Now, I understand that your article was in response to your position that republicans have been high jacking the Christian POV, but a universal truth is that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Can we state our opinions without affiliating ourselves with a religious faith? Can we? It is that affiliation that seems to rouse the worst in everyone. Religions have been very successful in creating conflict and war, now and in all human history.

  • Gail C.

    We can provide pregnancy counseling and baby supplies to a young unwed mother, but if that mother is unable to afford groceries, decent housing, quality daycare, and additional education for herself , she and her child will likely end up in unsafe housing, poorly nourished, un- or underemployed, and stuck in a cycle of poverty that isn’t just a problem for that family, but (in God’s economy) for all of us. Without government safety nets such as subsidized housing and daycare, food stamps, education grants, health insurance, and support for immigrants, private charity can only do so much to ease the burden of poverty.

    Why not teach people to make responsible sexual choices to avoid this from happening in the first place? There are many ways to express love besides having sex. Sex used to be done for the purpose of concceiving chiildren first, and if it was being done for fun, a woman would do an interior check to determine whether or not conception could occur. If the couple didn’t want to conceive a child, they would do somethings else. Manhood and Womanhood should be proven through non-sexual means to prevent teenage parents.

  • JK

    Hmmm…I am in many ways much more “conservative” than Limbaugh, Gingrich, Sanford, Boehner, Ryan, Rmoney Scott DesJarlais, and many of the other hypocrites who blare constantly about their piety. I am still married to my first wife (unlike Limbaugh, who’s separated from his fourth), have never cheated on her (Gingrinch, Sanford, Boehner), have not needed nor availed myself of government bailouts or set-asides (Ryan, Rmoney, Clarence Thomas), and we have never considered terminating a pregnancy (DesJarlais). Yet I believe in charity for those in need, that a person should be able to marry anyone (s)he chooses, and that the government has no business interfering with the privacy between physicians and their female patients. So that makes me Godless???

    To be a Republican right now is to admit to deep illness of the soul. The sort of illness that motivates violent hatred toward anyone who supports the president or any other Dem. Republicanism at the present time is a sickness caused by “talk radio” and Fox News, just as lung cancer is caused by asbestos and melanoma by too much sun.

    Thanks for this blog entry. About someone made this obvious point.

  • K. Ricketts

    Seems like you can’t get any more “least of these” than the helpless unborn. I figure babies qualify as “leaster” than even the poor, whom you shall always have with you. So, even Jesus made a value judgement in re the poor.

  • Larry

    Geez this gets my goat. I have been poor. Matter of fact I grew up living in what would be consider poverty income level home. I have stood in line and waited to draw numbered tongue depressors just to spend three hours waiting outside in the heat to not have my number called when I rode a bicycle to the free clinic. Only to have some suburban full of Hispanics have their whole family take a number so only one of them can be seen. You wanna know who really helps the poor. It’s not the government. It’s the people. All of this the government should do this and oh those poor people sickens me. I helped myself. I didn’t get food stamps I did not take a hand out. I got a job when I was 15 and worked hard. I paid for my own things. I am now 34 I am a middle class citizen. I am able to pay my own way. The government never did anything for me. Even when I tried to get a college loan I was denied. Those who genuinely need the help get it. Those who don’t even try to get the help now feel like we all owe them. Just cause we helped so and so down the street who made real effort and they got out of poverty. Democrats and republicans only want one thing your vote. They will tell you now that can help the poor and they will speak to the middle class. Not because they need the help but because they are closest to the poor and have the greatest chance if having some empathy towards the poor. They may need some relief as well but still they want to help those who need it cause they may have came up the same way I did and know what its like to spend all afternoon in a line drawing a number all to end up not being called. Also middle income families make up the majority of the population. We spend most of our time working hard to ensure a better life for those around us. I for one though have had it. If your really that poor and you really want more for yourself and your family there is a way out. It’s not easy but if you want it you can succeed. This notion that we are to help every single person reguardless of them actually working for it is awful. It’s like the fun fair soccer. Where everyone is a winner. That’s not the way the world works. If we try to level the playing field as Obama likes to say we are going to succeed. We will just all be in poverty. Is that level enough for you?

  • http://fahrneganzz.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Thanks for this very inspiring and heartfelt and thoughtful analysis. I am also a Christian Democrat and I have a difficult time squaring No New Taxes with Love Your Neighbor and Whatever you do for the least of your brothers, you do for me. Thanks.

  • Steve

    ““Fair” appeared to mean that those who obtain much wealth are not asked to give a good chunk of it up to help those who have little.”

    As a Christian, I firmly believe that it is my duty to share what the Lord has blessed me with. I do so with a lot of my time and my money. However, as a Republican, I believe government mandates to redistribute the fruit of one’s labors and contribute to the relief of the distressed or face criminal penalties is not being ASKED. That is called coercion. Outside of Islam, I know of know religous dogma that encourages members of its faith to force their beliefs on others at the point of a sword or barrel of a gun, which is effectively what government mandates do.

    You made reference to the Parable of the Laborers, but forgot about the Parable of the Talents (Mathew 25:14-30)

    • JD

      :)

  • Mark

    Seems every survey I have read and articles by the Church, indicate if all of the Christians would give their tithes, meaning 10%, the Churches would have funds to meet the needs of missionaries and the needy in their areas.

    Go to lunch with Christians and see what type of tip they leave.

    OK, we are Christians and Democrats. We do out best to give our tithe and whatever God lays on our hearts. And we do tip over the industry normal

    WOW the Bible says a tithe is 10% and tips are 15%

  • John Catlin

    I don’t trust anyone who hides behind religion for political gain . The phrase , ” the bible belt “, makes me sick. In the true sense of the word Christian, if you are a true Christian and believe in sensible Christian values , you will NOT be voting for Romney. John Catlin in the U.K. P.S. No, I am not an American . I’m an Englishman taking a common sense independent view of both parties..

  • Joyce

    Thank you for so eloquently expressing what so many of us want to say.

  • p schulze

    Jesus was radical but he was not political. He died for people of all walks of like, rich or poor, Jew or gentile, Democrat or Republican. Some of his teachings were for people who had more to help the poor and weak. He never mentioned anything about the government taking the place of people helping people. We may choose to accept His teachings and follow them or not. We can even change His teaching to suit our own world view – God does not mind because He wants us to be happy and so what He gave was just some words He did not mean. Really? To be a disciple of Christ is to follow His word – not our version. I am sure God is pleased with us when we let the government wear our christianity for us. Really? I am sure God is pleased with with us when we kill the helpless and the unborn and neglect our poor neighbors. Really? God want us to be his children, children who love him and his word. If you love God first and your neighbor second, being Democrat or Republican makes no difference. Let God’s word direct your choices in live.

  • Daniello

    No matter how intellectual you Republicans and conservatives want to be, and to be seen, remember that your party’s base is regularly whipped into a frenzy by the likes of Sarah Palin. Enough said!

  • JD

    I am a Christian libertarian because I can find no Biblical or secular justification for using coercion and threats of violence perpetrated by a government to enslave one person in whole or in part to serve the needs or desires of another.

    • Tom

      BINGO JD!! “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” Thomas Jefferson

      • Exubertastically

        And I’m forced to pay for wars I don’t believe in.

        I’d rather be taxed to pay for the General Welfare of the country of which I am a citizen.

    • Joe

      JD is not familiar with the Jesus in the bible.

  • Dana

    To the person who said the deficit was going down under Bush, and I couldn’t answer her directly because there was no Reply button:

    *bzzt* Wrong. Please, for the sake of our country, learn the difference between national debt and federal deficit. The national debt is, unsurprisingly, money this nation owes either to its own people who purchase Treasury securities, or to other entities who do the same. The federal deficit occurs when our federal budget calls for more spending than income. The deficit causes the debt, but is not the same thing AS the debt.

    The federal deficit had disappeared under Clinton because he balanced the budget. When he left office we actually had a surplus in the budget. That means we had more income than spending going on. You can credit the GOP-controlled Congress for that all you like, but if Clinton had disagreed with enough of what they wanted to do to make a difference, he would have vetoed the budget rather than sign it. Fact remains we had a budgetary surplus under Clinton. More income than spending.

    Bush turned that around during his eight years in office. He put us right back in the spending hole because he cut taxes so much that Uncle Sam was once again spending more than collecting in taxes and fees.

    I fail to see how Bush could have possibly *shrunk* our national debt when he did things to our budget that should have *caused the debt to grow*. Maybe this is more of that voodoo economics Republicans are so fond of perpetuating.

    Reagan’s dead, lady. And he had Alzheimer’s while in office. Can we please grow up as a nation and move on to pursuits that are not so destructive to our national welfare?

  • JD

    When the author talks about Christ’s commandments to help the poor, she uses the pronoun “we”, as if “we” are all one. There are many sects of Christianity alone, not to mention countless other religions and atheists. How can the author include all those people in the “we”? Instead of using the pronoun “we” in relation to Christ’s commands, she should have used “you”. And the “you” only applies to those who voluntarily choose to follow Christ.
    Christ did not command his followers to take up weapons and seize wealth of Christians and non-Christians using threats of violence and imprisonment to help the needy. Christ commanded individual Christians to help the needy.

  • John

    Quite simply, thank you !!

  • Dwayne

    Well stated and well supported with scripture references.

  • http://www.lloydarriola.com Lloyd Arriola

    Thank you for this eloquent and impassioned summation. I am never articulate enough to say much more beyond,”I am a Democrat and a Christian because I believe that we can help others with a government that does not abandon its obligation to help the least of us.” Therefore your really marvelously devised essay helps me clarify what I believe in. I am grateful–and God bless you!

  • oldcookiebaker

    More Republicans attend church. So more Republicans give money to their churches, and you’d better believe they’re going to have a record of it so they can deduct it from their taxes. Bet that accounts for a huge share of this extra “generosity”. Nothing wrong with it. I do it, too. But from personal observation, the Democrats, especially the liberal ones (and all Democrats are not liberal) among us are more likely to give spontaneously when it doesn’t show or cannot be deducted.

  • Melissa

    I love this thanks so much for writing this as explains clearly as to why I am a Christian Democrat.
    Many of my friends are Republicans. The usually banter is that they work hard for their money and they don’t want to give out to anyone. Well, I am against war and yet my tax dollars still go to fight war. I have friends that are animal rights activist. But what about the staving people dying each year from starvation and lack of adequate health care.

    I am glad some of my tax dollars go to help the less fortunate. I am not worried about those taking advantage I am more worried about those who need what they would do if it were no longer available to them or what would happen to them.

    My God taught me not to others others and be kind to all regardless of their beliefs. To help and respect thy neighbor.

  • davetharave

    Jesus was an advocate for the poor and downtrodden in society, Mitt Romney most certainly IS NOT an advocate for those with less or nothing. Repeat – Mitt Romney is NOT an advocate for the have-nots and the poor, and for that reason Christians would be making a fundamental break with their core beliefs if they support Mitt Romney.

  • DaveP

    > More Republicans attend church. So more Republicans give money to their churches, and you’d better believe they’re going to have a record of it so they can deduct it from their taxes. Bet that accounts for a huge share of this extra “generosity”.

    Why do liberals always equate “generosity” with money? Republicans not only give more money to charities, they also volunteer more. A lot more.

    > But from personal observation, the Democrats, especially the liberal ones (and all Democrats are not liberal) among us are more likely to give spontaneously when it doesn’t show …

    “Personal observation” of something that “doesn’t show”! :)

    “Bleeding Heart Tightwads”
    Nicholas Kristof, New York Times
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.html?_r=3

    “Conservatives also appear to be more generous than liberals in nonfinancial ways. People in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and conservatives give blood more often. If liberals and moderates gave blood as often as conservatives, Mr. Brooks said, the American blood supply would increase by 45 percent.”

  • Joe

    453 Comments. Doesn’t that tell you this article has struck a nerve, especially with the conservatives? I find it interesting conservatives think they can say such crazy stuff such as “everyone can get free health care in emergency rooms” and actually believe what they are saying. The statement, like many others they parrot directly from talk shows, are so blatantly false, and false in so many respects. Any thinking person has come to the realization some time ago that the cons have no appetite for the truth, and no compunction about lying. Mitt’s debate performance last week was a great example – the fact checkers counted something like 27 lies in 45 minutes. Amazing. And sad. Sad that the truth is no longer important for at least half the country. Just give us our tax breaks. To do that, bring along a few million low-information voters with the guns, god, and gays talk, and of course abortion.
    Anyone else miss the days when truth mattered?

  • Nancy gist

    Well stated, couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for your courage.

  • Meggie

    An excellent piece, Ms. Painter Dollar! Thank you so much for your clarity!
    In my mind, the most Christian thing we can do as voters is to take care of “the less, the last, and the least”. We can best do this through government — and it needs government, private charity has clearly never met these needs adequately. On the other side, there are voters who feel criminalization (not reduction) of abortion and restricting the rights of gays are the most Christian of goals. Gays should be free to make their own decisions about marriage. I don’t understand the cries of horror about diminishing religious liberty because of the HHS mandate coming from people who think they should be able to select other people’s marriage partners! On the abortion issue, the Republicans have been claiming for years to want nothing less than criminalizing abortion, but they haven’t done diddly squat about actually doing so since Roe v. Wade was passed, so it’s a little hard to take their claims as anything more than political posturing. Now policies that would actually reduce abortion rates? That’s very doable, and that’s what the Democratic policies (free contraception, health care for all — and, yes, even prenatal care for fetuses, and keeping people out of poverty by preventing another Bush-induced economic collapse like the one we’re still recovering from, at bay) are much more likely to do. The real pro-life vote is one for universal health care and support of struggling mothers.

  • Hope tarnowski

    I could have written what you wrote. My church is made up mostly repubilicans so I stay clear. Of any talk concerning politics. I just smile and shake my head. I feel like a liar.

  • JJ

    This lady not only has a very poor grasp of politics, politicians, and government, but she has an even worse grasp of biblical theology. I feel sorry for anyone that is naive and ignorant enough to believe what she says and agree with it. The only way I could recommend anyone read this article is to first inform them that the lady doesn’t know what she’s talking about on either one of her key subjects, but then why even bother recommending it in the first place, other than to show an example of self-delusion, naivety and ignorance? Ouch! Yeah, it really is that bad!

  • Spitting Cowboy

    This is a great article and quite disgusting that Republicans think they are holy. Taking us to war on false lies is beyond forgivable. The amount of destruction and the human casualty is gross. I can still see Bush at the podium lying through his teeth. Haliburton scored though. Turned around and donated millions as a special thanks. Tax payer money well spent. Now my kids have to pay for it. Yes Neoliberalism is a far cry from anything related to Christianity. Thanks to Reagan and all of the Republicans millions of kids are enslaved to awful wages and terrible working conditions around the world. That is thanks to the Republicans economic policy, turning America into a consumption, individualistic, self-promoting society. That is why they hijacked Christianity. It makes themselves feel good, like part of a special club, And it allows them to still look at themselves in the mirror as their economic policy destroys the middle class and hampers true progress in developing and underdeveloped countries.

  • Becky

    I often wonder how people can vote democrat and be Christian so I appreciate your article and its narrative. I do disagree in that I don’t believe taking care of the poor was Jesus’s central mission. His mission was to fulfill God’s plan of salvation, and, as a Christian, I believe it is my chief roll to spread the love of Christ to those who don’t know His love. Every person, rich and poor, needs to hear the Gospel. As government programs focus on the poor alone and do not, thanks to church and state separation (which is fine), spread the Gospel, then I would much rather my money support programs in line with what I believe is my mission as a Christian. To vote for a political party based on the blanket assumption that they are caring for the poor feels flawed to me from the beginning.
    It is too bad that so many Christians spend more time screaming at the darkness than they do spreading the light.

  • Lily

    YES. YES. 1000X YES.

  • Scott Sterling

    “Jesus understood, I think, that our holy scriptures are not always consistent when it comes to details, even such important details as the character of God.” Considering that the Bible tells us in many places and many ways that the word of God comes to us from Jesus, it is hard to imagine that Jesus would agree with you that the Scripture is inconsistent about the details of God’s character. Perhaps the inconsistencies you find are in your understanding of the Word.

  • Mary Ellen

    I am working poor/disabled, and I vote. My ability to stay alive will depend on the outcome of the election. I love the person who wrote this article for understanding how it is for people like me. I am disabled due to a genetic condition and I am appalled at the “Christians” who are voting for the people who want to cut my throat and leave me to die. I didn’t read all the responses to this article, there are too many, but an appalling number of fundamentalists have responded by peppering the author of this article and anyone who disagrees with them, with Bible-shot, as if that will make them look better, smarter, and holier. I shouldn’t have to worry on pretty much a daily basis whether or not my elderly parents will have to bury me before they die. I’ve had issues with this for years now, and it’s one of the reasons I walked out on the Christian Church some time ago. Mow me down with your scriptural automatic weapons all you please, fundamentalists, but first take some time to read the story of the Good Samaritan. He was the total social, political and religious outcast, but who was a neighbor to the man overtaken by the robbers and left for dead? Not the priest(your clergy), not the Levite(your church board member, deacon, or committee chairman), but the one that everybody despised…who was the one Jesus expressed approval of? The outcast…”Go thou and do likewise…”when it comes right down to it, my place is with the outcasts…not with the people who think they are spiritually superior and have the right to judge and condemn, and yes, even abuse…

  • Tara

    Just for the record, the decifit was NOT going down under Bush. http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo5.htm
    http://www.davemanuel.com/history-of-deficits-and-surpluses-in-the-united-states.php
    Just saying, I’m not sure where people are getting numbers. Quote the actual numbers when you want to slam Obama, but when it hits them back, they squirm and look for twists in the logic.

  • Rich

    WWJD ? Be a democrat.

  • Mike

    Would Jesus be pro-abortion? Democrats are…

  • http://www.patheos.com Marta

    By the way, I’m both a Christian and a Republican and find helping those in need to be a true blessing.

    And I despise blanket statements about any party, religion, etc.

  • Larry

    Scripture, inspired by God, is what the true Christian (not Christian-Democratic-culture follower) bases his/her life and faith. Government’s job is not to take the place of the private sector or the church in rendering help to those in need… it is to govern a free democratic republic. We are constantly bombarded with the “needs” of the poor, etc, but even Jesus said, “the poor will be with us always”. Are we to usurp our economic system to ruin, while we have our Treasury spend beyond our ability to pay? Who does that cost? Not us, so much as our mortgaged children and grandchildren, and beyond. All the “entitlements” of the present will be debilitating burdens for our family that follows. The church and even the secular private sector can provide for poor, without creating a lazy, entitled rabble, followed by dictatorship. “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates”.
    “Yes it is sobering to realize that democracy is a rare, short-lived exception to the vast, vast majority of human history (characterized by dictatorship -whether the dictator is called a tribal elder, patriarch, King, Pharoah, Emperor, President for Life, Premier whatever…). An even SMALLER subset of democracy is the kind we have; one in which the individual is protected from the government / majority with a list of (supposedly) inviolable rights. If the average age of democracies in history is 200 years; well then…”Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”
    James Bovard (1994)

    “A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
    George Bernard Shaw”

  • http://grandone.com Jim Grandone

    Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

    Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

    Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.

    Blesses are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.

    Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.

    Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)

  • Eve

    Ellen, thank you for speaking up for a lot of us who feel voiceless (or at least not as eloquent as you) as well as hesistant about revealing where we stand politically (I’d say I’m more of a progressive than a Democrat). I’m so grateful to be in a church where I finally DON’T feel like an oxymoron. I only wish some of those commenting took the time to think, reflect, and (gasp!) pray before responding with knee-jerk inflammatory comments. I think they’re revealing all too clearly, through their hatred and rage, why it’s difficult to have a rational and reasonable conversation with them — thanks for persevering nonetheless!

  • http://dailyreturns.wordpress.com James LaForest

    I agree completely. It’s shame that intellectual freedom is only extended to those with whom we agree. This is becoming far too common.

  • Brett

    The author makes a great point. The two great commandments are love your god, and love your neighbor. You who profess to be Christian..please help a non theist out: Shouldn’t we spend our energy and resources on these first two commandments, and ignore the other “priorities”? Or did I read that wrong?

  • Sister Patricia McCann

    Well said, Ms. Painter Dollar. Blessings!

    Sr. Patricia McCann

  • The Schaef

    “We can drive a sick, uninsured child to a hospital, but if a long hospitalization or surgery is required, that child’s parents will have to either scrape together thousands or dollars (and perhaps eventually lose their home or declare bankruptcy as a result) or hope that the hospital has charity funds available. ”

    I think what you are neglecting here is that in most cases it is the church and not the government that provides the hospital in the first place. In Columbus, OH, one of the largest health care providers in the area is Mt. Carmel, a Catholic institution. Riverside Methodist Hospital is just a few miles north of downtown. You talk about how the church is limited in its ability to impact people’s lives and yet they are the ones actually building the buildings and hiring the doctors and curing the patients. If that much can be done in the private sector, an emotional argument about caring for people does not provide a logical reason that the question of cost cannot also be addressed between us as well, rather than having the government assume control over people’s lives by becoming their financial benefactors.

    “We can help an immigrant learn English and a marketable skill, but if the law doesn’t offer him a reasonable avenue toward legal work status, we can’t help him get a job that will support a family.”

    Immigrants DO HAVE a reasonable avenue towards legal status. The problem arises when people BREAK THE LAW and usurp this process, to the detriment of both the natural-born citizen and the immigrants who ARE FOLLOWING this reasonable avenue. In addition to which, border security is an issue with implications far beyond whether we just turn a blind eye to people as a reward for having successfully broken the law for a sufficient period of time, and it surprises me that this still needs to be said after 9/11.

  • Greg Stielstra

    A couple of thoughts. First, I don’t recall Jesus ever advocating for “the common good” or for supporting government intervention as a way to achieve it. Instead he called on individuals to help other individuals.

    The notion of “the common good” is dangerous because it makes people a means to an end. In the name of “the common good,” higher powers can require sacrifice from some members of society (often under the threat of or actual violence) to benefit another segment of society. But who defines the common good? Who decides which group should sacrifice and which should benefit and by what criteria? Is it right to segment (segregate) by income? Race? (Nazi Germany, South Africa?). Where this has been tried it has led to tyranny and suffering because those who decide which group should benefit at the expense of another invariably choose themselves.

    Secondly, it is not enough to desire a noble outcome we must also honestly consider the process by which it can be achieved. To achieve it we must embrace policies and practices that have been proven to work–evidence-based policies. The laws of economics and the sinful nature of man in a fallen world are inconvenient, but, like gravity, cannot be ignored. That is why capitalism, which works by distributing freedom and cooperation, has throughout history improved the lives of everyone who lived under it while socialism–which works only by centrally controlled planning and force– has, time and time again, reduced the standard of living for those who live under it.

    I think the best society-the one where every individual enjoys the greatest good–is one where people are free to pursue their dreams, to try and to fail and to succeed without government interference–and where those same individuals also care for the less fortunate, not because they have outsourced that caring to the government and certainly not because they care for “the common good,” but because in a society dominated by freedom and cooperation among individuals they recognize their personal responsibility to care for their neighbor.

    Because I share your desire for a society where everyone thrives, but because I also realize that it can only occur by implementing policies proven throughout history to actually work, I voted for Mitt Romney.

  • Ryan

    The admonition was for us to love our neighbor like ourselves. Not give money to the government to take care of our neighbor so we don’t have to worry about it. I understand what you are saying and I think it is commendable, but I disagree that it is governments role to care for the least of us. We should be doing that.

  • Penny Starr

    NO ONE is pro abortion, liberals are pro CHOICE.

    Frederica Mathewes-Green:
    “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

    Pro-life, or anti-woman? People really believe they can give rights to a non living organism by decimating the rights of a living person…and yet be totally ok with the death penalty and war for oil….smh………

  • Rusti

    Well put!

  • Bob pendergrass

    I concur with Ellen. The basic facts are that as a people professing to be “Christian”, we do little of what Jesus said we NEED to do– action not belief. The whole concept of the public welfare/good has been demolished primarily by individual greed. The philosophy/world view of Ayn Rand is the most destructive viewpoint posited since who knows when. Consciencely or not, this worldview underlies much if not all of the Tea Party (I’ve seen Ayn Rand banners on the Tea Party speaker platforms) as well as the far right.

  • John

    I find your arguments in here to be a total load of bullshinski and I believe fully if the Lord was here he would have some choice words for you. This is not an opinion of the things I see around me but the experience I see in my heart. Government is never the answer the problem is since Wilson in the 1910′s a president has felt on the democratic side that they must do social justice and help the “little guy”. This thought process must stop the government needs to get out of the welfare business and let the church do it’s job. If it is not in the 18 enumerated powers then it has no place in the public politic. Now if you are dealing with disabled veterans and those who have lid their lives down for this nation raising of armies in defense that is where you will find the okay for the VA and veteran’s organizations. Like I said if it doesn’t say it don’t do it let the church!

  • Cheryl Sampino
  • Trapper

    Actually the bible does say the role of government is to help its people who are in need. It even mentions taxes as a way for citizens to contribute to the cause. (Romans ch. 13)

  • Shelly W

    Your article is very well thought out and though I only have a few minutes to reply, I must respectfully offer another point of view. As a Christian who does care for those who are poor, and has had the need for government assistance in my childhood, I feel the policies that our current president and the Democratic party support will end up hurting poor people in the long run and will put more middle class people into the poor category. They will also make more people dependent on the government for things such as healthcare instead of just helping those who need healthcare currently. Our national debt has increased by trillions of dollars and we are leaving a debt to China to our kids while making the nation dependent on the government. Our personal insurance costs have gone up $4000.00 this year directly related to the first phase of Obamacare. That was tough to take on a middle class income. People also forget that if you tax businesses more, they pass on the costs to consumers in their goods and services.
    Not only that, we are paying over 400 million tax dollars to an organization that provides an abortion approx. every 96 seconds. I will never forget the first time President Obama ran for the office and said at his townhall meeting that he would want his daughters to have the option of abortion if they “made a mistake”. Was he really calling his grandchild a mistake??
    We, as Christians have come to rely on the government to help people and have given up our duty to sacrifice to help those in need as the first church did. Paying money to the government does not insure that it gets to the people who need it. Giving is supposed to be Spirit led, not “let’s see what they can get from the government and then we will make up the rest.”

  • http://www.truthofGod.com Marquest Burton

    Greetings! Fellow humans

    I believe every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the most High God yet I am voting again for President Obama and democrats due to the fact that their policies are more in line with the holy scriptures. (Even though I have already early voted here in North Carolina for President Obama)

    Peace be unto you!
    Marquest Burton

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

    Just a reminder that if you claim to speak for God, your comment will be deleted. You are allowed to share your own opinions (nicely) but you may not speak for the Almighty. Also, if you go into great detail about abortion and homosexuality, your comment will be deleted. While I understand that these issues are central for many voters, they are not central to my post and are therefore off-topic. Not to mention that many people seem to have a very hard time discussing those two issues without saying offensive things about their brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you.

  • Tim T

    Typical closed-minded liberal is deleting posts that do not fit lock step with her views. You know it may help some of these disillusioned people if you allowed other opinions. Yes, you know that.

    • Tim T

      I apologize. My post was not deleted as I had thought, rather out of place by the odd architecture of the threads.

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

        Thank you for the apology. For the record, I have deleted a number of comments. While most of them were not supportive of my position, I deleted them solely because they violated my comment policy in some way (were defamatory or misleading, spoke uncharitably about me or those who agree with me, that sort of thing) or because they dwelt overly much on issues that do not relate directly to what I wrote. I have deleted a few that supported my position but used unacceptable language to do so. Anyone reading this comment thread will see that I clearly left most of the comments that disagree with my viewpoint, even some that veer a bit close to being defamatory, mean-spirited, etc.

  • Anne

    Well said, Ellen.

    How can any Christian in good faith support a man who has been shown to repeatedly and boldly lie, and switch positions to woo whatever group he happens to be speaking to? How confident can anyone be as to what his agenda truly is? Seems to me money is the force that rules his life, and the power that comes with it.

  • Leslie

    I saw where Dave says Republican do more for their churches/religions and donate more. Right you are Dave and they also have much larger tax loops which put much of their given/donated money’s right back in their pockets. Give me a break Dave on my IQ because its right in your face and you can’t see the greed and corruption.

  • God

    > Just a reminder that if you claim to speak for God, your comment will be deleted.

    How about if I claim to speak for DaveP?

  • RC2000

    Sorry, but there is a difference in biblical principle between giving to the poor (alms giving) and giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. By putting the government in control you are taking away the principal of sowing and reaping. A forced tax is not giving let alone joyful giving.

    It is God’s mandate that we give to the poor and help each other through the tough times. But that is our mandate from God not from our government. And it definitely should not be dictated by any Government as to what amount of time, money or goods are to be given.

    Matthew 6:3-4
    But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

    Luke 6:38
    Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

    2 Corinthians 9:6-8
    Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

    James 2:15-16
    If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

  • Barbara

    Thank you for posting this. You expressed my feelings so eloquently. I am glad we have social media to express our opinions without breaking that oft-repeated “rule” to never talk about religion or politics. I like political comedy also. It gets us laughing about it all. And that is a good thing. Thank you again for giving a voice to my feelings. God bless us all as we search our hearts.

  • http://Www.patheos.com Barbara

    Thank you for so eloquently giving a voice to my own feelings about being a Christian whosupports Obama. I think Social media isa a good venue for these kinds of discussion. Then we aren’t breaking that old”rule” that says never talk about politics or religion. I like political comedy too. God loves us all. Thank you again for posting this.

  • Ken

    Jesus had the power to feed ALL the poor, everywhere and forever, why didn’t He? Why doesn’t He? When you desipher that you will understand why you are so wrong. Also, human government is not God’s idea. He wants to govern us. In order to grow toward Godms plan we should reduce and eventually eliminate human government. Do not even pretend to be a compassionate Christian if you do not fully embrace God’s plan.

  • Samantha Remondelli

    I am disappointed. The Democratic philosophy you are describing about helping “the least of these” sounds a lot like a government that is communist. Let’s force people to give from their own pockets. Last I heard the Lord was all about free will. We’re not going to bring anyone to Christ by stealing from the “rich” to give to the “poor” who many times don’t deserve it. Mercy and grace are wonderful things and we should help the least of these. But it is wrong to force it upon the rich just as it is wrong to force people to convert to christianity. Free will is such a beautiful thing-God gave us that gift-and you want to trample on it.

  • Debra Taylor

    And you for penning the words that are in my heart

  • Kris

    First, great article… in the sense that it’s articulate and well written. I think your claim that many conservatives think only a “real” Christian votes Republican is proven in some of these comments (and I only had the stomach to read through the first half). Folks are slamming each other left and right, and missing what is (I think) the main point of your article:

    *** Real Christians can vote (and live) on their authentic faith- in different ways. ***

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

      “I think your claim that many conservatives think only a “real” Christian votes Republican is proven in some of these comments (and I only had the stomach to read through the first half). Folks are slamming each other left and right, and missing what is (I think) the main point of your article:

      *** Real Christians can vote (and live) on their authentic faith- in different ways. ***”

      Yes. Thank you for getting it!

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

        And if some of these comments made your stomach churn, you can just imagine those that I’ve had to delete for crossing the line :)

  • Peggy

    I wrote a comment in response to Dave and posted it but haven’t found it in the string. And I didn’t do any of those things that would have led to your deleting it. But never mind. Several in this long string of discussions expressed my admiration for your initial essay and cited further specifics. I am a Baptist Democrat in a red state.

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

      Sorry that you can’t find your initial comment Peggy! This one got caught in the spam filter for some reason. I’ve been checking the filter and approving comments that ended up there by accident, but perhaps I missed your initial one. Thanks for this one.

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

        OK, by doing a search I did find your initial comment in response to Dave. It was published. Now, where to find it in this long string of more than 500 comments, I don’t know. I’m able to search for specific comments using my admin page but can’t necessarily see where they are in the thread that readers see….But it is here somewhere!

        • DaveP

          > can’t necessarily see where they are in the thread that readers see

          For readers who are using Internet Explorer:

          1) Wait for the page to fully load.
          2) Click on “Edit”.
          3) Click on “Find on this page”.
          4) Type in the word you want to search for, such as “Peggy”.
          5) Hit the “Enter” key or click on “Next”. Or, click on “Previous” to start searching from the bottom of the page to find the most recent addition to the thread.

  • Paul

    Some random musings in response to this article:

    Jesus did not use the government to accomplish his ministry (In fact, God had to work a greater good out of their evil designs against Christ!).

    The only thing stopping the Church from doing all that God requires of us is the Church.

    The government hasn’t impressed me enough to make me want to trust them with more of my money.

    I cannot say that I think the government would use my money any more efficiently for any of these causes than the Church.

    The government may take my money and use it for things that I deem to be unethical or evil. If I can keep my money, I can put it toward ‘a good cause’ without worrying about it being wasted as much as I would with the government. But I can also be selfish with it… and the Church can waste money, too…

    ‘Social Justice’ is a misnomer. If people were getting what God’s justice had for them we’d all be in a heap of overwhelming trouble. Jesus got our justice on the cross, how fair was that? Justice seems to be about filfilling the demands of the law. Better to call it ‘Social Grace,’ because that is what we are really trying to do, extend hope and help to people who have none as Christ did when we had none. Maybe when its thought of in terms of grace, we can give more freely?

    Can a Christian see taxes as charitable, even missional, giving? Can forced giving be charitable and on mission? Where is your heart at when you pay your taxes? It may sound silly, but the answer seems to be an important part of this discussion…

    My wife works in healthcare, and is scared about what the new healthcare law will do to her ability to treat well.

    Both sides of the aisle have their own pet projects that they have and will go beyond their economic means to pursue. Fiscal responsibility does not seem to be a part of the government’s DNA.

    I cannot forget that life begins at conception because of economic policies I might disagree with. To do so simply switches which group of people made in God’s image are getting the short end of the stick, the numbers no less staggering on either side.

    I cannot wait for heaven, when the old order of things will have passed away, when suffering will be no more, when we will no longer have to choose Republican or Democrat instead of Christ. Right now, the way the political parties stand, I don’t know if there is a ‘right’ answer for the Christian. “Behold, I am coming soon!” It cannot be soon enough! Come Lord Jesus! Come!

  • James

    Charity should be personal, not extorted by government. All of the arguments proffered reinforce the conclusion that the democratic party platform is totally incompatable with Biblical Christianity. If you don’t believe the Bible, why even pretend to be a Christian?

    • Rick

      I always find it amusing that evangelicals think that charity should not involve government, but that government needs to legislate all kinds of morality and dictate decisions that women make about their bodies. Of course, anyone who thinks that every single word in a massively self-contradictory book is true probably doesn’t have any cognitive dissonance at all about this.

      How can we help human brains evolve to the point that a sizable portion of the population has so little self-awareness?

      • Rick

        “evolve PAST the point” Sorry for the typo.

      • Phil McMan

        Dave,
        You say that Republicans give more and do more and post the link to an article that suggest/proves that. Its interesting that the leading states are Bible belt states (And Utah where the Mormon Church is so influential). It .seems then that the charitable giving is probably in large to churches, not necessarily giving to help the poor. Sure, some of those churches give something to help, but most studies would demonstrate that most churches use the mass majority of their funds for buildings, salaries & benefits, administrative costs, then providing ministry to the members of that particular local church. So, not really sure that would prove “Republicans” do more and give more. Though I would agree that yotung Democrats DO tend to talk big and while doing less, it isn’t necessarily that Republicans are more generous. It my own observations and experience, it usually has little to do with wealth and politics that contributes to the altruism of Americans, but rather real life values, often of folks who make just enough to get by-they are usually the more giving

        • DaveP

          > It .seems then that the charitable giving is probably in large to churches, not necessarily giving to help the poor. … it isn’t necessarily that Republicans are more generous.

          Not only are Republicans (conservatives) more generous financially, they also volunteer more. For example, the US blood supply would be 45% larger if liberals and moderates donated blood as much as conservatives.

          “Bleeding Heart Tightwads”
          Nicholas Kristof, NY Times
          http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.html

          “When I started doing research on charity,” Mr. Brooks wrote, “I expected to find that political liberals — who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did — would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views.”

          When liberals see the data on giving, they tend to protest that conservatives look good only because they shower dollars on churches — that a fair amount of that money isn’t helping the poor, but simply constructing lavish spires.

          In any case, if conservative donations often end up building extravagant churches, liberal donations frequently sustain art museums, symphonies, schools and universities that cater to the well-off. (It’s great to support the arts and education, but they’re not the same as charity for the needy. And some research suggests that donations to education actually increase inequality because they go mostly to elite institutions attended by the wealthy.)

          Conservatives also appear to be more generous than liberals in nonfinancial ways. People in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and conservatives give blood more often. If liberals and moderates gave blood as often as conservatives, Mr. Brooks said, the American blood supply would increase by 45 percent.”

  • Kobi

    Thank you for writing this piece. I am constantly called an oxymoron and feel it couldn’t be farther from the truth. God bless.

  • Sarah Bridges

    I, too, am a Democrat and am AMAZED that our president has soooo much power. What? You don’t agree?? Well, according to my republican friends, when something goes wrong with President Obama in office, it is the President’s fault. But when everything went wrong in Bush’s presidency, it was Congress’s fault. SOOOO I have to deduct that a Democratic President has MUCH more power than a republican president????

  • http://www.midlifeonwheels.com OnDaRoad

    Good post. I abhor it when churches involve them selves with politics from the pulpit on either side. The ones that insinuate that ‘christians’ vote republican really make me cringe as does that fact that so many in the flocks follow blindly what they hear from the pulpit when it contradicts what Christ taught as the basis of our faith, which is, as you pointed out loving God & loving others.

    I am pro-life .. all life .. which means from conception to the grave that we should care for others. In my mind, you can’t say you are loving others while denying them access to healthcare. I was appalled to be in a couple thousand member evangelical church after the healthcare bill passed where the pastors dissed the bill & vowed for a repeal & the congregation cheered wildly! I walked out & wrote the pastor but never heard a word from him. I could go on but won’t … I appreciate your post.

  • RepChristian

    So does this mean that since I am a Republican I cannot possibly be a Christian? Or that those vote democrat or better Christians? Boy that is a little pias is it not? Using the whole healthcare issue as the basis for true Christian is just a little bit silly too! Yes the Republicans are seen as catering to the wealthy. But I am NOT wealthy. And I am Republican. Both parties to cater to those will vote for them. Both parties equally help the poor. I tend to believe sometimes the Democratic side tends tocater to those more likely to need government assistance as a way to buy their votes. They enable many in exchange for botes.

  • RepChristian

    Sorry my fat fingers hit publish before I could edit. Small keyboard on phone. I don’t think God/Jesus intended for us/government to just hand money to the less to do, but rather to help them out while at the same time showing them how to help themselves. Does either party really do that? I would suggest the Dems do not. Rather, they may bemore the enablers than the Reps??? Voting one way or the other has no bearing on ones status as a Christian!!!!. To suggest otherwise is silly. I will vote Rep but think no less of my fellow Christian who votes Dem!!!

  • DaveP

    > Without government safety nets such as subsidized housing and daycare, food stamps, education grants, health insurance, and support for immigrants, private charity can only do so much to ease the burden of poverty.

    The Democrats under Obama spent $60,000 per poor household each year on “safety nets” to help the poor.

    It would help the poor a lot more to just give them the $60,000 a year.

    “Over $60,000 in Welfare Spent Per Household in Poverty”
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/over-60000-welfare-spentper-household-poverty_657889.html

    “According to the Census’s American Community Survey, the number of households with incomes below the poverty line in 2011 was 16,807,795,” the Senate Budget Committee notes. “If you divide total federal and state spending by the number of households with incomes below the poverty line, the average spending per household in poverty was $61,194 in 2011.”

  • Brian Keene

    Although I agree with Ellen’s sentiments and with her right to share them, I think she missed a really important point. Jesus was a liberal. The whole concept of bringing God’s forgiveness for your sins and having somebody else (Jesus) pay the price was (and still is) an extremely liberal viewpoint.

    • DaveP

      > Jesus was a liberal. The whole concept of bringing God’s forgiveness for your sins and having somebody else (Jesus) pay the price was (and still is) an extremely liberal viewpoint.

      I think you missed a really important point, which is that Jesus volunteered to pay the price, which means Jesus was a conservative.

      Liberals are in favor of forcing someone else to pay the price (via taxes) instead of volunteering to pay the price themselves (via charity or volunteer work; conservatives are much more charitable and more likely to volunteer).

      So I think that means that liberals are the modern day Romans, who were the ones who forced Jesus to pay the price.

    • Trina

      Jesus was a radical, that is definite. But do not try to equate him to the modern day liberal….Obama….that is an abomination…..
      Obama has no love for the weak….the helpless…..the defenseless……Jesus embodies that…….

    • DaveP

      > Jesus was a liberal.

      If Jesus was a liberal, he would have nailed one of the 1% to the cross, and said “Let him pay for your sins!”.

  • Bjn

    Thank you-as an “evangelical” I’ve voted for both parties over the years. I appreciate your thoughts!

  • Mona Higgins

    If I could write, I would have written this. Thank you.

  • Paul

    WThis is pure sophistry. Soft words about justice which ignore the harsh realities of trying to run a business,meet payroll, deal with petty bureaurats who regal in their power while hindering development and job creation. As a law student, and a flaming liberal, I went to work for state government in the tax department. i was shocked at the inefficiency and unfairness of disparate treatment based on political pull. Later as a practcing lawyer, forced to represent criminal defendants at state expense (paying me only my overhead) I had 3 consequetive cases of young men on SSI who were quite capable of working, but had always received a check. The check made a drug stake for one, and the others just spent the nights on the street until they were arrested for breaking and entering. Only one went to jail. Yes, there are people who need help. Yes, like Romney, I give. But do not tell me Jesus meant for secular government to take from those who work hard to give to those who do not even try. My teacher wife has had many studnets answer the question what do you wnat to doe when you grow up with”get a check like my mom”. In our town the fast food help wanteds go unanswered. Why do that when you can get a check? What the Christian left do not comprehend is that we are all sinners, and man starting from man CANNOT acheive perfection, and all government institutions are flawed, as we all are. The natural laws of nature and economics are much better at allocation and more efficient at taking care of those who need jobs than trickle down government which merely establishes unfairness and inefficiency. Every govt acion has such unintended consequences which in the end hurt people. The housing crisis was first and foremost the result of trying to help people get houses, ignoring the demographics which showed years ago that we were overbuilding. Today, look at tuition costs and the gross spending of higher institutions, which are the result of blanket student loans which allow universities to charge whatever without regard to controlling costs. And higher institutions and its professors with vested interests will not address or admit this truth. The examples can go one and on. Yes, we need student loan programs but good grief control what the govt hands out or guarantees! The examples are endless of well intentioned programs causing harm.37 years as a Christian and 36 practicing law in many areas of law have shown me that man proceeding only from man cannot solve the problems of mankind. Unfortunately, liberals and the Christian Left feel much, but understand little of teh practical realities of what makes the world work. It is hard for people who get regular checks to understand what goes into the employers efforts to create the money that pays that check.

    • Dawn Sonntag

      The “natural law of nature” is original sin. With this comes greed, not love. If people are abusing government programs, the abuse should be stopped, not the programs. There are many people in great need who will die if they don’t receive assistance. The role of the government is to care for its people, most of all its poor.

  • Trina

    It has nothing to do with our faith….if it did, we would have to abstain from voting. Neither candidate is a Christian. The only thing we can do is vote for the lesser of the two evils….what is best for this country. That should always be the reason for our vote. If you do not vote for the good of your country, then stay away and do not vote………………

    • Dawn Sonntag

      I agree totally.

  • Trina

    Nice to see my comments are not posted……usual Democrat crap…………

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

      Aaaaaand….as I told another person who was sure that the delay in comment posting was due to “typical left censorship” and “usual Democrat crap,” comments often get stuck in the spam filter. I do not spend every waking moment at my computer checking for comments to come in. I took some time away from this post to play games with my children and get a good night’s sleep. Thanks for your assumptions. They are lovely.

  • Jeff

    Actually a key factor in the collapse of 2007 began in 2006 when Congress allowed the most powerful lobby in Washington, the Credit Industry, to suddenly, and foolishly double the minimum payments charged to credit card debtors. When these payments suddenly doubled to far greater percentages of a middle class families’ budget catastrophe was not far away. It took about a year, according to interviews conducted with many families at that time, to run people through their savings accounts, and dry them out while the credit card companies pocketed unprecedented amounts of money. That was the linchpin that crippled families who had been able before that to sustain their mortgages, and still maintain workable budgets. I find it odd that so few people seem to remember that.

    • Dawn Sonntag

      This is a very good point. You are right, no one remembers this.

  • Paul

    It appears that the typical left censorship, often seen on college campuses in excluding or protesting conservative speakers, is alive and weel on this site. My reponse and comment have not appeared after several hours!

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

      Your comment was stuck in my spam filter overnight. I assure you that spending time with my family on a Friday evening and then getting a good night’s sleep has nothing to do witj “typical left censorship.”

  • RepChristian

    Thanks Paul, for speaking a reality that many citizens of this country do not understand. You, as an attorney, represented able bodied persons who had no desire to help themselves, rather they just wanted the hand out. I, as police officer, have witnessed the same for years. Most citizens do not ever see this side of our communities, they simply see what the media feeds them or what SOME liberals try and shove down everyone’s throats.

    Offering some help, financial or otherwise, to those in need is a great thing, but to enable them or allow them to live off the system with no concerted effort to improve their own lives does neither them, nor our country any good. Reps and Dems alike have no issue with helping those truly in need (elderly, mentally disable, physically disabled, vets, etc.). But far too much money is spent on able bodied persons who have no desire to take, as Paul suggested, the fast food jobs. You chose to ignore an education, therefore you may not be qualified to work anywhere else but McDonald’s. Maybe finanical handouts from the Govt to those unwilling to work should be far less than minimum wage in order to encourage them to get a job?

    Lastly, for anyone on here to insist Jesus was a liberal or a conservative, or that he would be a Rep or a Dem is just silly, immature and not very Christian like. What Jesus is not likely very proud of is the petty arguing that takes place regarding politics and how a great majority of people lean toward whatever suits themselves the most. This applies to politicians more than anyone in society. Both, Dems and Reps cater to whatever puts money in their pockets or garners themselves status or fame. Romeny is included in that description. So, without a doubt is Obama. While it includes conservatives, it also includes liberals, guys like Jesse Jackson, who claims to be a great Christian, a Reverand, but clearly cares much, much more about seeing his own face in the media or hearing his own voice on television than he does about teaching true Christian thinking.

    We the people, who all claim to be Christians, we are the problem. We all talk the talk, but do we all walk the walk??? I for one know I have a long way to go!!! As Trina said, and sadly, neither candidate is a Christian (Obama can claim whatever he wants, at least Romeny admits he is a Mormon),it has become an issue of voting for the lesser of two evils. When, oh when, will the people of our country support a true independant, a person who is willing to put Godly things before worldly things like money, fame and power. My guess is that it will never happen.
    God Bless all on this blog, Dem or Rep, Liberal or Con.

  • MELISSA NUNES

    Although I gave up my faith when the last round of Repub’s were in charge, I enjoyed reading your article.

  • Mark

    Lots of good arguments have been made in both directions on this topic. Debate is good and can be healthly, dont let the evil one seperate us from one another because we do not see the issue or answer the same way, or the victory will be his.

  • Christian Obama Voter

    Thank you. Furthermore, Jesus seemed to prefer peace to war. Jesus seemed to prefer truth to lies. Jesus seemed to prefer generosity to greed. Christians can probably cite the parables and instructions by heart. They are simply, somehow, putting these out of their mind when they vote for Mitt Romney, who exemplifies greed.

    Also, Jesus had no such instruction that the fertilized egg was a human being. That is men’s device and not even the scientific men, whose word on the matter we would expect we could trust. Birth control issues come from the Old Testament, during which Jesus was simply not giving instructions. The New Testament brought New Instructions. There is far less war, for example, in the New Testament. To be a Christian is to be centered on Christ, his teachings, and his example. ‘T would be good for ministers and priests to remember these things.

    • DaveP

      > Jesus seemed to prefer peace to war.

      More US soldiers died in Afghanistan under Obama in just 1 year (2010), than in all 8 years under Bush put together.

      > Jesus seemed to prefer truth to lies.

      “I will close Guanatamo Bay in my 1st year”, “Obamacare will save families an average of $2,500 per year”, etc, etc, etc.

      > Jesus seemed to prefer generosity to greed.

      Obama and Biden are two of the greediest, least generous people I’ve ever heard of.

      “Romney charitable giving has outpaced Obama’s”
      http://hotair.com/archives/2012/08/26/romney-charitable-giving-has-outpaced-obamas/

      “Biden’s most recent return reveals that he gave a paltry 1.5% to charity.

      But that percentage is a veritable king’s ransom compared with Obama’s charitable giving as reflected in his earliest available tax returns. In 2000, the Obamas jointly earned $240,505, of which they gave $2,350—or less than 1%—to charity. In 2001, the couple earned even more, reporting an adjusted gross of $272,759, but donated less: They gave away a total $1,470, equivalent to about one half of a percent.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000848110859 Melissa Skinnder

        “More US soldiers died in Afghanistan under Obama in just 1 year (2010), than in all 8 years under Bush put together.”

        A great example of how falsehoods are used as “truth”, Satan’s work showing clearing here. To rebut Satans’; lies here:

        BUT who started the war with LIES? Yes, the Bush Admin. You think you can just walk in as president and just UNDO what this country did over the course of 6 years immediately?? Actions such as war have consequences. Evil has consequences.

        :”I will close Guanatamo Bay in my 1st year”, “Obamacare will save families an average of $2,500 per year”, etc, etc, etc.

        I agree Guantanamo should have been closed, so Obama is not perfect. Imagan that. But again, WHO CREATED Guantanamo???

        As for Obamacare, yes, it will save $$.

      • Dawn Sonntag

        Romney is extremely wealthy, much wealthier than Obama! He receives huge tax credits for his “generosity!” And Bush started the war!!!!! My husband, a conservative Christian ordained minister who votes Democrat, joined the military in 2008 because he felt the Bush administration had made such a mess in Afghanistan that the U.S. owed it to the Afghanistan people to clean it up. That is the reason we are still there. There are real humans there – women, children, youth, grandparents – not just “animals.” The Bush-Cheney administration started an unjust war and it is our responsibility now not to leave that country a mess.

    • Dawn Sonntag

      The one thing on which I must disagree with you is abortion. By the time you know you are pregnant, you are carrying much more than a “fertilized egg.” I am a Democrat, but I believe this country is suffering much because of the way the Democratic party handles and promotes abortion as a “right.” It should be used only in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, for in fact it is a physically violent act, not only against the fetus, but against the mother. If our society offered more support to pregnant women who do not have health insurance, if colleges and universities offered more support for pregnant students, if women had more job security and knew they would not lose their jobs because of a pregnancy, the abortion rates would drop naturally. Abortion “rights” have driven many Christians to vote Republican. The Democrats need to allow Democrats for Life to have a voice and quit trying to silence them.

  • dana

    Nicely put. One comment about fairness. Is it fair that some are blessed with money, success, health, a safe and loving family, etc and others are not? In that case how can it be fair for those who are blessed not share with those who are not?

    • DaveP

      > Is it fair that some are blessed with money, success, health, a safe and loving family, etc and others are not?

      “Blessed”? Where I come from, it takes hard work to earn money and success. And it also takes lots of hard work to keep fit and to raise a safe and loving family.

      So really your question is: “Is it fair that people who work really hard have money, success, health, a safe and loving family, etc, and that people who are lazy don’t?”

      I think the answer is “Yes, that’s fair”.

      It also means you can “bless” yourself. Or, as the saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves”.

    • Dawn Sonntag

      Some – perhaps many – Republicans believe that those blessings come as a result of “faith.” the assumption is that if your life is materially difficult, it is because you don’t have enough “faith,” and that if you are truly a believer, you can’t be materially poor. This is of course NOT found in Scripture.

  • Doug

    As a person on SSDI and a conservative, I agree with the writers observation, government can be a vehicle for social “justice”. But I also think that Democrats want to much “fairness” in their interpretation of what is right and wrong. I also don’t believe that the “Federal” Government is the avenue for these types of programs of social justice.
    The problem with nationalizing “EVERYTHING”, inflation, everything becomes that much more expensive when it is paid for by an organization that can “PRINT” the money.
    Get things more local, State and local governments are the “best” way to get things accomplished. Let have a federal government that block grants money to allow local programs institute programs for the states and localities. When you federalize this, you create a massive and dysfunctional vehicle where lobbyist only need to find K Street or the Pentagon.
    The Pentagon is enough, as it is the federal government only real responsibility and I don’t want governors like Howard Dean and John Sununu have a VT and NH border wars like in other banana republics.
    Read the constitution and let’s get this federal government lean so that the prospering states can do what they do best and help their citizens.

  • Ann Andrews

    While your article is interesting and you are voting from your heart I respect that. But to base your article on two commentators is sad. To say Republicans view Democrates as non Christians is not tire is not correct. Their are extremist in both parties.
    I am reminded of the Dem convention when God was left out of the platform. Pez intervened & said put it in there. This was up for vote 3 times and the 3rd time it was ramed thru. There were Dems booing as it was voted in to the platform. Now I don’t say that’s the way the Dems no more than you should say the Republicans doubt Dems are Christians. You only know what the Dems do because the last 4 years have been led by a Democrat. Mitt Romeny has had successful business, life & governing. He has had the experience of leading. He has integrity that the Prez does not! Take Benghazi for Example the Prez is unwilling to share the information that is coming in about. He said he would give us new info as it is received. He has not. He has told defense contractors to not give notice of jobs ending w the budget cut to defense as of Jan 1,2013 as they are required to do 60 days out.
    If they do the Gov.will not support then if there are law suits. These are just two ex of his bully governing happening now.

  • Frank A Anania

    Dear Ellen,
    I have just returned from walking the dog. Clearly winter is setting in, I am 50 years old and a Roman Catholic. I am devout based on the doctrine of Vatican II and parents whose values you exemplify in thie articulate assay. I cannot bring myself to participate in the Eucharist today, Sunday. Your church and mine are sharply divided over holy scripture. For me rest assured that your essay was the summon I needed to hear today. There are additional examples in the Holy Gospels of what you and I hold sacred in Christian belief. The beggar Lazarus, the camel passing through the eye of a needle, and how scribes and phrases lay heavy burdens on men’s shoulders but dont lift a finger to help. The hardest thing of course for me, is to follow Jesus’ example and not lash out. As Jesus also reminds us “I came into the world to make the blind see, and the seeing blind. Because you say that can see, your sin remainith”. Another issue you mentioned is the growing divide in American Chritianity between race and ethnicity. Please pray for people like ourselves that whatever happens that we have kindred spirits to do the work of a loving Trinitarian God who loves us inspire of our shortcoming. May Almighty God bless you for having the courage to write this beautiful peace. You brightened my Sunday. Peace, frank

  • Brian Ray

    I am glad you mentioned scripture in your post. If we Christians cannot agree that the word of God is inerrant in the original autographs and, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man [or woman] of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17) then we will simply be passing in the dark. We must be scripturalists and not utilitarians or pragmatists (e.g., claiming the government must do certain things because churches do not have the capability). It is true that Christ was and is concerned about the “least of these.” Many of us who call ourselves or are labeled by others as “conservatives,” “evangelicals,” or “fundamentalists” need to humbly remind ourselves of this. In addition, however, and this is key, the whole counsel of God (i.e., the entire Bible) must be sought on any issue. There is a consistent theme from God that giving, charity, kindness, and other forms of mercy and compassion toward anyone (e.g., the least of these, the rich, the powerful, the poor in spirit) must be from a regenerated heart and mind, and done out of joy and thankfulness for the goodness of God. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). There is never a command or approval from God that we (or the government) should force one another (i.e., at the threat of imprisonment or the confiscation of one’s house if you do not give of your material such as via a tax) to be nice or give to another (e.g., welfare, food stamps, re-distribution of wealth in various forms). There is never a command or approval from God that the civil government should force one man to be proactively nice (e.g., give a shirt, give a loaf of bread, give medical insurance) to another man (at threat of punishment by the government). This is coercion, force, and potential violence that God neither prescribe nor approves and gives to the State. You will not find God commanding 51% of the voters or 51% of the elected representatives to use the power, force, and violence of the government to make one woman give to another woman a shirt (or a block of cheese or contraceptives). This is antithetical to the gospel and the whole of scripture. It is the civil government’s job to punish the evildoer and commend the doer of good (1Pet 2:14), and not to force (via taxation and threat of punishment for not handing over one’s property/wealth) one person do good or nice things for another. Each man or woman, often in the context of the local church or a volitional, voluntary association, should be giving to “the least of these” and others as their conscience, the word of God, and the Spirit so direct. It is neither a Democrat or Republican or civil government duty, job, or responsibility.

  • Anastasia

    I’m so glad you have a church that accepts you as a Democrat. I have yet to find one, in the meantime, I am not going to church, because what I hear from its members and even the pulpit saddens me. If anyone can recommend a church in the San Jose, CA area that is more open, please let me know.

  • http://www.mygloves.net Frank Willis

    Fantastic fun read. Will be back for more. If its ok I am gonna repost this over to my site about Sheepskin Slippers

  • TJP

    I would love the opportunity to spend an afternoon with a “mixed group” of Christians…both those who voted for Obama and those that did not (I am in the second group). The purpose of the afternoon would be to have a conversation, face to face, follower of Jesus to follower of Jesus. I have an ongoing conversation with a old college friend of mine and he called me yesterday (new year’s day) and we continued the conversation. We have not changed each other’s opinions but you know, we don’t hurl insults at each other or each other’s decision to vote for or against the current administration. He has challenged me as to how I might pray for Mr. Obama (indeed a challenge to pray for someone whom I consider an enemy to the future of our nation) and I have challenged him as to the role of government in a civil and democratic society. I think we should do more of that type of conversation within the broader church……

  • Triadsense

    Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.
    Genesis 41:34

    Oh, that pesky big government even had Joseph fooled.

  • kj_ca

    Ellen,
    In the Bible a basic principle of Christian life is taught – do not be unequally yoked to unbelievers.

    We are to love them. We are to pray for them. We are to tell them of Christ’s love for them (when they will listen).

    But we are not to walk alongside them in fellowship while in this world.

    Based on this date of this article, you wrote this before the Democrat Convention of 2012.
    Did you pay attention to the events during that Convention?
    To refresh your memory, when “God” was removed from the Democrat Platform and then re-introduced – by a voice vote from the floor – the nays and boos were LOUDER than the ayes all THREE TIMES the vote was called in favor of adding in the word “God” to the Democrat Party Platform. (The person officiating declared the vote as a “yes” anyway, after which louder booing ensued.)

    Regardless of what you personally believe the Democrats are trying to accomplish in our society today and the “good” they assert are their goals, if the numbers in the political party you claim affiliation with have now has a majority who choose to repudiate God – thus rejecting all His Works – your personal belief in that Party’s good is now nothing more than an illusion. (You’re fooling yourself.)

    It may have been true at some point in time that Democrats were “ethically and morally superior” to Republicans, but no longer.

    [ Not saying the Republicans are any better or worse. I'm an Independent myself, politically. ]

    But don’t try to take the “high ground” in support of your “yoking” to a political entity that is now made up of a majority of people who reject God, by attempting to lay claim to moral superiority in their actions.

    As a Christian you know this is not true.
    -KJ

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

      “But we are not to walk alongside them in fellowship while in this world.” – That is one of the saddest portrayals of what we are called to do and be as Christians that I’ve ever heard. If that’s the message Christians are spreading about how we are to relate to our fellow human beings, no wonder so many people are rejecting the faith.

    • Dawn Sonntag

      I am a prolife, conservative Christian Democrat. I believe in a young earth, the Virgin Birth, the Trinity, and the Resurrection. I don’t believe in everything that every Republican believes in, either – the Rapture, “born-again” theology, and most of all, I do not believe in Prosperity Gospel. This is being promoted like crazy in the Republican party. Those who are poor are that way because they sinned, and those who are wealthy are so because they have not. This is of course absurd, since they are plenty of wealthy non-Christians. Yet this is the lie that is being propagated by many Republicans. If I am not to “walk in fellowship” with non-Christians, then I cannot “walk” with most Republicans, either. Jesus’ Kingdom was not of this world. He is certainly looking down on this country with great sadness as he sees his name being used in vain in order to increase the wealth of certain individuals, while the freedom of many others is limited because of their lack of affordable health care and education.

  • Cory medley

    I from western ky and its extremely hard to find teaching reading web material with the same views in your artical and Christians with this view is even harder. Love the article

  • Joel

    You say you arent radical enough for Jesus is already a red flag to true Christians like myself that you are hiding behind Christianity just so you can pursue your political ideas. This does not make you a true Christian. You’re a passivist. For you to say, ” I am not radical enough for Jesus (most of us, regardless of party affiliation, aren’t), and I certainly don’t think the Democratic Party platform is radical enough for Jesus.” Is already a sign that if you are a true follower of Christ, why in the world would you associate yourself with a party that is obviously not willing to associate themselves with the very God you “so-called” serve!?!?!? You also said, “The most obvious common thread is that Jesus continually reached out and offered hospitality, healing, hope, and help to those who were poor, sick, powerless, or reviled,” which brings me to this; you remember the story about Jesus feeding the 5,000? After the mircale of feeding them, people began to follow God expecting miracles for themselves all the time. They thought hey, if this guy is going to do this, lets just follow him and he will feed us. As the reading goes on Jesus actually REBUKED them and said to leave him alone and go out and make a living for yourself! Jesus was NOT a passivist! Or in other words, he was not a waiter!!! He showed love, and he showed hospitality, but did he do it over and over?? No! He wasn’t a babysitter, he constantly showed people this then told them that they must make their own living for themselves!!! Feed a man some fish, you’ll feed him for one day, teach a man how to fish, and he will provide for himself forever! This was the concept Jesus brought into the world! So for a government that constantly keeps people on food stamps and reliant on them is NOT OF GOD! This is why the Republican party, although far from perfect, has been the most successful! They adopted and hold onto the Christian beliefs this nation was founded on, they are radical for Jesus, they work for themselves and are generous when they want to be. They do not believe in government tending to the needs of others but rather like Jesus said, get up and make your own living! He came to set the captives free, not keep them in bondage to a government!!! It is all about individual responsibility!!! When we die, we will stand ALONE to be judged by God, no one else will be there. No government, no family, no friends, so this concept of looking to the government to solve our problems is NOT the answer. I am a proud Republican, and am radical for Jesus Christ!!! I believe solely on the word of God and NOT the word of mankind. Do whatever you want, but know if you continue to hide behind Christianity because of your selfish beliefs in a government, then be prepared for when things get worse you’re going to realize that because the government has gotten rid of the Lords name in schools, and the Democrat party has constantly rejected him and to this day still wants his name removed, that is where God will step in and judgement will come upon all who have rejected his teachings or for those who were “LUKEWARM” Christians.

    • MarkInCA

      Ahhhh the inquisition. It happens pretty often. “I’m a real Xian!” “No I’M a real Christian” Oh, and dude, it’s pacifist, not passivist.

  • kentuckywoman2

    I don’t think I could have said it any better. Thank you.

  • Jo316

    Sadly, this writer worships her own god, and makes up her own religion. Almighty God is infallible, and everything He ever created is without mistake or imperfection. For Ms Dollar to even suggest that the book God authored is “not clear cut” is a certain indication she is in need to learn more about the one true God. What, God needs the help from a political junkie to explain who he is and what He says?
    If she finds the Bible confusing or dubious it is because the passion and energy she has invested in defending her politics and the lusts of her own, takes precedence over diligent Bible reading and study. When one has difficulty absorbing the truth of God’s Word, that dilemma is explained in 1 Corinthians 2.

    I could go on for days listing her word for word errors and distorted views. I will just leave her with this, There cannot be, nor will there ever be a “common thread” between Jesus and any worldly entity, member, supporter, enabler, or fragment of the entity. Specifically an entity which perpetrates sinful practices such as blaspheming God by banning His name, oppressing and persecuting Biblical Christians, terminating God’s creations through abortion, perverting the morals of young children, Bible and prayer bans, sodomy, altering gender roles, covetousness, character assassination, and the list goes on and on and on. Everything Dollar’s politics exalt, God forbids. Every single plank of the platform she stands on is a sin. To be clear cut, Jesus commands us not to be stumbling blocks. Is that not clear enough?

    We are commanded to worship the one true God who He reveals that He is in the Bible. We are commanded to worship Him in the Spirit and the truth. We do not get to choose our own methods according to what suits our politics. Ms. Dollar needs to visit Genesis and read how God responded to Cain when he decided to use Dollar’s approach to worship. Just because it pleases us and is acceptable to man, does not mean God approves. In fact, more often than not, He disapproves.

    When Jesus spoke of the “broad road to destruction”, it is more than reasonable to believe that, the broad road is paved with self conceived and false beliefs.

    The command to love God with ALL our hearts, minds and strength, is just that. When defending, serving, or following politics takes priority over serving and obeying God, our politics, or anything else for that matter, what we serve above God becomes a god of personal choice and a false one. That would amount to idolatry.
    Connecting with God and His Word requires His Spirit. Only then will feelings of “not clear cut” be left behind where they belong, with Satan. We must be humble, persistent, diligent, and sincere in all things with God, Ms Dollar, and those who mistakenly believe they can pursue their own worldly lusts and blend them into Jesus’ commanded worship of the Father denigrate who God is, and reject outright His Holy Word.
    Here is something clear cut for Ms. Dollar from Jesus; We cannot serve two masters, God and anything of the world which are ALL enmities to Him. Deny your own lusts, all of them, pick up your cross daily, follow Jesus, and then be certain that the Bible could not be clearer in it’s teachings and principles.
    Nobody has to taker my word for any of this, Test it to the Spirit, prove it to the Eternal Holy Word of God.

  • Carlisa Thomas

    I felt bad today because I didn’t go to church…after reading this I feel better…and now I will sit back and enjoy the scriptures she quoted from. Thank you for making my Sunday.

  • MarkInCA

    Good. I am an atheist. Let’s spread empathy.

  • Dawn Sonntag

    Thank you for writing this. Jo316, I am a conservative Christian who believes that the Almighty God is infallible (and I believe the writer does also – she did not say he was not infallible, she just said we, as humans, cannot understand his actions). I am also a Democrat for all the reasons the writer listed. I am free to practice my religion and to teach it to my children. The Democratic party is not forbidding me from doing that. The government’s purpose, according to Martin Luther, is to care for its poorest. The church’s purpose is to spread the Gospel. Our duty is to pay taxes, not to hoard what we have.

  • George Harvard

    Christians, especially Catholics, have been played for fools by Obama and his gang of thieves, The Democrats are no better Christians than any sect. Does anyone actually believe that Conservatives want to kill women, children, and starve the poor? If so, you so-called Democrat Christians are truly “FOOLS”.

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