A Guide to Scripture, Politics, & the Budget–Part 1

Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate creates a perfect opportunity for Faithful Democrats to highlight how far Republican principles have strayed from Biblical ones.  For years, there has been an unholy alliance within the Republican Party between the Christian Right, the Libertarians, and Big Business, which agree on very little other than the importance of power.  For decades, the Christian Right was the dominant group in that triad, but the rise of the libertarian Tea Party has changed that power dynamic.  “Compassionate conservatism” is dead and has been replaced by a Republican Party now openly worshiping at Ayn Rand’s altar to selfishness.

Republicans are still trying to have it both ways–claiming the mantel of faith and citing Scripture on a few hot button issues—and then putting away their Bibles and turning to Darwinian social and economic theories to support their primary policy positions.  Republicans have largely been getting away with it because we don’t call them on their hypocrisy.

My underlying assumption in writing this Guide is that Democrats should not cede the prophetic language of Scripture and its ability to inspire and frame issues in a moral context to the other side.  Many traditional Democratic positions are rooted in the teachings of scripture, and it is time Democrats stopped losing on the Bible.

The Bible is neither Democrat nor Republican.  But the language of Scripture calls people to turn their attention away from selfish desire and personal gain and to focus instead on serving God and their neighbors.  Furthermore, it is a language that speaks with moral clarity and purpose.  Therefore it speaks with authority to the policy debates currently underway in our country.  In short, it is a language Democrats cannot afford to ignore.

As Paul Ryan’s budget becomes a central issue in the upcoming election “faithful Democrats” must be willing to discuss budget and tax policies from a moral perspective and to challenge Republicans to apply the same moral codes to kitchen table issues that they so eagerly embrace on bedroom issues.

Over the next week at Faithfuldemocrats.com, we’ll publish a series looking at what Scripture has to say about:

I’m looking forward to the conversation!

About Eric Sapp

Eric Sapp is a founding partner of the Eleison Group, the primary political consulting firm working with Democrats and the progressive faith community on outreach and communication to faith, veteran, and values voters. Eleison was a lead consultant on the DCCC’s ’08 “Red to Blue” program, and has worked with numerous national and state Democratic campaigns. Prior to founding Eleison, Eric was Senior Partner at Common Good Strategies (CGS), which rose to national prominence following the success in ’06 of its new approach to faith outreach and messaging for the DSCC, US Senators Casey and Brown, Governors Strickland, Granholm, and Sebelius. Eric also serves as Executive Director of the American Values Network, and has worked as a legislative aid for Representative David Price and committee staffer for Senator Edward Kennedy. A North Carolina native who grew up in South Florida, Eric attended Davidson College and Master of Divinity and a Master of Public Policy from Duke University. Eric has served for five years in the parish, and lives in northern VA with his wife and high school sweetheart, Julie.