Every so often I do something that gets press coverage beyond the Oklahoma border.
If this coverage includes the fact that I am (a) a Democrat, and (b) pro life, I know that several commenters on whatever news story or blog my name appears are going to chime in with the opinion that no one can be both (a) a Democrat and, (b) pro life, and that I must be phony, bogus, a Judas goat and a liar. These verbal brickbats come from both sides of the political divide.
It seems that my dual citizenship in both the Democrat and pro life political kingdoms makes me something of a universal hate object.
When it was just the abortion issue, this seemed a bit over the top. After all, the Republican party is not exactly true to the Gospels, either. Religious leaders and their followers in both the Democratic and Republican camps torture the Gospels to make the teachings of Christ conform to their political party. I see it all the time.
However, it’s not just abortion any longer. It seems some days as if the National (as opposed to the local) Democratic Party has declared total, all-out war, not just on certain aspects of basic Christian morality, but on the First Amendment and Christianity itself.
I stopped attending Democratic Party functions in Oklahoma a number of years back simply because it was such an unpleasant experience. I mean, who wants to go spend an evening with people who lie about you and slander you and call you names that you can’t even repeat in polite company? Why would I want to be around folks who attack my faith and tell me repeatedly in every way they can, that they want me to go away?
The question arises, if I’m not a phony about my religious beliefs and my positions on issues concerning the sanctity of human life and the family, then, why am I Democrat? Is it stubbornness, or is it stupidity?
In truth, I am stubborn.
And I can be stupid.
But in this instance of party affiliation it’s more complicated — or maybe more simple — than that.
The things I described above broke my heart and made me so miserable that I did consider changing political parties. I wanted to get away from the political party that treated me like dirt. I just plain wanted out.
I have a habit of asking God what I should do before I act on a decision this big. Sometimes I get an answer, other times, I don’t. This time I got an answer, and a strong one. I asked if I should change parties, and the answer was …No.
I waited a few weeks then asked again. This time, the answer was …
A few months later, I asked one last time, and the answer was no, with an explanation that I won’t share here.
After that, I decided to stop badgering God and accept His will. I didn’t understand it. But I knew that I could not change parties.
And I continued to get kicked around by my fellow Democrats. And it continued to hurt me. And I wondered why God would want me to keep on taking this garbage.
And God used me in the next few years to do things for issues such as pro life that I could not have done if I hadn’t been a Democrat.
That D after my name was like a key in a lock that turns it over, click, and opens the door. There was one time in particular where I was like a chess piece that He had moved into place and then left there until He needed me. We passed one monumental pro life bill that stopped horrible carnage only because I was a Democrat. If I had been sitting on the other side of the chamber, that bill would have died. There was a reason why I couldn’t change parties, and, in time, I saw it played out.
The short answer to the question Can a Christian be a Democrat is, yes. In fact, I would say that He needs more Christians to be Democrats, and He needs them now more than ever before.
We are now in a post Christian era in which Christians and Christian values are under attack from almost every quarter, including the political. This is, to paraphrase that great agnostic Thomas Paine, not the time for summer soldiers and sunshine patriots. These really are the times that try men’s souls.
Christians need to retreat to a life of prayer, scripture and the sacraments to build their spiritual strength. We need to find our deepest friendships with one another, where we can be accepted and loved for our faith. Then, we need to join the battle by engaging the world in a constructive, consistent and unwavering manner.
There is no place where we should not go with our faith, including, absolutely, the Democratic Party.