Follow Jesus, Not the R or the D (Thank You Readers!)

Can a Christian be a Democrat?

That’s a loaded question in today’s America. We have one political party directly targeting Christians to the point of having paid organizers who “work” the churches for them. Meanwhile the other political party has become the outpost for every Christian-bashing group going. 

It would seem, based on that analysis, that the party providing the political home to the Christian bashers would be the one to avoid. That was the basic response of many of the commenters on my earlier post on this question. 

The arguments went back and forth, up and down, all along the political spectrum, but the upshot was that the Democratic party is hostile territory for traditional Christians, while the Republican Party is more welcoming to them. 

One commenter raised the question of what is a Christian. After all, there are some denominations who use the moniker Christian on their church bulletins and fit right in with the Democrats. Are they less Christian than the others?

In my opinion, all this begs the central question. Let me reframe it to be more specific. Can a traditional Christian who accepts, believes and tries to follow the 2,000 year old Christian teachings about human conduct and morality be a Democrat?

The converse question also bears a look: Can that same Christian be a Republican?

I think the answer to both these questions is yes … and no. 

You can certainly register as either a Democrat or a Republican. But you may not, on peril of your soul, budge one inch on the 2,000-year consistent teachings of traditional Christianity. 

Abortion? 

Can’t do it or support it.

Gay marriage?

Nope.

Stealing from the poor to give to the rich?

Uh-uh.

Unjust discrimination against other people?

Not allowed.

Following Ayn Rand?

Are you kidding?

The truth is that Christians can and should go just about everywhere in our society. We need to engage the culture at every level. But we cannot compromise the Gospels of Jesus Christ while we are doing it. 

If you follow that simple rule, believe me, you’re going to catch flak from whichever political party you join. Both parties torture the Gospels to make the Gospels fit themselves. Both parties have their toady churches who enable them to do this by providing theological cover. 

I’ve heard preachers quote take Bible verses out of context to justify everything from gay marriage to doing away with safety standards on food. The right wing does it for the corporations. The left wing does it for the gays and the abortion industry. 

This has reached the absurd point that people — intelligent people — will argue about which party is closer to Jesus. 

Repeat after me: Political parties are not churches. They are about getting power and keeping power. Everything else they say is a lie. 

The Republicans formed their pro life position as a strategy, not as a morality. They realized that it was an issue that could be used as a wedge to divide the Democratic party from their core constituencies of labor and working class people. This has been largely successful for the Republican Party.

It has not benefitted the sanctity of life or Christianity in this country. In fact, it has marginalized the whole concept of the sanctity of human life and turned it into a power issue in power politics. This over-zealous support by many religious leaders of the Republican Party and all its positions, including some that are quite evil, has tarnished the moral and prophetic voice of Christianity and weakened the leadership of Christian clergy.

People are sick of the Jesus-is-a-Republican heresy. Unfortunately, they tend to over-simplify and blame all Christianity for the sins of some of its more politically motivated leaders.

On the other side of the spectrum, good Christians are sick of hearing from the anything goes religious leaders who have searched the scriptures and come up with a namby-pamby version of Jesus that basically oks anything anyone wants to do except be against government hand outs.

Let me be clear about this. You can not say that killing unborn children is ok and speak for Christ at the same time. Conversely, you can not slight the needs of women or ignore the disgusting exploitation of and violence against women that is drowning our culture and be speaking for Jesus. 

You can not put your political party ahead of your fealty to Christ and be a faithful Christian. You can not do it. It makes no difference if you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you do not look at your party and see that it is doing things that are anathema to Christian teaching and following Christ, you need to get on your knees and pray for forgiveness and guidance. You have put the wrong god to the forefront of your life. 

Can a Christian be a Democrat?

Yes.

Can a Christian be a Republican?

Yes.

Can a Christian follow their political party instead of Jesus?

No.

We are called to convert the world, not let the world convert us. That includes our political parties. 

  • D. A. Christianson

    Not surprisingly, I agree with you almost completely, with only a couple of exceptions to wit.

    “Stealing from the poor to give to the rich?

    Uh-uh.”

    Stealing from the rich to give to the poor is just as bad-stealing is stealing, and maybe the reason we never needed redistribution before was that we could afford to support relief agencies (and the church) properly when the state wasn’t stealing half our income.

    and:

    “Following Ayn Rand?

    Are you kidding?”

    On religion, of course not, but politically she was nothing more rabid than any other libertarian, she just stated the beliefs pertaining to that system more boldly than most, and mostly they are correct. I have major problems arguing with people who say, “A=A” after all. She was rather irascible, and not much given to charity, which is deplorable but charity is about one and his God, not the state.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Charity is a tax from heaven. He is not a good citizen who refuses to pay.

      I’m not for the libertarian starve-the-beast concept. Government does have its uses. But I sure wouldn’t mind bringing back the Nun’s Loophole- and extending it to any who give away more than their income tax bracket. Such people shouldn’t have to pay taxes- at all.

      I’m not for extending it to corporations though. In fact, I’d like to see the entire concept of a corporation done away with.

      • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/ D. A. Christianson

        Sorry about the delay.

        My view as well, but it doesn’t wash with those who don’t believe in heaven, does it?

        I could support that, if someone can find a way to guarantee it to continue, which can’t be done, de jure, because one Congress cannot bind the next Congress.

        OK, tell me how you are going to organize a business the size of Delta Airlines without the corporate structure. Because that’s why we have them. They were started to aggregate enough capital to build the railroads. They’re easy to criticize (I know, I do a lot of it too) but what is the replacement?

        • TheodoreSeeber

          I was gone over the weekend myself.

          The way to make it continue, is the same way we do it here in Oregon- we make it a constitutional amendment.

          I would argue that with basic interpersonal contract law and modern information technology, you can organize anything *without* adding legal protection to it. Sure, several million individual contracts would be hard to maintain, but certainly not impossible.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    “If you follow that simple rule, believe me, you’re going to catch flak from whichever political party you join. Both parties torture the Gospels to make the Gospels fit themselves. Both parties have their toady churches who enable them to do this by providing theological cover. ”

    This. This is the truth.

  • peggy-o

    Excellent post! Too much party worship and ideological idolatry these days. What’s frustrating is watching our most fundamental rights being stripped away by both parties while Dems and Repubs point fingers at each other. Here’s to a post 2 party world where christians and people of goodwill can discover and together defend the fullness of truth and love that is the heart of 2.000 years of constant christian teaching. Cheers!

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I guess my comments were lost. No way for me to reproduce them, at least i don’t feel like making the effort. Too bad. I’m sure I’ll say it again sometime. Commenting on blogs is an act of repeating oneself…lol.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Hey I did find my comments to this in my Disquis history. I had three major comments to the original post: First is my initial comment, then Rebecca replied, and then I replied to her reply, she replied again, and then I had a final reply. I can’t reproduce Rebecca’s replies but here are my three comments.

    Well, I agree with the very last answer. Of course we follow
    Jesus over anything else, not just political party. But there’s several things
    in there on how you characterize the Republican Party that I think are unfair.
    I’ll just pick the most grievous one. You said this, “The Republicans
    formed their pro life position as a strategy, not as a morality.” Now
    there is strategy in everything every political party does, so the first half
    of the claim is obviously correct. But to claim it’s not based on morality
    implies (1) you sat in on their conversations, (2) you can read what is in
    their hearts, and (3) you paint with a broad brush across the whole party what
    may be a fraction of the party. By and large, pro-life and traditional values
    are a political loser on a national level. You know that. The party sticks its
    neck out by being pro-life. The Republican Party has essentially disappeared
    from the Northeast and West Coast because it is pro-life. Here in NYC the City
    Council is I think 47 to 4 Democrat to Republican, and the distiguishing issue
    is tradional values. Out of the 47 there may be one or two pro-life. And you
    can’t tell me that George W. Bush is not sincerely pro-life, or Congressman
    Chris Smith, even Senator Marco Rubio. In fact Henry Hyde (a Republican) was
    the key Congressman that set up the Hyde Amendment that prevented federal funds
    to be spent on abortion, which by the way, your Democratic President (i don’t
    consider Obama my president any longer) has trampled upon. Finally, check out
    Life News and tell me they don’t know which party is pro-life:

    http://www.lifenews.com/2011/0

    and

    http://www.lifenews.com/2012/0

    All the Republicans (rank and file) I know are pro-life. Almost all the
    Democrats I know (rank and file) are pro-abortion.

    —————————————————————————————————————————————–

    May I ask what difference it makes whether R’s are sincere
    or not? All I know is they tend to vote for the things I support and the D’s
    tend to vote against it. What choice do I really have? The Republican Party is
    not an idol for me to use The Anchoress’s terminology. i try to be a
    responsible citizen and try to shape the country and culture as best I can (and
    apparently failing miserably by the way) and I believe it is best to support
    one of the two parties to get that done. I don’t support or like everything the
    republican Party does. I am not a Libertarian, and I’m disheartened at the
    Libertarian wing that is gaining strength. I am a Conservative and believe that
    through tradition and values do we achieve a better society. The Libertarian
    wing is gaining strength because traditional values are a political loser. Who
    knows, maybe one of these days i’ll drop out of the political process
    altogether.

    By the way, I’ve been re-reading Dante recently and he was active in the
    political process of his day and was a member of the political party that went
    against the papacy. Eight hundred years later even the Catholic Church agrees
    that involvement in the politics of its day was a mistake. So claiming that one
    should support Jesus over a political party can be suspect. Unless it’s clear
    like abortion, it’s not always possible to know where Jesus stands on the
    issues.

    —————————————————————————————————————————————–

    I think I am real. Me supporting Democrats who vote against
    me positions is not a viable option. ;) Maybe I’m missing something, but the
    HHS Mandate did not go through the legislative process. It was directed by
    Obama through whatever power Obamacare gave him. Every Republican voted against
    Obamacare. From what I remember Romney repeatedly campaigned against it.

  • Lisa Ann Homic

    Steal from the rich to give it to the poor?


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