Why It’s Okay To Be Christian And Democrat

I grew up hating democrats. There, I said it. Now it’s on the table. I also hated people who smoked, drank, had sex … the list goes on and on and on and—you get the picture. Maybe hate is too strong a word, but I knew they were going to hell. Part of this can be explained by my parents (yes, I am a nurture kind of guy—it’s in my nature). Those of us who are in the roughly 23 to 30 year phase of our lives remember the dreaded 80s and the conservative radicalism of the time. For those of you who didn’t have the distinct delight of living through the pleasure-crushing advantages of Bill Gothard brand Christianity, just watch TBN for a full 24 hour cycle, and you’ll get the picture.

For starters, my father was a card carrying member of the Christian Coalition, and a staunch supporter of the Republican Party—he was even a delegate, oh boy! The U.N. was furthering the one world government, credit cards were a step away from selling our souls to Satan and tattooing 666 all over our bodies with glee, the liberals were ruining a perfectly good country, and Buchanan was a stand up candidate. For my father, even Bush was a little too leftist. I wasn’t allowed to watch “He-man,” the Smurfs (I can’t believe that my spell check didn’t underline Smurfs in red), Ninja Turtles, or even, yes it’s true, Voltron (ah, that’s underlined). Christian rock was borderline “of the devil,” and don’t even think about secular music. The worst experience was when my parents confiscated a Christmas present from my favorite cousins, the box set of the Chronicles of Narnia, because it had magic and witches. Evil Christian apologists.

Now, I’m everything I’d always hated, and I love it. As I sit here writing this article on my laptop, I’m listening to the new Foo Fighters album (which rocks!), drinking beer, contemplating whether or not to have a smoke, and I had sex this morning (before you get your knickers in a knot, I’m married). And the kicker is that, much to my father’s despair, I’m a democrat—or demoncrat to some people. I’m also a conservative Christian. But wait! Is it possible to be a conservative Christian democrat? The answer is no, resoundingly. I’m a democrat. I’m a conservative Christian. To me they are mutually exclusive.

As a conservative Christian I’m against perverse sexual acts of any kind, murder, gossip, abortion, and a whole gamut of immoral actions that we all struggle with and see others struggle with. I believe in the Godhead, and that Christ is the only way to salvation, unmerited grace, and yada yada yada.

As a Democrat I believe that lower taxes aren’t always the answer (wasn’t it Christ who said give to Caesar what is Caesar’s? Just a little humor.), especially when people in our nation depend on the charitable programs that get cut with the taxes. I believe minority groups are traditionally and even now underrepresented, and that it is our moral responsibility as a nation to help them achieve the advantages we have had. I believe in diplomatic discourse over war, and especially over “pre-emptive strikes,” which set a dangerous precedent, laying the bricks in the road of imperialism. I believe that there is nothing wrong with universal health care or big governments for that matter. Most of all I believe in equality, and that the Democratic Party, not the republicans who seem to usually favor, well, the favored, work hardest to provide equal footing for all Americans. I, however, do not support abortion, and I’m not the only democrat that doesn’t.

There is a movement within the party to strike the issue of abortion on demand from the platform. If you are interested in this at all, you can check out democratsforlife.org. Obviously abortion is a lynch pin issue in any election because it is really one of the few issues that hits upon both the religious and secular implications of politics, and I don’t usually support or vote for pro-choice candidates. In consequence, even though I’m a democrat, I usually have to vote independent or republican (this doesn’t mean I have to like it). But everywhere you look in politics, there are tough moral choices and abortion isn’t necessarily the only one at the top. Economic sanctions on already poor countries may cause as much death and pain as abortion on demand. And the republicans’ misguided trust in a broken, and unjust capital punishment system, in a number of cases, condemns innocent men, who are primarily racially profiled, to their deaths. This affects the families of these people and further erodes already weak race relations in the U.S. Don’t even get me started on foreign policy.

Now, before some of you exhibit the republican knee-jerk effect (and in all fairness the dems have their own version), exclaiming how I blow the things out of proportion, or that equating economic sanctions with abortion is not only wrong, but evil, or how easy it is to just play the race card, remember this: You do not serve a political party, but God. We must always ask ourselves, “What is just in God’s eyes?” That is, of course, easier said than done, but it must be done. Abortion is an evil we live with every day. Economic sanctions are evils we don’t see everyday, but nonetheless evils to the people they starve. And on the race card: A republican friend of mine likes to joke about stereotypes. His going motto is, “If it’s a stereotype, it’s a stereotype for a reason.” Much the same way, when it comes to the race card—if there weren’t a race card to begin with, I wouldn’t play it.

The point at hand is this: Evangelical America for the most part wants us to believe that “republican” and “conservative Christian” are synonymous. It’s everywhere you look, from the Christian Coalition to Focus on the Family to this very website (see “The Peter Parker Christian Life”
). All these groups are comprised of loving, committed Christians—brothers and sisters in Christ—who have unfortunately confused the Gospel, which is eternal and unchanging, with the secular and relative world of politics, which is ever changing, ever shifting, ever making concessions. I say, don’t believe the hype. I align myself with the Democratic Party because I like many of its political principles, almost all of which are not Christian moral issues, but I depart from them when I see things that contradict my religious convictions. I refuse to be told that one political party is more godly than another, and I refuse to preach my political beliefs as Christian truths. Whether you are independent, republican, democrat, green, communist—whatever you are—I challenge you to do the same.

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