Friday, May 13, 2005

Letters

I’ve spent the last three days sending emails to workers within the Democratic Party telling them of this web site and asking them to visit. I give the subject “Christian Democrats” to the email. Pairing those two words together almost always gets attention. While I have gotten a couple of emails back saying that Christian Faith shouldn’t be discussed as part of any Democratic ideology, by a margin of about six to one the emails are entirely encouraging.

Letters are great, but posting to the blog is better. It is set up for two-way communication and in doing so we show a community of Democrats that are of Faith. This is something that the country needs to become aware of. At the bottom of each article is a little thing with the number of comments "0 comments," "8 comments," etc. Click right on the “comments” word and it will open up a little place for you to write whatever is on your mind. I get sent an email that you wrote something, and I will respond here.

Here are some samples from the encouraging side:

From the short and sweet (and an agnostic I have happily since come to learn):

“What a wonderful idea! Thank you, so much!”

To a personal statement:

“From a personal point of view this is important to me.”

To a more thoughtful, considered and considerate comment:

“It is a part of my fundamental values as a Democrat and as an American that each individual is free to worship and believe as he/she chooses. Just as I would not want you (or anyone else) preaching your version of morality to me, I would not seek to preach my beliefs to anyone else. I abhor the influence of the so-called Christian Right on the politics of today; I would just as vigorously oppose any Christian Left movement for exactly the same reasons. Among the most moral things I can do are caring (and acting on that concern) about children, the elderly, the poor, the sick and the persecuted and mistreated. I am pro-life, in that I abhor capital punishment, murder and war. I am pro-choice, in that (I) believe a woman and her mate have the right to subscribe to the values of their own choosing. I suspect that Jesus would agree with me on many of my beliefs, but I am NOT a Christian (I am Jewish by birth). I suspect also that Jesus would be horrified by the actions and words spread about in his name by the "Moral Majority" and their kind. Based on my scant knowledge of Christianity, I expect that racism, sexism, denial of sustenance to the poor and ill, abandonment of the elderly and non-acceptance of classes of people would be counter to his teachings. While I applaud your spirit and enthusiasm in condemning the GOP's preposterous supposition that God is on their side, I hope you will not defame and devalue your own faith by attempting to politicize it or to weave it into the political thought process.”

I replied to that writer with this:

“Thanks for taking the time to put it to words. I know that there are many of the same opinion that keep it to themselves and it does me good to hear it plainly spoken.

Just as you and I feel the GOP is trampling on a fine country, my pain is double because they are doing the same to my faith which is as my family. From your perspective consider it being twice riled to the same degree at the same time. I don't know if you have read anything on my blog yet, but my position is pretty clearly stated in "Faithful or Not, Here We Come! Together."

I give you my word that I will not try to convert you. Once I've let you know that you can talk to me about faith, any faith, I leave it to you to open the conversation. Without your request I will work by your side to remove the GOP and build all those things you mentioned that we have in common as part of our society and no longer preach to you. I have a good friend, an art director as it so happens, and a confirmed atheist. He says he likes me anyway because I don't always try to convert him.

But my faith is a part of my person and a part of my thinking process. As such it is also part of my political thought process. The neocons have bastardized it, taken the words, the hymns and the cadence and are using it to lull some that don't think so much into a camp I consider ... sorry, no other word for it ...wrong. My aim is two-fold - to reach those that have been swayed that are still open to the ideas I share, and to make peace between people of all faiths, including no faith, towards a common good. Our world deserves it.

Again, thanks for the comments. I hope someday to meet you and share a smile.”

An email expressing support and action (love that!):

“Thank you. That is well written and I will use some of it in my letter to the editor, with proper acknowledgement to the author.”

And an email from a person who has quite obviously been thinking along parallel lines:

“Thank you so much for your web-site. Christian Democrats need to stand up and speak the truth about the fundamentalism that threatens both Christianity and democracy.

The hatefulness and arrogance of the Christian right is diametrically opposed to real Christian values. For me, it is summed up in these simple phrases that occurred to me one day as I was driving to work:

Jesus Would Vote to Feed the Hungry
Jesus Would Vote to Heal the Sick
Jesus Would Vote to Clothe the Poor

Any one of these would make a great bumper sticker for the next election and might just get people thinking about real Christian values. Those Christian Democrats with the courage to stand up for the real values Jesus taught are true patriots.

The country needs to know that fundamentalism, of ANY kind is dangerous. Fundamentalists do not believe in democracy. They only use the democratic process to achieve their own ends. They do not believe in the rule of law. They are a greater threat to our democracy than any foreign terrorist. They are the enemy within-- constitutional terrorists who will continue to erode away at our constitutional rights for as long as we let them. This dialog is a beginning and one that will hopefully take root as time is running short.”


From a person that genuinely made me feel good with few words:

“I'm not quite sure how you found me, but I just wanted to tell you how much your e-mail means to me!! I'm off to check out your blog, and be assured that I will forward this info to as many people as I can think of.

I am a firm believer that the Christian faith does not belong to the Republicans. I am a Democrat, and am proud to say that I am Catholic as well.

So, I just wanted to say thank you for sending this my way. I truly appreciate it!!”


And from a woman speaking plainly, beautifully (with locations deleted for her privacy) –

“I am a home grown woman from ...

I am a Christian but not like I was taught in Sunday School at the Baptist Church. I am in the … Democratic Executive Committee, Woman's Federation, LWV and American Legion Executive Committee, so I stay very busy. I want to know how Democrats can get across that we are Christians. I believe that the Christian Right are hypocrites.”

And one more that gets right to the point:

“This is a good thing that you do.

I am a Democratic activist and a religious scholar. I am very much
informed by Christian tradition. This thing that you are doing will help Democrats understand people of faith.”


Thanks for the letters, folks, but let's post our comments here and keep it open for all to see.

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