Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Open Forum

I don't publish new stuff that often and here's why: I think that we all get enough rants about lies, war, ignorance of science, lack of compassion and general ineptitude that I don't need to add to it here. Y'all know that stuff already.

This site is about the intersection of Christian faith and American politics. So successful has the right wing propaganda machine been with their claim of Christianity that many Christian Progressives need a little help, a little support and companionship, in the pursuit of understanding that their faith is indeed real and can in fact align with a party different from the GOP. Very different, I thank God.

I know there are readers! Many days over 300, some days in the 90s, others as high as 500. And you do read - average length of stay is over 20 minutes. OKOKOK, cool your jets: the only info my ISP gathers is domain, what pages are viewed and for how long. I don't know who you are and don't need to unless you want to introduce yourself.

But I would appreciate some comments back. Open forum here - let the people speak!

Here are a couple of questions to get it rolling:

1. How important is a politicians faith?

2. How do you know that their faith aligns with yours?

3. Is there an honest politician in Washington, DC?

4. What attributes do you want in your Congressional candidates for 2006?

5. Or make up your own question and answer it.

Sorry, no push button topics here, abortion and homosexuality have their own threads elsewhere on the blog, but if you gotta, you gotta.

Let the people write!

37 Comments:

Anonymous Karla said...

hi. I read some of your blog today, because I have recently been struck by the amount of respectable Christians who no longer support the Republican party. Not only do they not support it, but they talk of "hating" it.
I have always voted Republican. I am a Christian. I am pro-life. I do not think that it right to support gay marriage. Therefore, when I consider which party to vote for, I consider the moral decisions these leaders will make. I know that morality does not make a good leader. I know that economically, our country may be suffering because of our involvement in other countrys. And yet...I still feel that my vote should be given to the person who holds strong moral values, regardless of the political issues that are involved. For a Christian, high or low taxes are not a Biblical issue. Nor are other economic issues. What SHOULD be an issue are the things that the Bible specifically addresses....like homosexuality and abortion....
I am simply giving my thoughts so that you can understand my confusion. I find myself in the center of alot of Christian Democrats who don't really seem to know why they are there....except that they are angry about our economy and tend to blame it on the President.
Help me to understand more clearly.
thanks.

2/28/2006 1:55 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Hi Karla -

First, I speak harshly to anyone who says they "Hate" anything. There is much to be dissatisfied with in the Republican Party and elsewhere but hate is a losing emotion. There is no value, no gain, in hate. If Jesus Christ was about anything, He was about love. So sorry for those whom you know that express hate, they need some love in their lives.

Your positions on abortion and gay marriage are doctrine to many Christians. It is their (and your) reading of the Word that brings them to the conclusion that these two specific items are more important than the love Jesus asks us to express to each other. Just as love of the unborn and holding life whenever possible is called for in the bible, love of the homosexual as a person is called for, too.

But is it sin to abort an unborn child, or to engage in a homosexual relationship? For me, yes, I think so. I believe, and this is my own personal understanding, that all the law of the Old Testament still stands. Beyond that, though, is the forgiveness of the new covenant in Christ. If we still stood with the old law all adulterers would be stoned to death just as would homosexuals, there would be no divorce allowed even in abusive situations, and a host of other shortcomings on our part would be dealt with severely. Jesus tells us not to judge others but to leave that to God. "Let he who is without sin throw the first stone" is to be remembered always when trying to tell anyone of their sin.

Abortion was, I am told, performed in the time of Jesus Christ yet is mentioned not once in the Bible as far as my knowledge goes. Abortion is a horrid thing and I have written about it in another part of the blog titled "Abortion." I also address homosexuality at length along with many responses in "Same Sex Marriage."

The Bible speaks more of poverty, helping the least of us, than it does of any other issue. Read the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, and see what other moral issues are in play as far as God in the form of Jesus sees it. The two issues that you speak of are made more prominent by the GOP media players so as to excite those who hold them dear. Those media players are masters of manipulation and I think do a disservice to God in the way they exploit chosen passages and ignore others. I don't hate them but I sure do dislike that so many people are driven from the Church, or kept from going to Church, because they expect all there have the GOP opinion as part of their soul.

Frankly, the economy was going to tank with or without George W. Bush as president. 9-11 hastened that. There are much greater worries, though. The long term economy is going to get worse due to policies that allow even more outsourcing of jobs. Social Security, not a great system but one that works, does need some mending but not a dismantling. To give Wall Steet the huge added income of setting up Private Retirement Accounts is a nightmare that will feed the rich and steal from the poor. The war in Iraq, quite likely to spread to Iran, was unnecessary and is costing right now a couple hundred billion dollars. From the projections I read on future care for disabled veterans it will cost a couple trillion. Oh, our president would like to cut veterans benefits, too.

Are the Democrats perfect? No way. But they are better providors for the least of us, they have balanced budgets and reduced deficits for several terms, and they care about the worker more than the corporation. I would love to see real campaign finance reform but haven't heard much of that from either party.

For me, it comes down to the person. As you say we want moral people as part of our government. I hold up Jimmy Carter as the most moral president in recent memory. Perfect? No. But darned good.

One final thought - we are a Christian people (you, I and others that have found Jesus Christ as our savior, our forgiver of sin and our guide in life) but we are in a secular country. Our founding fathers were of faith but of different theologies - they each had their own perception of God and Christ in their lives. The laws of our country as they created them, are laws that are fair to all people, all faiths, and no faith. The faith you and I share holds us to a higher law, one that we accept with thankfulness to Jesus Christ for his suffering on our behalf. To make that a law for all people is to put us in the same position Israel was in before the coming of Christ - all knew what was expected, but none could live up to it.

Live the life the Word asks of you. Spread the Word, and the Love, of Jesus Christ. Study the Bible with people of varied opinion and express your opinion openly. It isn't easy, but it is, I think, what the Word was given to us for.

May His Peace be with you always.

2/28/2006 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Playtah said...

Wow. Freakin' Amen!!! I so enjoy your blog. You always hit the nail right on the head, and express yourself very eloquently.
I have been rethinking my concept and ideas about government lately (I'm only 25, so there are of course wiser people than I am), but I have come to a similar conclusion. Many people try to make the government into a church. Setting up a government that is affiliated with a specific religion is not good, as we can see with the sectarian fighting in Iraq. You're right. The laws have to be fair to all faiths.
I've come to the conclusion that the purpose of government is to provide a framework of how a large group of people can live together in harmony. Therefore, many of its rules must necessarily be general. For example, regardless of faith, most people would agree that “murder” is wrong. But not everyone agrees on the definition of “murder”. (i.e. not everyone thinks that abortion is murder. On the other hand, some think that simply eating meat is murder.) There is not unanimous agreement across the board on what constitutes right or wrong in every single case. So we take the general consensus as the rule, and let each individual interpret the grayer subcategories for themselves. To keep peace, government and its policies should be a REFLECTION of what the people already believe. For example, in the abortion issue, Christians often go about it the wrong way. We go after the courts and lawmakers to make abortion illegal. But to change the GOVERNMENT of the people, you need to go after the HEARTS of the people. Right now, a majority of the people BELIEVE abortion is ok. If you want to fight abortion, you need to change the minds and beliefs of the people first. THEN the laws will change as the people change. If the hearts of the people don’t change, why bother trying to change a law? You can’t change a law and expect that to change the people. That’s backwards. The people have to change first. Christianity and other groups go about it the reverse way many times, it seems.
Because the government is a reflection of the people, the concept of government itself is a-moral. It does not create morality; it simply reflects the culture. A lot of people try to get government to create standards of morality. Again, that’s backwards. Change the people first, and you will change the government.

Just my thoughts. Again, I absolutely love your blog and your thoughts!

--Playtah (I’ve also posted before under the name “Wendy”)

3/01/2006 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Playtah said...

PS I was just using abortion as an example of government, not to get a topic started outside of the Abortion forum. Sorry!

3/01/2006 10:31 AM  
Blogger instamom said...

I DO understand and agree with you that we, as Christians, should not hold nonbelievers up to our standards. I am not sure it encourages a faith/relationship with Christ for us to tell a homosexual that he/she should not be involved in his/her relationship. I don't think it encourages a person to desire Christ when we tell them to change BEFORE coming to our churches. I agree that we shouldn't hold people responsible for our faith's standards....I still think that I want a president that holds strong moral...that has integrity, that values truth...that really cares about people...I think, maybe, instead of claiming to be either Democrat OR Republican, I would like to think that I would weigh each election very carefully and vote for the INDIVIDUAL running, rather than the party. That would make me a...Christian Nonparty, I guess.

3/03/2006 6:29 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

A Christian Nonparty is what many feel, especially after identifying with Christian Republicans simply because the GOP claimed Christianity as their turf. But Christ is bigger than that.

I am actually at the point where a politicians faith is NOT the most important thing to me - it is their moral values which I identify as looking to whom they are beholden and how they repay favors. Too many Christians gleefully accept the foregiveness that is offered but don't accept the responsibility that comes with it. I'm thinking Tome Delay here, but there are many others on both sides of the isle. Problem for the GOP is that they have layed a claim on faith and when they don't live up to it the shortcomings are in the spotlight.

I actually got a call from the Democratic Governors' Association a while back. Talk about surprised! A nice gent just wanted to thank me for doing what I am doing here on the blog. He also mentioned that he was certain all but one of the Democratic Governors was of Christian faith. He wasn't sure about the one, but thought they were Christian, too. The beauty of it was, up until Tim Kaine whom I have no problem with, that these governors don't wear their faith on their sleeve at every opportunity.

And I do mean opportunity. It is the use of the Fundamentalist Christian Right by the GOP that I see as extremely and intentionally opportunistic. They ally themselves and drink each others bathwater while in the end trampling on an essence of faith many of us hold dear: humility.

Yes, in a large gathering we should take a moment to praise God and yes, in a small group we should do the same. But NO we should not ask God to bless on party over another, nor one country over another, nor anyone over anything. To consider that God has a preference for any one group is to reject the fairness inherent in the creator.

With thanks to playtah and instamom both - it isn't the president I am so concerned about. George W. and his handlers are doing all the damage they will do and then they will be gone. More important are the congressional elections coming up this year. The only way to stop this insanity of fiscal irresponsibility, of intentional deception and of pure incapability, is to get rid of the GOP.

Secondarily, the only way to impeach Bush is to gain control of the house. But let's not remove him, please. Is there a more frightening concept than that of Dick Chaney running the White House?

Sorry, bit of a rant, but it's early out here.

3/04/2006 7:13 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

Hi. I stumbled upon your blog via a Google search.

I live in Columbus, Ohio. While it is a largely Democratic city, Ohio, as you know, is overwhelmingly Republican. As someone who votes Democrat, I feel like a fish out of water.

My biggest concern, as a Christian, with the Repubiclan party is that its biggest champions, to me, don't represent the Christ I've met in the Bible. Jesus did not condone sin but he loved people. In his quest to show love to others Christ presented a better way. It takes a lot of effort (and love) to show how others err in a way that is constructive. Followers of Jesus are called to be his ambassadors. How can one represent Christ's love when he or she is hurling insults and putting down part of God's creation? Jesus spent a lot of time talking about the poor. The most public Christian conservatives out there are hardly poor, and, indeed, don't even seem to have the poor on their minds. It's really a shame. The very picture of American Christianity is the polar opposite of what one would see in the Bible. How can we till the harvest this way? Is it any wonder that the sentiment against Christianity is so deep and raw?

As Christians who are choosing to fight this incorrect and unbiblical representation of Christianity in our country need to stand up and end this nonsense. The bridge between those who know the Lord and those who do not is getting ever wider. More than ever we need to ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?"

Theresa

3/09/2006 8:16 AM  
Blogger Patti said...

I am glad I found your blog. I do not want Christianity to become the religion of the U.S. People need to be Christian through conversion. I believe more is obtained through prayer than political energy. As a Catholic, we have a huge social justice part of our faith. The democrats are more in alignment with that. I also think the one real Christian we had in office was Jimmy Carter. His actions speak very loudly.

I hate even saying I am a Christian at times because people believe I am republican and conservative in politics.

I could go on-but then this would become an actual post and not a comment. You are on my links.

4/03/2006 5:03 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Now THAT is what I am all about with this blog - too many are now all the more reluctant to share their faith because the GOP has tied so closely to those of faith in the media.

The only way to win this is to become more open about stating your faith AND your politics. Saying it any way you want works, but it has to be said.

And you will be amazed at the responses you get from those outside of faith as well as those that also have been hiding theirs.

Give it a try, and thanks for the link!

4/03/2006 5:53 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

I am a Christian and a Republican. This is an interesting blog and different than the stereotype I had in mind. You seem very thoughtful and I actually agree with you on a lot of issues. While moral issues are important I've always been attracted to the free market principles of the Republican Party and think that they are more effective than large government welfare measures that foster dependency. I’m only 21 but from what I’ve seen the Democrats aren’t very good managers of money. Seeing how much pork we have in the budget right now makes me fear that under Democrats our fiscal situation would be worse. When it comes to welfare, I think that it should be left up to individuals and private charities. The government’s job is not to redistribute wealth but to ensure public safety and security. The government should not be concerned so much with the economic well being of its citizens but for their physical safety and protection of their constitutional rights. The principle of equality in America has always rested on the equality of rights, not the equality of outcomes.

I’ll get off the soap box now.

6/10/2006 9:59 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Well Ron, you're young, so I'll be a bit more considerate in my response. Oddly, while on a trip this past week, a high school aged girl said she was for "Pure Capitalism" and it gave me pause as does your comment here.

I think your simple lack of experience leads you to believe that pure capitalism works. It doesn't. In an ideal world, yes, it could be fine, but just as communism doesn't work because people aren't motivated, and socialism doesn't work, ditto, capitalism doesn't work unless there are controls in place.

Think Enron. Think the breakup of AT&T, which is now pretty much back together again. Think of our government passing LAW to protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies. Think of the lack of accounting on the no bid contracts for the billions spent in Iraq. Think of Tom Delay and all his henchmen.

Then think of government by the people and for the people, NOT for business. Business is not the expression of human endeavor in this great country. The people are.

You have bought the propaganda of the right in saying that they are better stewards of our money. If you stay on this course, remember this when social security and medicare go belly up, when the Chinese come to collect on all the T Bills they have bought, and again our real estate, the actual land of this country, becomes largely owned by people outside of this country.

Protectionist? Yes, to some degree, but isn't that good business? Isn't the purpose of our government to run itself as a good business, for the long haul, with respect to it's shareholders - the people?

What was our national debt in 1999? and in 2006? projected for 2010? Anyone have numbers? The Republicans love to say they want smaller government, when in truth they spend more than they take in. Is that stewardship or the new robber-baron philosophy?

I will give you this - there is too much pork in our budget, and both sides are to be held accountable. Simply put, though, the GOP has owned our government for the past four years and has done NOTHING to correct the pork problem, or many others. They continue to line their pockets, hire friends rather than competents, take great jobs with PACs after leaving their governmental jobs, and are an embarassment to the history of their party.

Don't buy their rhetoric, Ron. Think for yourself. Read the Bible. Pray to God. Listen.

6/12/2006 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Hi- very interesting blog. I would like to see Christian Democrats become more organized. Any thoughts? Also- do you have any contacts in Virginia? Finally- are there any good publications that align with an American Christian Democratic view? Closest I can think of is Sojourners or Christian Century, but both reject explictly Democrat views.

Thanks,
Tim

8/14/2006 7:34 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Hi Tim -

Thanks for the post and kind words. I was interviewed on a small radio station a while back and this was something the host considered, too. That Christian Democrat, singular, was Christian Democrats, plural. But I am one guy putting my thoughts to e-paper and this is it.

If you want an organization of Christian Democrats, make one. Find like minded people in your church or in your local Democratic Party and work together as a group towards some commonly decided goal. Voter registration and turnout might be good.

I like Sojourners alot. Especially BECAUSE of their lack of desire to pin their connection to one party. Christian ideals transcend party lines and both parties should be called to task when getting it wrong just as they should be congratulated when they get it right.

8/14/2006 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Tom said...

I can't tell you how much it means to me to see that another Christian feels the same way as I do. I was listening to the Frank Pastore show today and they were calling Jimmy Carter "The Enemy Within" and all kinds of hateful things. Its pretty typical for that radio show. They are admitted NeoCons and even had Anne Coulter as a guest. And they call themselves Christians!

Thanks again for your hard work and for putting your neck out there.

8/18/2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Tom -

They are Christians if they have a faith in Jesus Christ as their savior.

Just as the Sunni and Shi'a are both Muslim with significant differences, the various interpretations of the Bible and the denominations of the church also have differences. Add to that the differences within each congregation and we have wide differences of opinion on how to put Christian faith to work.

As a Lutheran who teaches youth (along with several other adult leaders) I stumble on the concept of "thru Faith alone we are saved." The best I can come up with is that yes, it is a gift from God that we can be saved simply by having faith in Jesus as our savior. To take it further tho, to define faith as a belief that drives us to treat others as Jesus told us to, to truly attempt to live God pleasing lives every moment, gives me pause as to what part of the Bible some of our Christian family seems to skip over while obsessing on others.

If only faith could unite us beyond the divisions that man (and woman) create that divide us.

Peace.

8/18/2006 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Well said, You are gifted with words and perspective my brother. Thankfully my church, although conservative, has said that it isn't worth making someone lose faith by arguing over politics.

8/18/2006 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Christian before I'm a republican, and in fact I would consider casting a vote for a good,
fine, upstanding democrat if the republican alternative were just plain aweful. I've been
thinking about these issues for a while.

Could you please give me five good reasons why I as a Christian should vote democratically?

I've asked my Christian democrat grandparents this question, no answer. They gave me some general
Biblical guidelines, but not a direct answer.

Since not having a direct answer annoys me (I love them anyway) and since I don't know any other
Christians who vote democrat, I turned to the web and found your blog.

I'm NOT interested in reasons why I shouldn't vote for XYZ candidate, NOR am I interested in
reasons why I shouldn't vote for any republican. I just want positive reasons why I should cast
my vote, in general, for democrats, based upon Scripture. References would be very helpful.

CD

10/28/2006 3:42 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Well, CD -

There aren't any quick answers that you probably haven't already heard but I'll give it a shot:

1. The environment.
2. The poor.
3. Our schools.
4. Corporate greed.
5. Peace.

Admittedly, I just walked in here, read your email (which I posted as a comment here) and wrote out those five things. I'll elaborate as well altho I think it hardly needed:

The GOP doesn't give a hoot about the environment. As individuals, many of them like their private hunting preserves, but clean water and air, keeping a variety of species alive and a place for them to live, and any concern about global warming take a distant second place to corporate profits.

I mentioned the poor, and I should have said the middle class. The middle class are the poor of the future. The poor of today? They will be even worse off than they are currently under any GOP programs that continue in place. Look not only at the bills that are passed, but also at the funding of those that seem hopeful. There is little or none. What is a program without funding? Window dressing for folks like you.

Our schools are among the worst in the industrialized world. This may have something to do with the selfishness of parents that think earning more and having a nicer house is as important as spending time with their kids but it also has a great deal to do with funding overall, with creation of new programs that aren't funded, and with an elite-ism that gives opportunities to those that already have them.

Corporate greed is my personal item of ... sorry, no better word for it ... hate. I try not to rant but wind up fuming anyway. The more I think of it, the more I realize that this country is no longer about the citizens, it is about the corporations. A strong America is now seen as a prosperous one. But where is the strength when the few share in great prosperity and the many are nickled, dimed and dollared to minimize or eliminate their savings? Getting rid of Social Security would be wonderful for every business that pays it (and I own one such business) and it would be a boon for Wall Street. The pharma groups have done especially well under the GOP, too. I sure wish I could get protection for my product in the sales place here while being truly competitive in the global marketplace.

and Peace ... what a wonderful concept. I truly don't know that it can be found before the thousand years, but creating a war under false pretenses sure isn't the way to get there. The war in Iraq served two purposes - a personal grudge from W. resolved and a huge payoff to the favored corporations that service it. I have come to realize that the reason the GOP doesn't want dictators is because, if they aren't in our pocket then they are extremely hard to buy off for our corporate interests. If there weren't oil in Iraq, we certainly wouldn't be there.

Lastly, I'll be up front and say that the Dems aren't perfect by any means. They take "donations" as well as the GOP does and, I think, give favor to those that donate. A look at the electricity deregulation in California shows that beautifully. Still, many of the donors to the Democratic Party do have good intent in being groups that care about the environment, kids, distribution of wealth, health and the well being of all.

OK, six reasons: health care. Universal health care might just save some of our biggest corporations if they haven't gone bankrupt already to break the union deals that were in part making them non-competitive. Am I against the unions? Yes and no. I think them too greedy when they can be and stupid for signing deals that aren't feasible in the long run. Would I want individual bargaining if I were a line worker in this economy? No way.

Sorry, not a terribly well considered response, but it's the time I have at the moment and I realize I strayed from purely Christian concepts. I would highly recommend reading Jim Wallis' "God's Politics" or "Voting God's Politics." You can get a taste of his thinking along with many others at www.sojo.net.

Turnabout being fair play, can you give me five good Christian reasons to vote for the GOP keeping gay marriage and abortion out of it? The only reason I delete those two is that I think them secondary to all else. Homophobia is a personal issue and for some a faith issue. If your church doesn't want homosexuals in the congregation, I wage the homosexuals don't want to be there either. If abortion is made illegal it is horribly unjust to those that don't have the means to skirt the law.

10/28/2006 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

Before I respond, I would like further clarification.

1. The environment.
What Scriptures teach us we should be at work protecting the environment?

3. Our schools.
What Scriptures teach us we should be at work improving our schools?

10/30/2006 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

Before I respond, I would like further clarification.

1. The environment.
What Scriptures teach us we should be at work protecting the environment?

3. Our schools.
What Scriptures teach us we should be at work improving our schools?

10/30/2006 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

Doh, sorry for the double post, my browser had an error.

10/30/2006 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

Also, your answer about Corporate greed lacks two qualities:
1.) What Scriptures do you refer to in reference to corporate greed? I can think of some, but I'm looking for your point-of-view.
2.) You spoke negatively about the GOP. Please, leave GOP and any candidates out of the discussion. What if, for example, I want to change to the Constitution Party instead of the GOP? Don't put down the GOP, tell me why your side is correct. What can you say positively that the Democrats accomplish to diminish corporate greed? Just because your opponent is wrong, you are not automatically correct.

So, Scripture references and positive statements, please.

10/30/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Chris -

I do not know of a single piece of scripture that says we must take care of the environment. I'm not sure that was even a concept in those days. But my sense is that if God created it, we should try to keep it in good working order. I've been stuck in Revelation for the last two months and am realizing all the more that there is evil at work here on planet earth, and that evil has a name and significant presence. The devil is not sin personified, but a created being gone wrong, horribly wrong. He wants nothing more than to rule over this creation and destroy it, making it all the more comfortable for himself and his pride (ego). Taking care of God's creation simply falls into place with my sense of God's desires. Yours may be different.

As for our schools, that isn't in the Bible either. I clearly stated that I was aware I had strayed from purely Christian concepts. This blog is intended to show my heart and my thinking as a follower of Christ, a father and a voter having hit middle age in America in the third millenia after the resurrection. It is faith and politics, not always together, and it is an opinion. While all of my thinking, or at least as much of it as I am able to direct, is based in my sense of God's Word and the example of Jesus Christ, some of my thinking is not supported by a singular verse. I don't intend to say that I know God's thinking, but I do have a sense of right and wrong that I try to adhere to in all things and that sense is strongly rooted in my reading of the Bible on a regular basis.

We live in a secular world but seek to make it better. Would it be better if the rivers had no fish? If childhood asthma rates tripled rather than doubled in the past twenty years? Would America be better if we let our kids learn less than Japanese/Korean/English/Swedish/etc and fall behind in any way? I am all for the whole world evening out in it's use of resources and the benefits thereof, but I would vastly prefer to have the rest of the world catch up to America rather than having America lower our expectations, our hopes and dreams, one notch.

My understanding is that we will always have the poor with us, but as a citizen do I want the number of them here in America to grow as compared to the rest of the world? Education is key to prosperity and is one of the best things we can, as a country, do for the poor. It is opportunity for them and the whole country should benefit as a result. Proof of this thinking? Sorry, I don't have it, but it sure makes sense to me.

The example of universal health care is something I see as extremely positive and supported by the Democrats but abhored by the Republicans. I don't find anything about universal health care in the Bible, but I think it a great idea. I am frankly amazed that the pro-business party isn't for it. Without universal health care many of our great corporations are non-competitive with those based in countries where health care is government sponsored. The auto industry is perhaps the best example. Many U.S. corporations have gone bankrupt only to resurrect with vastly diminished benefits for the workers that remained. Many more will do the same.

Another example I see as extremely positive on the Democratic platform is campaign finance reform. Until we remove the huge sums of money needed to run for public office and the tit-for-tat that comes with taking bribes (oh, sorry, I'm sure I meant contributions) we will have even well intended politicians tempted beyong their ability to resist. And yes, on both sides of the aisle.

The primary point I will make here is that my sense of it, and yours may be different, is that God wants us to continually get better at all that we do, to prosper as an inclusive communitiy, and I think this covers a great deal of ground.

As for "corporate greed": Greed is a sin. Sin at the corporate level simply magnifies it and attempts to cover it up behind a veil of privacy. But what do we have that is private from God?

Lastly, I do not see a viable party outside of the mainstream two. I've admitted elsewhere in this blog that I once voted Green but also explained that it was a protest vote, I'm in California and Gore was the clear winner here that year. I have since come to realize that, in absence of a viable third party, we need to get active in either of the mainstream parties. Neither is perfect, for certain, but this is where I cast my lot and this is how I do it. Big issues are on short timelines, we have to act accordingly.

10/31/2006 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a test

11/02/2006 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

If protecting the environment doesn't get much ink in Scripture, can I then ask why was that your first issue, as if it were the most important? If it's a low-priority issue to God, shouldn't it also be a low-priority issue to followers of God?


I phrased my question very carefully: Why should I as a Christian vote democratically? In other words, what issues would you say that the Democrats got right, according to the Bible?


It might amuse you to know that I am probably the most environmentally-minded politically conservative Christian you'll ever meet :-)
* I eat a vegan diet
* I drive a small, used car, and would buy a hybrid or electric if I could afford one
* I live in a small, used house
* I try not to run the A/C constantly even though I live in Florida
* I use very little paper
* I sometimes ride a (used) bike to work
* I plan trips to save gas
* I recycle
* I re-use instead of buying new
* I buy used when I can (clothes, car, house, bike, tools, etc.)
* I am cutting back on how much water and soap I use, switching to things like baking soda instead
* I am planning to install a solar water heater

Isn't that funny?? That I would cast my vote for Bush and eat a vegan diet. LOL


While it's true I do these things, I do them with a different motivation than a democrat or a liberal.

* The democrat/liberal eats a vegan diet because the standard American diet pollutes and harms/exploits animals.
* I eat a vegan diet because I want to be healthy when I retire so I can serve the church full-time. God allows all foods (all foods are morally clean) but I think He prescribed an uncooked vegan diet with no artificial ingredients in Genesis 1:29. I think this was God's original prescription for perfect health, and in the 2 1/2 years has proven so. I lost 50 pounds, my blood pressure is down, my cholesterol is down to just 96 points (That's not a typo!), my energy is up, and I've virtually eliminated the five biggest health problems Americans face: obesity, heart disease, ADHD, cancer and diabetes. The raw vegan diet REALLY WORKS!

(By the way, my favorite vegan verse of the Bible: "One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables." (Romans 14:2 ESV) LOL hehehe I guess I'm weak LOL)


* The democrat/liberal seems to believe it morally reprehesible to harm the planet or animals.
* I don't see much ink in Scripture devoted to it. I see a small call to stewardship in a few places, but as far as importance, it doesn't appear to be on God's agenda. There are FAR more important issues on His mind which fill the pages of Scripture.

It is out of the call to stewardship that I drive a small car, ride a bike and want to install solar panels, but more from the perspective of saving money than saving the earth. Stewardship of resources to make wise use of them. I want to be free to give generously to others, and stewardship is a parallel to that goal.

Personally (not Scripturally), I think blatant waste or pollution is just plain stupid. The key words are "blatant," and "stupid." Some waste/pollution is going to happen, but it is NOT morally reprehensible, just (in my opinion) a dumb thing to do (in my opinion). Foolishness, not sinfulness.

If harming the planet really is morally reprehensible as the democrats and liberals apparently believe, the book of Revelation shows that God is a very poor environmentalist. He will allow curses to scorch a third of the earth, he will allow a third of the rivers to be turned to blood, and will allow a third of the animals to die. In the Old Testament He threw down fire on Sodom. He has and will allow much destruction.

It simply is a contradiction to say that, according to the Bible, harming the earth is morally reprehensible.


* The democrat/liberal is concerned that the earth not perish.
* I know the earth WILL perish. God promises everything will be destroyed by fire and then be made new again, this time without the curse of sin to cause destruction. We'll enjoy the garden of Eden FOREVER! Amen!!


Since protecting the environment is apparently not all that important to God, I am FAR more likely to vote for a candidate who does poorly in this area but is a champion in other areas that are more critical to God. If a candidate protects the environment as well, all the better. I'm just saying this issue is not a real deal-killer.

It doesn't appear to be very important to God, and therefore neither is it very important to me.


I know you asked for my five reasons, and I intend to give them, but I mention the environment issue to make an example, because I want to get this clear right up front: As slaves to Christ and God's representitives on this earth, the issues that He finds most important ought to be of utmost importance to us. The issues He hardly mentions should always be an aside. Not ignored, just properly prioritized.

Don't you agree?


So to go back to my original question, Why should I as a Christian vote democratically? What issues would you say that the Democrats got right, according to the Bible? Perhaps you'd like to re-evaluate and re-state your five big issues. I won't think less of you if you do.

11/02/2006 1:50 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Chris -

I'm going to go short and sweet here to the best of my ability. I am not going to respond to your list. I will tell you, as I have written elsewhere here, that I detest the alignment of the religious right and the GOP, because I find both of them hypocritical and morally reprehensible on many levels. I write this blog more out of concern for my faith than for this country. I believe the religious right pushes the common person away from faith with their blasting rhetoric, their inflated egos, and their claim to moral superiority that consistantly gets shown as false. Further, and this is primarily due to my recent study of Revelation, it is my sense that the alignment of politics and a single interpretation of faith is the work of evil.

This blog is as much about showing people outside of faith that there are those of faith that try not to have those attributes I previously mentioned as it is about espousing the Democratic Party platform. Actually, it is more about showing a faith that others can stomach and perhaps warm to, than about the political side of things. The Jerry Falwells of the world have chased more people away from faith than to it. They preach to the choir and retard their senses. They use a very particular interpretation of the Bible to show how perfect they think they are and get their congregations to hate anyone outside of what they see as a clean lifestyle. I read some time back that Billy Graham, who I admire to greatest degree, retired because religion had gotten too political. That is a great and sad loss. I'll lug his recent book "The Journey" here as a great read.

And no, I don't agree with you on many counts as regards your interpretation of the Bible. You are, it seems, a fundamentalist and probably a dominionist. The flaw with fundamentalist thinking is it's focus on the minutia while missing the big picture. I'm one of the first in line to say that homosexuality is a sin and that abortion is murder, if not from the moment of conception to my thinking. But I believe the forgiveness of Christ trumps sin and is the key to leading a cleaner life. I leave it up to each person to calculate their own sin and what a cleaner life might be for them. I am not the one to judge by any means. If you are leading a perfect life, let me know and I will gather stones for you.

Think less of me if you like. Your opinion of me is not important to God, to me, or to anyone. I don't have any more answers for you, nor do I want the debate you seem to hunger for. My greatest advice to you, if you really want answers to the questions you ask would be to read "Voting God's Politics" which I have yet to get a copy of. I can tell you that Jim Wallis' first book was subtitled "What the Right Get's Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get" and I largely agreed with that thinking at the time. But it seems that Rev. Wallis has sided more with the left at this point in time. I would also advise you to get into a Bible Study with a group of outspoken people of diverse thinking.

Love your neighbor, all of them, as much as you love yourself.

And may you find Peace.

So much for short and sweet!

11/02/2006 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

Oh well. Thank you for trying, anyway. You did give at least two Biblical reasons.

I find it very compelling that so far three outspoken Christian democrats cannot give me many reasons why I as a Christian should vote for their candidates, based upon things that are important to God as found in the Bible.

I asked my question for two reasons: One, I do honestly want to consider any areas in which I am just flat-out wrong in my thinking. Trying to make sure I didn't miss anything.

But secondly, I didn't think you'd have even two reasons, and I wanted to demonstrate this to the both of us and to the rest of the world.

Well, I was wrong, you did have two reasons. You said "the poor" and "corporate greed." But to be fair no one is going to run on a platform FOR corporate greed, and in my opinion the economic policies of the republicans help eliminate poverty altogether or I wouldn't vote for them.

Let me say this very clearly: if you have don't have BIBLICAL reasons to vote for a Democrat, if the things that please God are not the most important to that candidate (even if they're not a Christian, some atheists are OK), if they champion the things of the world and love them but reject the things that God would say are important to Him, then why are you voting for them?

In other words, if you're not voting on God's issues, why would you create a blog that says, "I'm a follower and slave to Christ and only obedient to Him" (that's what it means to say you are a Christian), when you vote for people who mostly champion issues that Christ hates?? From everything I can tell, "Christian Democrat" is a contradiction of terms. Almost all issues God hates they (Democrat candidates) love, and almost all issues God loves they hate. It doesn't make sense for me to vote for them, as an obedient slave to Christ.

No, I won't read the book. I don't have time, and that is the honest answer. I thought perhaps you would help me, as you have read the book and could give me a reader's digest, five reasons. That is the honest truth, and if you don't believe me, I'm sorry, that's not my problem.

Thanks for trying to answer, though. If you do actually give five Biblical reasons, I cannot monitor this blog. Please email me: Chris (AT) deVidal (DOT) tv as I won't have time to watch this blog regularly.

Just remember, both of us will have to answer to God for how we voted. Vote on the issues that He cares about, according to everything you see in Scripture, and you can't go wrong.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)

11/08/2006 5:18 AM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

Oops my bad, you also mentioned peace. So you have three reasons.

That's honestly not very compelling, as NO ONE platforms FOR war. I believe the policy of Romans 13 specifies that a sword is necessary to keep the peace. So I believe the call for peace necessitates some fighting. I do NOT believe the liberal "let them walk all over you" policy really keeps peace, I think it encourages dangerous criminals.

So I think this issue is a draw.

If you disagree, that's OK. I just encourage you to spend alot of time meditating upon God's thoughts in Romans 13. Ask yourself, "does God agree that the sword is sometimes necessary?" If you're honest, ask yourself that again and again while you read those verses.


And by the way, resorting to insults, calling your brother in Christ a "fundamentalist and probably a dominionist" in a derogatory way not only did not help your cause but also probably grieved the Holy Spirit.

11/08/2006 6:14 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Just to put a close to the thread between Chris and myself I will note that I won't contact him via email.

Differences of theology and opinion are to be accepted and expected. Here's hoping that each of you that read this take the time to form your own personal relationship with God as you perceive Him, and keep that close to you each day of your life.

11/08/2006 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

Have you ever been convicted of something by the Holy Spirit several days after you did it? I was, today.

When I said, "I asked my question because I didn't think you'd have even two reasons..." there were two motivations in my heart:
1.) I honestly would like you and any other Christian to think critically about the voting decisions you make, and to base them upon the importance shown in Scripture. Example: God's Word says almost nothing about environmentalism, so we shouldn't make it a big deal, either.

* If God deems something important, we should cast our votes ONLY in that direction. To decide otherwise is to tell God His issues are not important and follow your own agenda. It is to love the world. "Do not love the world or the things in the world."

* If God deems something insignificant, but we consider it significant, if a candidate does poorly in that area but shines in others, vote for him anyway.


2.) But also, behind my words, there was an insidious, arrogant, moral elitist attitude. It was a better-than-you attitude. It was an attitude that I knew the Bible better than you.

It was an attitude divorced of the cross and how Jesus' death makes all people appear to be what they really are: unrighteous, unworthy criminials against God's holiness, all in need of a savior.

It was an attitude that, ALL BY ITSELF, would have required the death of the Son of God to atone for it if I were to stand in God's presense.


Sigh, the best of us have mixed motives.

If Jesus were talking with you, he might have said the things I'd said. If He did, it would have been with motivation 1 and DEFINATELY NOT motivation 2. The Holy Spirit convicted me of that second motivation this morning.

So...

I have spent some time with the Father, repenting of that attitude and asking forgiveness. I first went to Him because all sin is primarily against Him (Psalm 51:4).

I know He forgives me because of the blood of the cross. Amen!

My question to you is, could you please forgive me for the attitude behind the (otherwise valid) statement?

I hope so, brother.


The first motivation I gave, "I do honestly want to consider any areas in which I am just flat-out wrong in my thinking", was indeed valid. I _do_ want to be schooled by you and other Democrats. It _is_ important, according to the Bible, to care for the poor. As I mentioned, I think the Republican economic policies help eliminate poverty, but along the way _we_must_not_ignore_the_poor_.

If you do indeed supply five good Biblical reasons to vote for a Democrat I wouldn't know because I don't plan to monitor this blog. Please send an email.

I guess the question should really be "what issues, according to a literal interpretation of the Bible, do the Democrats consistently get right?" For example, one might say the Democrats get caring for the poor correct, and that's a valid answer. I disagree about some of the methods, but the fundamental issue is spot-on.

If you give five reasons on this blog, please send me an email and alert me as I won't be monitoring this blog.

11/20/2006 2:20 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Chris -

First and foremost, I forgave you before you did it, I don't get upset anymore, or I try not to. No grudges here. The written word is sometimes problematic in that we hear inferences that aren't there. When I said I thought you were fundamentalist and dominionist, I was saying it without judgement - I was merely pointing to a possible basis of our difference of opinion.

Fundamentalism and dominionism are interpretations of the Bible accepted among many. These and other interpretations are the reason that there are different denominations of the church, we don't all read the Word the same way and truly, each person hears something different when reading most of it.

But I think I am done trying to convince you of anything for the simple reason that it seems we don't interpret the Bible the same way. That's OK.

I believe that God wants us to take care of His creation simply because He made it and it is wonderful. When I hear of a pile of trash the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean I feel we've trashed God's favorite water skiing lake (horrible personificatioin, I know). When I see the smog and know that children are having problems breathing that keep them from sports and other activities, I think that we are poisoning God's wonderful mixture of elements that allow the life He created to breate. No, the word "environment" isn't in the Bible, but that makes us no less responsible to take care of it in my opinion.

Maybe someone else will pick this up and give you the five reasons you seek but I would hope that you might read the Bible, as I said previously, with people of diverse backgrounds and interests. As we both know, the road to understanding is very long and laborious. I have only begun it myself.

Peace be with you, and man, am I glad that my Bible study group has completed Revelation and moved on to a study of ... the devil!?!

Yeah, totally strange, I know, but after reading Revelation we kind of came up with the concept of wanting to "Know Your Enemy." The second of two nights completes tonight and, from the first night something wonderful became apparent - the devil has no authority anymore. Jesus claimed all authority at His ascension. And I tend to believe Jesus when He says stuff.

As I said, Peace be with you.

11/20/2006 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

"But I think I am done trying to convince you of anything for the simple reason that it seems we don't interpret the Bible the same way. That's OK."

So would you say that literal interpretations of the Bible are more-or-less incompatible with a Liberal world-view?

11/21/2006 9:01 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Chris -

It's all in who defines "literal". But for you, yes, I think your literal interpretation of the Bible is incompatible with what you consider a "liberal world view". For me, that isn't the case.

Jesus saying "So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" in Matthew 7, and His saying "...not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" in Matthew 5 leads to an interesting question: does "everything is accomplished" means His resurrection or the end of days? That would decide if the new covenant is in place. In the context given, I think "everything accomplished" meant His resurrection. In His resurrection He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. Not quite end game, but that's how I see it.

So my literal interpretation of the Bible tells me that the Law is abolished by being saved in Christ. For the answer to the question of whether that means we should go forth and sin, to bring greater glory to God in His forgiveness, please refer to the entire book of Romans. The answer is simply no.

As for a "liberal world view" that is entirely up for grabs. Nancy Pelosi is not a moderate Democrat by any means, but she doesn't lean as far left as Fox News would like us to think. There are many who vote for Democratic candidates that have more moderate views than Fox would have us think, too. That's the fun of being a real big tent party - there are many opinions heard.

For those of us that see a progressive vote matching our Christian faith we tend to sympathize with the ones that get left behind or left out even to the advantage of others. I guess we cheer for the underdogs in the competition of what we see as greed or advantage by position. We are willing to let others sin as they might because it isn't up to us to judge them and as importantly, legislating faith is impossible, it could only lead to a false face of faith. Where's the love in that?

Looking back at this thread I see we've been writing for almost a month now. I attempted to give you the five reasons I felt fit my theology and my voting. You have yet to give any. Got five Christian reasons to vote GOP?

11/22/2006 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11/26/2006 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

"I attempted to give you the five reasons I felt fit my theology and my voting. You have yet to give any."

I didn't give five because I wanted you to give five Biblical reasons and didn't see them.


"Got five Christian reasons to vote GOP?"

Well, my first sentence to you was "I'm a Christian before I'm a republican, and in fact I would consider casting a vote for a good,
fine, upstanding democrat if the republican alternative were just plain aweful." I honestly don't care if you vote GOP, so long as you vote on the issues that matter most to God.

So let me give five issues that I think are most important to God, according to Scripture.

Later. I've got alot going on right now. But I'll be thinking how to answer.

11/28/2006 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

And by the way, I didn't understand what you were getting at quoting Matthew 7. Of course we are under grace, not the Law -- as a means of justification. The rest of the world, however, is still under the curse of the Law. The Law kills; rather, it shows someone their death and need for a savior. I use the Law in evangelism all the time to show the need for the savior (listen to "Hell's Best Kept Secret" for more info).

11/28/2006 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Chris de Vidal said...

Back in November, I said I would give five issues that I thought were most important to God, according to Scripture. I said I'd have to do it later when I got time. I started to type up a reply in December but never got around to fleshing it out.

So here is the list, without any explanation or with the Scriptural support or commentary or Scriptural exposition I really wanted to bring along with it. It's just a list with minimal commentary. I just don't have time.

I think if you study the Scriptures, these are the most important points you ought to vote by. Whether you choose Republican or Democrat is totally beside the point. Choose what God wants and you cannot go wrong.

* Abortion and euthenasia, saving the innocent and those who cannot speak their wishes
* Death penalty for the wicked
* Homosexuality (not hate, but not freedom either)
* The family (supporting the integrity)
* Gambling
* War on wicked nations when necessary
* Is the candidate born again, as Jesus said in John 3:3? If not, I may still vote, if so, I examine their lives for fruit. False converts abound. This isn't a deal-killer but it's still significant.


About abortion, the issue isn't choice.

Take a poll door-to-door. Ask 100 people when it is right to take an innocent person's life. The overwhelming response is, "never." We completely make this the wrong issue when we talk about choice. This isn't about choice. It's about innocent life.

It's about innocent life.

Abortion to me is watershed. No pro-abortion candidate ought to be in office. Legalizing murder is one of the biggest forms of wickedness our country flaunts. I hate it, and on the other hand I ought to be in prayer more, asking God for mercy upon us like the saints of old did. "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips..." (Isaiah 6:5 ESV)


Well that's all I'm really going to comment. I urge you to study the Scriptures and see if those reasons are not more emphasized than yours.

I believe, after careful study of the Scriptures that those issues are most emphasized in Scripture, therefore they must be the most important to the God we love. Are you willing to change your vote based upon what the Scriptures say? If it means voting Democrat, do so! I have and I will again.


My address is Chris (AT) deVidal (DOT) tv, I am done with this conversation (finally!) but if you want to chat drop a line.

5/15/2007 11:07 AM  

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