God (and me) v. Republicans

What follows is a response to a friend’s question, how could I, as a decent (she thinks) Christian fellow be a Democrat:

First, I am neither a Democrat or a Republican or a Libertarian or anything of the sort. I suppose I could be called Independent, though lately the word seems to have become synonymous with undecided, which I certainly am not.

Most often I shy away from talking or writing about politics, because I have no illusions that I can convince anybody, and I’m against wasting precious time in futile argument. But, since yours didn’t mark the first time I’ve heard a comment like: “I can’t understand how a Christian could be a Democrat (or vote for Obama, or whatever)”; and because you live in a “swing state”, I will attempt to clarify. Here goes:

One reason I find Republicans a disgrace is that they have successfully manipulated the evangelical Christian church into a place where even intelligent folks like you could ask such questions as the one at issue here.

A way they have done this is by making people believe that a person’s position on abortion is the test of that person’s concern about the value of life. Though I may believe that abortions should be discouraged, I’m not about to vote for somebody in whose goodness I have not the least faith simply because he or she claims to be “pro-life”. Especially when the lives they are “pro” appear to be only those of certain nationalities and those not yet born.

Another way is that political “conservatives” have conspired with the reactionary element of the church to isolate the evangelical community through “Christian” media. Rather than take on this whole topic, I will address the part of it I know best, which is books.

From what I have read, during the 1950s, a crusade began to rise up an industry of Christian publishers and Christian booksellers. So far, so good, but what they became is not so good, because what they essentially have accomplished is to censor anything that might be questionable or problematic. What “Christian” publishers have admittedly become is “Inspirational” publishers. The point of the books they produce, both non-fiction and fiction is, with very few exceptions, to promote the agenda of the evangelical church by offering a picture of the faith observed through rose-colored glasses.

Another reason for my distaste for Republicans is, I got raised by a dad whose position was that Republicans are good for business, and that intellectuals (such as Adlai Stephenson) were ineffectual (I guess because they were too smart to simplify complex issues).

About what’s good for business, over the years I have observed that what’s good for big business is by no means necessarily good for small business, unless by small you mean a few hundred employees. Observe the current controversy over health insurance. One reason my dad could open a cabinet shop or a par three golf course was that my mom was a teacher and as such earned us health insurance. If she had been, say, a stay at home mom, he couldn’t have taken the risk. He would have needed to find a job that gave benefits.

I have known many people who had unique ideas for creating businesses or non-profits, but who felt they could not give up the jobs they weren’t suited for because of the need for medical insurance. And that doesn’t even address the troubles of those who work at low paying jobs not getting the care they or their children need.

I’m appalled by Republican position that the best way for the economy to work is to allow the insurance companies, as well as the financial institutions, to abuse and plunder at will, as long as a few bits of their shameful excesses trickle down to somebody.

Because I live near the border and have spent lots of time in Mexico, the issue of immigration is most important to me. And in the Bible, any evidence of God picking who is valuable and worthy of respect based upon nationality or birthplace is overruled by the story, commands, and instruction Christ gave us. So, my disgust for Republicans over border and immigration issues might lead to an impolite rant. Instead I’ll offer a link to a good article in a small Christian magazine. http://kingsriverlife.com

Still, as I’m always open for conversion, whenever the Republicans begin to act as the Lord (through Isaiah) requires, I will reconsider.

From Isaiah 1:
Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow