Are Democrats Divine? A Christian Delima.
By: Guest Authors
by Paul Zannucci
It has become a fashionable thing of late to question which party the Christian base should support. After all, Republicans are a warlike bunch who execute criminals instead of forgiving them and who hog the resources instead of spreading them about. Just as Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez announced that Jesus Christ was a socialist revolutionary, the Democratic talking heads on television also picked up the theme: “Jesus is about taking care of people. He would have been a Democrat.” Never mind the ludicrous central notion that Christ would select a political party; letâ€™s look at Christianity and politics and figure out if there really is something here. Perhaps the Democrats do have a point.
Pacifism: It is true that a proper interpretation of Christianity is that it is the ultimate pacifist philosophy. Of course there is that pesky commandment about not killing, but the New Testament is even more explicit. We should turn the other cheek and love our enemies as we love ourselves. In fact, Christ takes all the old laws against violence and makes them tougher. No longer can you simply not murder, you can’t even get angry. ï»¿
The truth of the matter is that neither Democrats nor Republicans have an edge in the anti-war issue. On the far right you have the isolationists who want to pull back and leave the world to the world. On the far left you have the peaceniks who want peace for the sake of peace. In the middle of both parties are the pragmatists who go to war when the time is right to go to war. Certainly, the current Iraq war was approved by both sides and then criticized by both sides. And outside of that, in other major conflicts there was generally a consensus by the time we went to war. However, because I find the peacenik philosophy more Christ-like than the isolationists, Iâ€™ll give the Democrats a slight edge here.
Abortion: This is the bread and butter of the religious conservatives, and they have a point here. Like it or not, Christianity is not in favor of abortions. While abortion is not specifically mentioned in the New Testament, the emphasis placed on valuing the innocent and Godâ€™s creations makes the point clear. If thatâ€™s not good enough for you, then consider the Didache, one of the oldest Christian documents, likely from the middle of the first century and only a few years removed from the crucifixion of Christ. It is considered to be something of a manual of Christian behavior that was passed around the churches during the time of the apostles. Hereâ€™s a segment:
Didache 2:2 Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adulteryâ€¦thou shalt not kill a child by abortion, neither shalt thou slay it when born; thou shalt not covet the goods of thy neighbourâ€¦
Of course, Republicans are afraid of the issue. They talk a good game, but take little action. Weâ€™ll call this one ever so slightly to the Republicans.
The Least of These: So how about taking care of the poor–feeding them, providing for medical care, etc. Certainly the Christians are in favor of this. And this is where the Democrats make their grand play. Forget the tired rhetoric slamming corporations and the rich. What was that quote we just had from the Didache? Something about not coveting the goods of thy neighbor? But truly, would Jesus want the government to take care of everyone? Would Jesus want the government to feed and clothe the poor? Or would Jesus want you to do it yourself? Christianity is not a religion about government. Itâ€™s a religion about people and self-responsibility. Christianity is about choices. Itâ€™s about Theocracy and the Kingdom of God, not socialism and the kingdom of man. A Christian wanting the government to take care of the poor is copping out, delegating his Christ-given duties to a worldly entity.
In the book of 1 Samuel, the Israelites are afraid of living under Godâ€™s rule and ask for a human king. Here is what God has to say about human government:
1 Samuel 8:11-20
This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them unto him, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and they shall run before his chariots; 12 and he will appoint them unto him for captains of thousands, and captains of fifties; and he will set some to plow his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and the instruments of his chariots. 13 And he will take your daughters to be perfumers, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16 And he will take your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and your goodliest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks: and ye shall be his servants.
Surely no one will be so sophomoric as to suggest that God was speaking only of kingships and not other forms of government. God, here, is giving a soliloquy about the government of man. If youâ€™ve ever read the Bible, youâ€™d know Heâ€™s not a big fan of it. Still, Republicans are only slightly less â€œbig governmentâ€ than Democrats, so weâ€™ll only give them a slight edge here; yet, I consider the issue of personal responsibility to be a foundational tenet of Christianity, so this slight edge in this one category is a huge edge overall. To paraphrase a great Democrat, ask not what your government can do for your neighbor; ask what you can do for your neighbor.
So where does this leave us? I suppose with a strong lean to the Republicans and an earnest wish that they would be more true to who they say they are, rather than just another bunch of politicians. But, even more, a Christian should not get too lathered up in the Kingdom of Man. A Christian should vote Republican and get back to work helping his neighbor and loving his enemy.