Saturday, August 12, 2006

Jesus Is A Democrat
Disillusionment With Christianity

Allow me to indulge in something religious for a while. The alignment of evangelical Christianity in the US with the Republican party irks me no end. For interested Christians, there is a very good book on politics and religion - by an evangelical Christian Randall Balmer. The book is "In Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America". Balmer, professor of American religious history at Barnard College in New York, argues that evangelicals have strayed from the teachings of Jesus Christ and their own historical support of progressive causes by aligning themselves so completely with the Republican party.

Back in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee. William Jennings Bryan was assisting in the prosecution of John Thomas Scopes for teaching evolution in the public schools. That forced the issue out in the open and a taking of party sides came into being. Then there was also the Cold War and the very public friendship between Billy Graham and Richard Nixon that begins in the 1950s when both were anti-communist crusaders. Inadvertently, it reinforced the Republican image with Christians.

Then there was President Carter, an evangelical Christian - and a Democrat. But Carter was elected when there was a big sway by Christians from registering to vote, its the disillusionment effect from what happened a few years before Carter was elected. One of the ironies of recent American history is that in the course of the Carter administration, these same evangelicals turned against Carter and embraced instead Ronald Reagan as their political savior.

The problemas starts to arise when it comes to abortion and gay rights, both the Republicans uses carefully to court Christian votes. But these are just 2 issues, voters should concern themselves with an array of issues such as education, poverty, social justice, anti-war, capital punishment, global responsibility, etc...

It is too easy to cite abortion and gay rights and lump everything Republican as good. I don't know about you, but when I read the New Testament, there is very little about either abortion or homosexuality. Jesus said nothing about either one. Christianity is about after one's heart, mind and soul... not issues driven, why the need to draw lines and boundaries when Jesus came to eradicate the very lines and boundaries in our hearts. Where is the compassion, empathy ... that, I come across a lot more in the scriptures.

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