During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, some right-wing pundits declared that the Democratic Party was officially godless. That claim was absurd because plenty of Democrats are anything but godless.
In his post The Merits of the Democratic Party, this author states, “Contrary to what anti-Democrat zealots would have everyone to believe, plenty of Democrats are good, honest, loving, patriotic people who make good public officials as well as good neighbors.”
The reason that plenty of Democrats are good, honest, loving, patriotic people who make good public officials as well as good neighbors is because those particular Democrats are devout, practicing Christians. They aren’t the kind of people who feign Christianity while spewing vile, godless comments, as this writer has seen some right-wing commentators do.
Indeed, this writer has observed Christianity in action from plenty of self-identified Democrats and has observed the opposite from plenty of self-identified Republicans.
This isn’t to say that Democrats are more godly than Republicans. Far from it! What anti-Republican zealots often miss is the fact that plenty of Republicans are good, honest, loving, patriotic people who make good public officials as well as good neighbors because those particular Republicans are also devout, practicing Christians.
Is being a devout, practicing Christian a requirement for being a good public official and a good neighbor? No, of course not, but it definitely should help. In Galatians 5:22-23 the Apostle Paul writes, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Who could be against a public official displaying love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?
Although there should be a wall of separation between Church and State, there is no reason why one’s faith shouldn’t season one’s political views.
For example, much of the Republican opposition to the ongoing war on unborn babies is fueled by a belief in the sanctity of human life, a belief based on the teachings of the Tanakh and the New Testament. Plenty of pro-life Democrats are also opposed to the ongoing war on unborn babies for the same reason.
At the same time, plenty of Democrats are opposed to the cult of the worship of self, and that opposition is fueled by the teachings of the Tanakh and the New Testament. Whether or not Republicans will admit it, all too often, the Republican Party comes across as favoring the desires of the individual over the needs of the community, as if the worship of self were the religion of the GOP.
Christian pastor Rick Warren begins his book The Purpose-Driven Life with the following observation:
It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.
If Rev. Warren’s observation is correct, then it would be a mistake for Republicans to believe that God never requires one to sacrifice one’s personal liberty and pursuit of happiness for the public good. Granted, such a sacrifice should be an individual choice and not a government mandate. Still, there isn’t anything unbiblical about the concept of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few or the one (as expressed in the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), a concept often expressed by Democrats.
When it comes to how faith is expressed in politics, Jews ought to remember what the Tanakh says in Tehilim 14: “HaShem looked forth from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any man of understanding, that did seek after G-d. They are all corrupt, they are together become impure; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Likewise, Christians ought to remember what Jesus says in Mark 10:18: “No one is good except God alone.”
In short, from a biblical perspective, Democrats aren’t innately or morally superior to Republicans, and Republicans aren’t innately or morally superior to Democrats. Instead, Democrats and Republicans are equals.
This cosmic equality is rejected by Democrats who practice the worship of the Democratic Party, as well as by Republicans who practice the worship of the Republican Party.
Yes, Virginia, some Democrats and Republicans have turned their politics into their religion, even if they are unaware that they have done so.
Anyway, Jews and Christians have a spiritual incentive to treat their political opponents in the way that the Tanakh teaches in Vayikra 19:“Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am HaShem.” Jesus emphasizes this teaching in Matthew 22:34-40.
Devotion to the God of Israel should inspire a spirit of fellowship between Democrats and Republicans who are Jews and Christians, even though such Democrats and Republicans have their political disagreements.
Democrats and Republicans of other faiths may very well have their own spiritual incentive for such fellowship, and the USA would be a better place if they were to practice it.
As for Democrats and Republicans who are functional atheists . . . well . . . perhaps next year they will give up their atheism for Lent.
Note: In an episode of a long-running American TV show, one of the main characters claims to have given up atheism for Lent. Can you name that TV character? (By “long-running” the author means that the show lasted for at least ten seasons.)