I’m going to warn you up-front that this is a very passionate, emotional blog post filled with lots of words and issues that really stir my heart. I welcome all comments, even disagreeing, as long as they’re thoughtful and not hurtful. You can read how to disagree respectfully in this article. If you can’t be polite, seriously, go be a troll somewhere else.
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If you follow me on twitter, or if you read the twitter feed I have on the right hand side of this blog, you might have noticed that I kind of went crazy last night (slash went crazy last week — this is nearly a week later!). For the sake of time, here are the tweets I posted, in the order I posted them (and I’m OCD enough that I have taken the liberty of removing the typos I posted in my passionate need to get everything out and I’m also making this a paragraph for the same of space on this post. Not that I’m concerned about space give that I keep writing all of these asides):
For everyone who watched the
#debate2012 & says we live in an “equal opportunity country”: NEWS FLASH — no we do not. Generally speaking we live in a wealthy country compared to the rest of the world but there’s a HUGE divide in access to resources in the USA. Some people – like me – make it to the top but a lot don’t because we refuse to help them. I’m not talking randomly giving resources away. I’m talking about legitimately helping the needy. Everyone talks reform but no one does it, even Christians flipping out on twitter.
Walk the walk, Christians! If you hate Obama because you don’t like his policies, then I beg you to get involved in your community to show God’s love and live out what you don’t think the government should have a hand in (social reform programs). Serve your churches!
Also, just to be clear I’m not talking about giving help to people abusing the help. There IS abuse & that MUST be addressed/stopped. I’m just SICK of people bitching that the govt should back off because if it did, those same people would stand there doing nothing to help the people left abandoned by the govt. Christians! God has called YOU to take care of the widows & orphans! If you don’t want the govt to do it, then grow up, stand up, & show people the love of Jesus already!
Last night, as I was in bed, thinking all of these things and posting them on twitter, I could not help but think about something that’s kind of been hibernating in my mind for a while… I spent almost ten years being churchless and trying to be Godless and ultimately realized that was not going to happen because God was always there… it was just me who’d wandered away. During that time, I had a very liberal lifestyle. I lived and voted and believed in things that were far to the left. I know I’ve mentioned this here before but that was one of the most difficult things about coming back to church and walking with God again — it felt like suddenly this amazing identity I’d constructed for myself was lost. Everything about who I’d been was lost to who I was becoming and I was hurting deeply by those changes.
Despite some changes God has made in my life, I still find myself registered as a Democrat and cannot fathom changing my political affiliation. It’s not that I think being a Republican is a bad thing; I do not. It’s not that I think Jesus loves Democrats more than he loves Republicans; He doesn’t. The Bible is clear on this: Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” I have Republican friends who are the best people I know. They love God and they love others. I live in a home of two of the most generous people I know and they’re Republicans. So my issue here isn’t with what political party people align themselves with.
My problem is with the assumption that because I am a Democrat, I am not smart and that I don’t love Jesus and that I am a raving baby killer. I have straight up been told “You’re too smart to be a Democrat.” No, I am too smart to accept the belief that Democrats are inherently bad and dumb.
This is what drove the heart of my posts on twitter last night. I was watching people’s reaction to the debates (which I didn’t watch; I was at church) and people were either bashing Republicans or Democrats. I still these in the newspaper comments online, too. “Crazy Dems” or “loony libs.” “Republican whackos” or “GOP goons.” It makes me want to scream. Apparently the average voter has the maturity of a five-year-old who believes that name-calling is the way to go.
Anyhow, I am the lone Democrat in my home group, which varies anywhere from seven to fifteen people any given week. And it’s brought up semi-regularly that I am different than the rest. For the most part, it doesn’t bother me because I know it’s no one’s intention to be hurtful but sometimes… sometimes their comments get me to the core.
No, I do not support abortion unless it’s in very extreme cases such as life or death for the mother. I like the idea of a smaller government. I’m very much against affirmative action. I am an advocate of capital punishment. I do think parents should be given options for the childrens’ education, such as school choice or homeschooling (I want to homeschool my own kids someday). These are more or less on point with the Republican party.
But (and here’s a big but)…
(Interlude… that just totally made me sign “I like big butts and I cannot lie, you other brothers can’t deny.” And then I thought of the episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel discover it’s the only song that settles Emma down. And that makes me think about how two days after I originally wrote those two sentences, I totally saw that episode on tv. And scene.)
But… I cannot look at the hurt and hopelessness that is happening in our country and watch it pass me by. People online last night and in every day life want the government out of businesses (especially its regulation on small business). They want the government out of social reform programs. They want the government out of schools. And maybe someday they’ll succeed. And then you know what will happen? Some of those people crying out for small government will do what the should and donate and volunteer their time to programs aimed at picking up the pieces of what the government left behind. They’ll work to establish faith-based organizations that pick up what we asked the government to quit doing.
But, and it breaks my heart to say this, but most of them won’t.
Most of those people will sit in their comfortable homes, celebrating that their ideology won. Celebrating tax breaks for the small businesses they own. Being thankful that they won the right to educate their children as they see fit.
And while doing those things is okay, I fear that they will do nothing else, that their voices and votes will have taken away from the poorest and most needy people and not replaced the services those people received with anything. I love church programs that help with social programs. My church is doing this cool set of classes that are aimed at helping different groups: there are classes for blended families, classes for single parents, classes for adult children caring for their parents. There are 18 totally different awesome classes. The church is reaching out and providing for the need of its community. The members of the church are providing for the needs of the community. That’s how it should be done.
If we are going to eliminate this stuff, then we need to step it up and help.
Now, by no means am I perfect and I will never argue with you that I am doing enough. I’d argue just the opposite, that I am not doing enough. We will never do enough until the day Jesus returns. He and only He can and ever will be enough. I have an entire post on this rolling around in my head. But I just want to say…
This is why I am a Democrat. Because I don’t mind being taxed to help the needy. I recognize institutionalized racism and want to stop it. Success isn’t simply a matter of working hard and achieving your dreams (that’s the American dream, and honestly it runs counter to the goal of Christianity — read any of David Platt’s books to see that). I see the glass ceiling so clearly that I can touch it. I am an advocate of well-run social programs whose goal is to lend a helping hand to those in poverty. Our environment is a hot mess and we need to regulate the crap we put in the air and the ground. I believe that guns do kill people and those who says “Guns don’t like people, people kill people” are missing the forest for the trees. Just because you’re a Republican doesn’t mean you can’t believe those things, however. Like I said, I am both Democrat and pro-life.
It’s not a matter of party politics. It’s a matter of heart and of living like I think Jesus would. And so, while I don’t think Jesus would be a Democrat or a Republican, I’ve aligned myself the best way I can in a world that wants freedom from government but will never love those who need love enough.