For the first time, I’m going to use my blog to rant. I’m an old white male Christian who grew up on a farm. That doesn’t make me a Republican.
What got me going down path is an article published in at minnpost.com about the DFL State Convention last week. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2017/03/dfl-convention-fear-has-name-and-name-not-donald-trump The article discussed some of the concerns that were expressed at the convention and included this paragraph:
“We have so many caucuses, but what about the white Christian working guy caucus?” asked Nancy Larson, a delegate from Dassel, which lies in the Republican-rich 7th Congressional District. “That’s not said with malice. That part of our problem.”
If you google “Can a Christian be a Democrat?”, you’ll find lots of articles that contain the answer “No!”. In reading these articles, the reasons that Democrats cannot be Christians mainly comes down to abortion and gay marriage. So, let me state a fact. Jesus said nothing about abortion or gay marriage.
What did he say? Progressive Christians like me point to several important Jesus teachings. In Matthew 25, Jesus says “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Not exactly a call for building a wall to keep out immigrants. These are such important verses that there are Christians who refer to themselves as Matthew 25 Christians.
How about another important Jesus teaching found in the Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Nothing there about abortion, gay marriage, gun control or tax cuts for the rich.
I’m an active member of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in downtown Minneapolis. The church prides itself on its long history of social ministry. It has been a reconciling congregation since 1994 which means we welcome the GBLT community as members. It sponsors the Dignity Center which ministers to the homeless in Minneapolis. The Dignity Center is so important to the mission of the church that we took the house that was dedicated as the pastor’s manse and converted it to the full-time location for the Dignity Center. http://hennepinchurch.org/outreach/
One of the reasons I was excited about Hillary Clinton’s campaign was that she was a devout progressive Methodist Christian running against an immoral racist bigot. This article by Ruth Graham from State.com in May 2016 discusses how this could be a game changer: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/cover_story/2016/05/how_liberal_christians_can_turn_the_democrats_into_the_party_of_god.html.
I think she and I underestimated the ability of the fundamental “Christians” to put the issue abortion above the teachings of Jesus. What incredible hypocrites!
As a Christian Democrat, I believe that we are called to take care of the poor, love our enemies and make peace. We are called as individuals to do these things and I believe that our government is called to do those same things. I also believe that God is so powerful and unknowable that none of us have all the answers about God. I don’t believe that the Old and New Testaments are the infallible word of God. There are numerous paths to the top of the mountain. Some are taken by Christians and some are taken by Jews, Muslims, Hindus and other religions. We should focus on what unites us and not what separates us. I firmly believe that we can take this message to rural Minnesota and America and win votes from many Christians in those areas.
I am proud to be an old, white, male, committed, progressive, Christian, Democratic volunteer.
Please share this (maybe with a conservative Christian friend) so we can get ready for President Klobuchar
P.S. I wrote this rant over the week-end and this morning I found this story posted on Facebook where Rep Joe Kennedy III said about the Republican Heath plan: “With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture. The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick.”