Straight Thinking on Being Democrat, Christian, & Pro-Life

by pastorj; originally published mid-2004

I think we are overlooking the elephant in the room when it comes to this question… While there are certainly other issues separating the evangelical right from the Democratic party, the abortion issue seems like the deal breaker to me.

Jim Wallis, editor of Sojournors magazine, wrote a very insightful editorial in a recent issue about whether or not there is room for Pro-Life Democrats in the Democratic Party. He discussed how abortion was just one of the “sanctity of life” issues that socially active evangelicals and Catholics cared about — others are the death penalty, human rights issues, global poverty and AIDS,education, etc. All of these other issues have strong representation in the Democratic party. They are what make me a Democrat. Now I understand that Democrats are the pro-choice party — that is a very important part of their message and witness. But is there a way to remain pro-choice as a party — and still make room for those moderate evangelicals who would not see abortion criminalized — and yet would fight fiercely to lower the number of abortions in our country. Jim Wallis thinks so.

His recommendation: remain pro-choice–but then, rather than just using the abortion issue as a litmus test every four years (as both the Republicans and Democrats have done) actually try to decrease the numbers through education, contraception, new jobs, resouces for pregnant woman, and incentives for adoption. Make the choice a real choice so that women can choose something other than abortion. These kind of programs might even open up dialogue across the aisle with moderate Republicans–and we might actually do some good around this issue rather than just stagnate in the current impass.

Here is a wonderful statistic concerning this issue that I recently heard from my family practice physician. There have been studies around the world concerning what actually slows the abortion/unwanted pregnancy rate. I will have to ask her for the citation. She said that what they have found is that contraception and ad campaigns have not slowed the numbers. Sex education has not slowed the numbers. Abstinence campaigns have not slowed the numbers. The only things that have been statistically proven to lower abortion/unwanted pregnancy rates are higher education for high school girls and small start-up business loans for women. Her point — when girls feel like they have something to lose they make better choices.

Now, wouldn’t it be interesting to hear the Democrats’ call for better jobs, better public education, a living wage, etc. cast in Pro-life terms??? It certainly would uncover the hypocrisy on the right (i.e. wanting all babies to be born but then refusing to invest in their future through cuts to programs like Head-Start, etc.)

I, for one, do not want to see abortion made illegal. But I do believe that every abortion is a tragedy. The argument that the rights of a fetus should have no bearing on our decision-making process seems a bit disingenuos to me. A pregnant woman whose unborn fetus was harmed by pollutants in the environment would be outraged at the harm to her child–and rightfully so. I just don’t believe we should legislate this one. The Democrats have it right that change will not come (in any just way) through legal means. Individuals have to change–our economy has to change–our education system has to change–for true change to occur.

I, however, still refer to myself as Pro-Life. I do so because when the term was first coined (before it was hi-jacked by the religious right) it was not just about abortion. It was about health care and human rights, it was about ending poverty and providing education. It was about the sanctity of every human life–and treating each person with dignity. Giving each human a true chance at a future and a place at our collective table. It was for so many things that the Democrats have stood for for so many years. I am an evangelical. I am a Democrat. Is there room in this party for me?

thanks to UMC pastor Rev. Jerusha Neal, “pastorj”


Here are comments added to this article in 2004

I am a staunch Democrat, and believe there are probably many more pro-life Christians out there who have not been hood-winked by the hypocrisy of evangelical Republicans. If only Christians would engage their brains. Our mandate to help widows and children (which in my mind includes abandoned mothers) is far clearer in the Bible than our mandate to legislate marriage or morality. If one would live morally one should be willing to be taxed to assist the poor, to be taxed to promote education about the advantages of adoption, to be taxed to establish programs that lift women out of poverty. Pure Capitalism is not consistent with Christianity.

Furthermore, Chrisitianity does NOT support the hypocrisy that has caused the situation in Iraq which has opened up more widespread rape and murder of women and children than likely happened under Saddam. If we were truly Christian wouldn’t we find ways to practice loving our enemies?

Kimberlea Johnson | 11.03.04 |


The decmocratic party is hostile towards Christianity… I appreciate you for being pro-life but the democratic party is not going to change for you.

PleaseThink | 10.28.04 |


I hope that there’s room for you, because I need a seat at the table, also.

signed,evangelical Christian and passionate democrat

Anonymous | 08.12.04 |


Comments

Straight Thinking on Being Democrat, Christian, & Pro-Life — 11 Comments

  1. To be a christian apparently is to be a republican. Plain and simple logic right? Christians profess dyy in day out they are christians but I’m not buying it anymore. The middle class and upper class donate on offerings than the 12k or under do. Look at Adherence studies on Catholic 1.5% and 3% for protestants and look at whom donates to help one another not the well off. The same people who don’t care about people just their egos of supposed superiority or segergated societies in realty locations. Who is the pharacies and the scribes? The middle class duh? I think this is obvious that republicanisms like war, lower taxation and etc aren’t christian at all. God, you8 shouldn’t have trusted in this messed up world cause we aren’t worthy.

  2. I am a christian nurse. There is an observation that can be made about abortions (substances as well) and their legal status in society.

    1. In countries where abortion is illegal, there is a higher number of abortions.

    2. Where abortion has become liberalized the number of actual abortions is fewer. (This may be due to the development of the societies who have liberalized abortion laws, and not actually due to the law itself)

    Other things I have wondered about include :

    What role does a person’s autonomy have in their faith? what about their healthcare? How would you feel if you were prevented from making decisions about your healthcare?

  3. The Bible also teaches that a Christians first responsibility is to preach the message, whisch is simple: Jesus came as god in the flesh to clnses of sin and to save our souls. We are told in the Bible that we are not to try to stop sin, but to introduce them to Jesus and He will stop their sin.
    Legislating morality cleanses the outside while letting the sinner feel good on their way to hell and is an abomination to the one true God.
    It is the duty of servants of God to show His love and mercy while on Earth and according to his own words that involves things like feeding the poor and loving the sinner.
    Why are so many Christians these days worried about saving the outward appearence of people’s actions instead of showing God’s mercy and allowing him to save their souls… then and only then can the actions be truly changed.

  4. Sorry, I need to register, so i can start threads. I just wanted to say Hi to Larry and his wife, and a few others
    whom I have had banter with in the past, on various issues.
    I have been away from this site for awhile, and decided to drop by.

    wishing you all well. I have to go for now.. It is going on 2am, and us “old people” need rest, too.

    Take care, happy Turkey Day next week!

  5. Rap This, Somebody…

    Gang bangers and rappers stab and shoot each other in the streets, and forgiveness is available to them in Jesus…

    But God wants those evil women having abortions stopped cold now, if the US is to be blessed?

    The people who commit drive-by shootings, anonymous pedestrians shot up in deep urban LA, will all be forgiven,

    But God wants those evil women having abortions stopped cold now, if the US is to be blessed?

    How many people lie cold on the streets of the inner city of starvation while the suburban people wax rich – and these rich, neglectful neighbors can find forgiveness in Jesus,

    But God wants those evil women having abortions stopped cold now, if the US is to be blessed?

    Corporate greed poisons our water, our land, our air, and our people, yet these reckless, greedy corporate warlords can come to Jesus for forgiveness,

    But God wants those evil women having abortions stopped cold now, if the US is to be blessed?

    Brother shoots brother, daughter shoots mother, mother drowns children, and they all may expect forgiveness in Jesus,

    But God wants those evil women having abortions stopped cold now, if the US is to be blessed?

    Soldiers go mad in warfare, gunning down civilians in Iraq knowing fully that they are defying orders, yet they may be forgiven in Jesus,

    But God wants those evil women having abortions stopped cold now, if the US is to be blessed?

    Greedy pimps and drug pushers of the ghetto destroy lives they molest, and yet they may seek forgiveness in Jesus,

    But God wants those evil women having abortions stopped cold now, if the US is to be blessed?

    Really? Abortion is God’s number one reason for wrath against the US? Leave all the rest happening while legislating morality through forbidding abortion, and God will just forget about all the rest of the murder in the US, and bless us like the televangelists tell us?

  6. Anonymous #5, what are the 7 types of morality?

    Anonymous #4: “As if Christian values are the only [] inherient belief behind each political party?” Whoever intended to say this? Your remark would have made sense if you had pasted a word like “conceivable”, “valid”, “culturally profitable” in the position of []. “God is an unknown variable conjured differently by each culture.” Vice versa: God is (replaced by) an unknown variable by every culture that identifies or replaces Him with whatever image it has conjured up for the “Highest Being”. This is exactly the reason why Judaism forbad portraying God, with Jesus therefore succeeding to put a simple life to the service of giving a powerful and lasting revelation. Then help yourselves, and save yourselves. They said essentially the same to the “fictional character” when he hang on the cross: (Mk. 15:30-32) “… Let [him] come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe!”

    “Does not this ‘god’ help those who help themselves? NO, – a thousand times NO do we Christians say to this snotty blend of true psychology and specious faith!

  7. As if Christian values are the only inherient belief behind each political party? Agnosticism, atheism, and the dreaded nhilism are all found more and more common. I like to call these beliefs realization. Lets begin to understand that Jesus is a fictional character so badly skewed throughout time that he is pictured to be a sandy-brown haired blue eyed aryan! Impossible for the middle eastern man that he was. God is an unknown variable conjured differently by each culture. Leave your stories and psycological fixations with salvation through the devine behind. Does not this “god” help those who help themselves? Then help yourselves, and save yourselves.

  8. Ok. Some possible big time controversy here…. but here goes:
    I am not worried about the unborn because I believe that they are without sin and if they do not make it into this world, our Savior will welcome them with open arms and they will not have to experience the trials and tribulations of this world. Who I AM concerned about are the women who find themselves pregnant…. accidentally…., their choices and how they affect their souls and lives. As well as I am concerned about all of my other fellow human beings, their actions and how they affect THEIR souls and lives. As Christians, we need to care and show Jesus’ love through our attitudes and actions.
    This is deffinately another pendulum swing position politically. If the two major parties would quit REacting to each other’s politics and start ACTING towards real solutions, real solutions could be found.

  9. Lets face it.

    Democrats and Republicans are both just like the church and faint of heart when putting feet to faith is required.

    The church is as lost as any political party.

    Before the stones start to fly I should also comment that being pro-life requires one to worry equally about people in the womb and out. Are we being pro-life in Iraq?

    The church which is the largest political party in America needs to stop spewing only cliches and threats.

    How long before we wake up to the fact that the church as we know it is a dead institution and needs deserately to be delivered back to God?

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