Sunday, June 21, 2009

This Week at Baptist Press: Yes, Virginia (and Tennesee) Democrats can be Christians too

Oh, sure, I know that might seem like a "no brainer" to me and a "no brainer" to you, Jack but, it isn't a "no brainer to everyone. That's why this week's "Baptist Press" blogumn is featuring this article:

Lincoln Davis wants life, not politics, to speak for itself

""[W]hen I meet people who tell me, 'You can't be a Christian if you're a Democrat,' I've got to start reading and quoting Scripture and explain to them, 'You need to seek forgiveness. You need to understand the plan of salvation. You need to understand how you become a Christian,'" the Democratic congressman from Tennessee said...."

There's plenty of food for thought in this week's Baptist Press feature.

"Of the "many different scriptures in the Bible that test me from time to time, and they all do, … the part that really burdens me probably as much as any is Matthew 25, 31 through 46, when Christ is saying there will come a time when we'll be judged based upon how you addressed the needs of the lesser amongst us, and He mentions the sick and the hungry, the naked and thirsty, the imprisoned unjustly, and the homeless, the stranger," Davis said.

Unlike some evangelical Christians in the Republican Party, Davis applies such passages to the government providing for the needy through Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other programs."

The above excerpt got me to thinking about something I hadn't really thought about before. Perhaps, as the constituent of a Congressman or Senator (or even President), conservatives can find a reason to rail against the government doing jobs of charity for the needy through Medicare, Medicaid, ebt cards, and other programs but, what if you were a Congressman or Senator? Would it be your calling as a Christian trying to live by Biblical principles to try to help them through policy and legislation? It's something to think about, from an angle that had never really connected and clicked in my mind before.

As an independent conservative, I've certainly railed against the government taking too active a role in the business of charity, mainly because the government doesn't make money, they take money from you and they take money from me. Shouldn't it be my decision what charitable causes I wish to support, and shouldn't it be my duty as a Christian to meet those needs through personal charitable giving, and through my own church? I still agree with that philosophy, don't get me wrong but, I'm not a Congressman or Senator (or even President), if I was a legislator, maybe my view on that could change a bit.

What do you think?

For Lincoln Davis, being a Christian, being a Democrat and being a Congressman means "he will cast what are considered conservative votes on such issues as abortion, it also means for him that he will support social programs championed by Democrats," BP reported. "His advocacy of such programs is based on his understanding of the Bible, Davis said."

Look at the title of the BP article again, "Lincoln Davis wants life, not politics, to speak for itself."

As a Christian, whether a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Constitutionalist, Independent or any other party member, our passion should be living our life based upon our understanding of the Bible and its direction. That's the best any of us can hope to accomplish.



Jeremy D. Young said...

I think it's quite simple. If you, as a citizen, and as a Christian, vote to tell the government to steal money from everyone else and give it to the needy, you're not doing good works.

The government might be doing good works, but the Christians that vote for this are not. When the government steals money from everyone to give it to the poor, they're stealing both money and opportunity. Money, which presumably was earned through hard work or investment, and opportunity to change lives by giving and investing directly, or through a charity.

This is not to say that by funneling funds to various charities for a tax deduction that you've done the good works God has called you to either. I think it needs to be personal, it needs to be a sacrifice, and sometimes, it needs to be anonymous.

Well, sorry if that was rough. I need to go.

Jackie Melton said...


I think you are making a similar conservative argument against government providing charitable services as what I made in the post.

The larger point I was trying to make had to do with the contradiction some Christians might have if they were an elected Congressman or Senator (or even President) when they might be able to affect legislation which could help the needy among us.

Certainly, an argument could be made, in the case of a conservative constituent voting for a law maker, to have his or her conservative expectations represented, however, in the case of a Democrat legislator, like Lincoln Davis, he would not necessarily be going against the wishes of his constituents or the directions of the Bible in making legislative decisions related to social services.

See the difference?

Care to comment on that aspect?

(I know the conservative argument, I just had never thought about a Democrat who is a Christian and how scripture might lead him to endorse the promotion of social services and that it would neither be a contradiction to scripture, in his case, or a contradiction to what his constituents might want him to do in the course of representing them.

I too was pressed for time or I might have written more about it than I had time to do yesterday afternoon)

Thanks for your comments!

Jeremy D. Young said...

Well, I read the BP article, and I wasn't persuaded that he had any new arguments. All kinds of people claim that they are abusing the power of government for "good". Just because he uses scriptures that I believe are from God does not make his abuse of power any less problematic.

I don't think the argument "I used all my power to send the IRS agents after the rich of my nation so that I could set up a place where the poor and needy could stand in line to receive sub standard medical care" will quite qualify for Matthew 25.

I apologize for what may be seen as harsh words, but the standards must be the same across the board. The Government should not be used as a means to force people to do things, even if the majority of people claim that they are good things.

Government exists to protect the individual's rights to their own Life, Liberty, and Estates, collectively termed property. Government is not to take property from one individual and give to another.

Government requires the consent of the governed, not just the vote of a majority. Democracy is not a noble government, it is equivalent to two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.

Anonymous said...

I heard that in 1980, the top one percent made 9% of the total income in the US.

In 2008, the top one percent take home about 21% of the US income...

PJ said...

I liked your post Jackie. According to God''s word, we are told in Roman's 13:1-2,"Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

We are taught the only time to disobey our leaders is when they make us to anything that goes against what God commands. Yet nowhere does God command we not pay taxes. Further on in Romans we are told to pay taxes to our government. When you think about it, these scriptures come during a time when most Christians would be exceedingly wary of government, after all, the Roman government had just played a part in Christ's death, yet we are still told to respect their authority.

God has shown us in the Old Testament that imperfect people were allowed to rule, and were much beloved by him. We are told King David was most after God's own heart, yet he was a very flawed indiviual.

We live in an imperfect country run by imperfect people, but sometimes God's work can be done in circumstances like these. As a Democrat and a Christian, I can't find myself getting riled up over taxes when I am told in God's word this is part of government. I don't believe in dependence on the government, but I believe it should be there to offer a hand up to good people who find themselves in hard times.

Excuse my spelling, it's late.

Jackie Melton said...

Hi Peege! It's been a long time!

Regarding your comments, I have a few of my own.

While we are to obey and respect our authorities, which God has allowed to be placed into the positions they hold, nowhere in the Bible does it state we are to be silent if we do not agree with tax policies.

Further, disagreement with tax policies and voicing our displeasure at them and disagreement with them isn't the same thing as disobeying our authorities.

In Deuteronomy chapter 25, verse 4 (KJV) the Bible says, "Thou shall not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn," then, again, in 1 Timothy 5:18, the Bible says, "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

What is the workforce of this great nation, if not the oxen? What are income taxes, if not a collection against the reward of the labourer?

Just something to think about.

Love ya! Jackie

PJ said...

I agree that we shouldn't be silent when it comes to disagreeing with tax policies. After all, as citizens of this country, we certainly should have a say in how our money is spent. I think that's one of the things God blessed us with in our country, the freedom to disagree with our government and petition for change.

As a citizen of this country, I also believe we have an obligation to help her run. Finance the military, strengthen the infrastructure, maintain our national parks systems, better our educational establishments, as well as ensure a safety net for people in tragic and unforeseen situations. We are fortunate to live in such a country and it can also be seen as a reward for our labors, that we have such things available to us, paid for through our taxes. Further on into Romans 13 we are told to pay our taxes, and there are other instances in the Bible we are told the same thing.

Let me be clear, I don't support excessive taxation. And so far, I feel like I have reaped the rewards of mine and my family's labors. It is possible to do both.

Oh...and I'm glad to see your blog doing so well. It's grown so much! It looks like you are staying extremely busy.

Love, Peege