During my sophomore year, one of my classmates asked me,”Andy, what is it that drives your politics?” I thoughtabout it for a couple seconds and replied, “My faith.”Looking back on that conversation got me thinking about the wayDemocrats and Republicans talk about their religious beliefs.Republicans do not hesitate to talk about their faith and the wayit affects their politics.
Yet, why are Democrats so hesitant to talk about theirs? We holdmany political perspectives that have strong biblical grounding. Ontop of that, there are strong contingencies of Catholics,Protestants and Jews within our party whose political views arevery much reinforced by their religious views. Perhaps it is not amatter of why Democrats do not talk about their faith, because ourparty has plenty of people that are religious, but more of a matterof how to talk about faith. We need to think about how religion canfurther solidify the foundation of our political views.
A good starting place is the issue of social justice. Democratsbelieve that injustice to one person is an injustice to all. Thatif one person is in need, it is in the best interest of the state(i.e. the people) to help meet those needs. Consider Leviticus19:18: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge againstany of your people, but you shall love your neighbor asyourself.” Loving your neighbor is not just a good ideabiblically, but is also prudent politics. Consider that yourneighbor is in need, and if they are without help, they willeventually find a way to meet those needs, by turning to crime orsin. Helping a neighbor get back on their feet makes it easier forthem to turn away from sin or crime. As a result, the wholecommunity benefits, because they are safer and the neighbor can gettheir life back on track and be a contributing member ofsociety.
Another way that we can learn how to reinforce our politics withfaith is by looking at the religious role models in our party. TheRepublican Party often cites Ronald Reagan as their religious rolemodel of choice.
However, we as Democrats also have some examples that are nottoo shabby either. While many would argue that Jimmy Carter was nota “great” president, they cannot deny the way his faithdrives his politics. Today, he is a staunch advocate for worldpeace and human rights. His activism has helped him to win theNobel Peace Prize and worldwide admiration. Here is an example ofsome of his religious wisdom: “We’ll never know whethersomething new and wonderful is possible unless we try …Serve God with boldness, and who knows what wonders the Lord maywork?”
As Democrats, we shouldn’t shirk our religiousconvictions; we should be proud of them. This pride cannot simplybe spoken; it must be lived. Thus we must remember the words ofMicah 6:8: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and whatdoes the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to lovekindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Amen.