Posted by: emjb | November 3, 2006

Here, have a cup of coffee and a blanket.

Have you seen those Red Cross ads, where a family stands outside in their pajamas, watching their house burn down, while a Red Cross lady gives them blankets? Sometimes I think I should be doing the same for Christians who believed they should vote Republican and are now watching the party collapse inward like the house at the end of Poltergeist, crushed by its own evil, greed, and hypocrisy.

Now I’m a Democrat, but I’m not going to say those forces don’t tear at my party too. They do. But the Democrat platform*, when they remember it, does support civil rights, equality of opportunity, and preserving what’s left of our environment if we can. Which goals seem to me to be very consistent with a Christian worldview. Jesus was very big on caring for the least powerful members of society–prostitutes, tax collectors, the handicapped. The kind of people the Romans, like the Republicans, despised and discounted.

And while Jesus didn’t say much about the environment, it does seem that if God did give you the earth to take care of, then killing off its creatures and turning the whole place into a strip mine does seem a bit irresponsible. Presumably, God took a lot of thought coming up with, say, elephants, and it seems we could show our appreciation in some other way than shooting them all to make pretty things out of their tusks.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re worried about the bedroom stuff. Gay people and single people and non-Christian (and some Christians) doing things you don’t think are right. And you know, no one is going to take away your right to disapprove of those things, or of anything else you please. The Republicans like to tell you that Hillary Clinton secretly wants us all to be gay prostitutes, but honestly, she doesn’t. Nor does she want your daughters to become Wiccan lesbian man-haters. Like all politicians, she wants to get elected to as high an office as she can…and that’s pretty much it. Whichever Democrat next becomes President won’t be promoting some sort of Secret Gay Agenda–they’ll be worrying about the mess in Iraq, healthcare, taxes, and all the boring government stuff we’ve hired them to do. If Democrats were half as diabolical as the Republicans made out, they would not be so good at fumbling their PR. Al Gore and Kerry basically threw away their presidential chances by being stiff, pedantic, and vague on the stump, despite their much higher qualifications. Those are not the actions of a slick demonic political machine.

So disapprove away. Oddly enough, unlike Bush and his Constitution-shredding ways, your right to disapprove of everything will be better protected by Democrats, who do not want to get into your bedroom, your church, or your home to tell you what to do, what to think, what to read, or what to publish on the internet. That “political correctness” Limbaugh makes fun of? That protects you too.

It’s true, you don’t get the option of legislating against personal behavior between consenting adults that you disapprove of. But neither can other people come into your home and tell you what you should do in your bedroom, if they happen to disapprove of it. But then, maybe, you should consider that Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time hauling sinners in front of judges, either. He seemed to think most sins something that was between the sinner and God. Maybe that’s a better approach. Maybe you should consider just being content with your right to preach, pray, and protest against what you dislike, and stop seeking to use government in areas where only God has power–inside people’s hearts.

When you think about Democrats being in power, and what values they stand for, and what values progressives in general stand for, maybe you should remember this verse:

Matthew 25:34-46 (New International Version)

34″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For 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, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37″Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40″The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Not one mention of gay marriage there, or divorce, or feminism, or contraception. At the final judgement, according to these verses, what will matter is your compassion. What did you do for the least of these?

And if you’re looking for a new compass after the fall of the Republicans, you don’t have to become a Democrat, or anything else. But maybe you should take this opportunity to figure out what really is important to the founder of your faith, where your dollars and your energies should be going. Maybe the next time some TV preacher tells you to send them money to go after gay people, you should think about all that good that money could be doing in this battered, suffering world. Maybe you don’t need the GOP to tell you what God wants you to do. And if that’s the case, maybe their downfall can be a blessing for you, if you want to hold on to your faith.

You might find that no matter what the Republicans say, compassion spreads God’s word even better than fear. And then who knows? Amazing things can happen. Here’s hoping they do, because Lord knows, we need them.

*Hey Democrats? You haven’t updated this since the Kerry campaign. It’s not 2004 anymore, fellas…think you could get an intern working on this? Sheesh.

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