Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Democrats and religion

Prominent Democrat Leah Daughtry wishes that the exit polls for her party’s primaries would cover religion as well as those for the Republicans do. After all, she argues, Democrats are people of faith, too.

Here’s her argument:

Democrats have been, are and will continue to be people of faith. My own support for the party stems from my sense that it is most emblematic of gospel values. Democrats believe in equal opportunity for all Americans, that no child should go to bed hungry or go without health care, that we should be good stewards of the earth, that we shouldn’t pass on debt to our children, and that people who work hard should be able to earn a living wage so they can support their families.

I don’t per se object to these "gospel values," though I have two questions. First, I’m not sure that they’re all rooted in the Gospel, even as I can think of some "gospel values" that don’t make her list. And second, even if they are, the Gospel doesn’t tell us that government should compel people to uphold them.

Of course, she notes, these "gospel values" are shared by non-believers, so, in fact, they’re aren’t simply or strictly "gospel values." Good; there’s no religious test for becoming a Democrat. The Democrats aren’t exclusively "Christian Democrats."

Of course, if everything that she thinks follows from the character of her "gospel values," then those who don’t uphold them (in her way) can’t be Christians. While there’s no religious test for being a Democrat, there is one to define the other party. Genuine Christians can’t be Republicans. (I know that I’m engaging in a kind of exaggeration of her argument. Doubtless she’s not quite this ungenerous with her political foes. After all, she’s called to love them. But it remains the case that Democrats have a habit of citing the passage from James about faith and works, as if genuine faith were always reflected in a voting record that won the approval of the ADA.)

The evidence that I’m exaggerating comes from something else she says:

The DNC has been actively engaging people of faith who share the core values and principles of the Democratic Party.

She concedes, in other words, that there are "people of faith" who don’t "share the core values and principles of the Democratic Party." Does this mean that the core values are different from "gospel values" or that those people of faith are simply misguided? If it’s the latter, then there’s no point in talking to them. The Democrats apparently have nothing to learn from "people of faith" who disagree with them. Their views will not be permitted to influence or transform the party, which, after all, is committed to its "core values and principles."

Stated another way, the current visibility of people of faith in the Democratic Party shouldn’t lead us to conclude that anything about the party has changed or will change.

Discussions - 1 Comment

Excellent post. I agree that the 'Gospel Values' pushed by the Left come from James. They also come from the Sermon on the Mount. These fall into the category of 'Social Justice.' However, I'm not hearing the true Gospel proclaimed by the Left--That Christ died for sinners and imputed His righteousness into believers, and took their sin to the Cross. I don't think the Theology of the Cross fits into the Social Justice template of the Left. I never hear Jim Wallis or Tony Compolo discuss the Cross.

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