catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 11, Num 4 :: 2012.02.17 — 2012.03.01



I grew up in rural Pennsylvania with staunch Republican parents, the kind who even worked the polls. In fact, they were of the kind so respected as Republican and trustworthy that my father was elected Justice of the Peace in our small town. I grew up meeting only one Democrat that I knew of, and that was the man who would be my father-in-law, and he moved into our county from the South, so he didn’t count. I began going to a Christian college in an election year, and as a good Republican and Christian, I hung door-hangers to get the vote out, and especially to get the Republican vote out.

Then I grew up and began to think a bit for myself — generally a dangerous thing in the circles and time in which I came to maturity. Though I was a registered Republican, it seemed to me that the Democratic Party was the one that “loved one another.” At least that party seemed to be the one who had programs to see that all kids had a shot at an equal opportunity for an education, for health care, for regular and nourishing meals and decent housing. Oh, I knew there were serious issues over the right-to-life, but what I also came to understand was that you couldn’t talk favorably about any political party other than the Republican one in most of the churches I had attended. If you even indicated any sympathy toward the Democratic Party, your very salvation was in question.

I teach in a Bible college in the east, one which has historically been extremely homogenous, so politics was never really an issue. However, in recent years the college has become more diverse, including the discussion about politics. Unfortunately, the students remain primarily Republican from birth who, like me, never even conceived of the idea that Republicans and Christians weren’t the same.

Little by little, the lid is being lifted on this taboo subject, and honestly, I’m not sure what the reaction is going to be. I hope that some students will hear with their minds and hearts why others support the Democratic Party. I hope they will at least try to understand that those students who name themselves Democrats do not necessarily support the party position on abortion or same-sex marriage, but that party’s bent toward social responsibility.

I don’t know why there has been a taboo in the churches I have attended in the past on even mentioning the possibility of being a Democrat. I don’t know why, of all subjects, politics seems to justify using all kinds of hurtful language toward other believers. What I do know is that it is time to change.  I pray that we as a church will not allow the evil one to so control us that we, even today, continue to judge and condemn any church that might count Democrats among its number. 

Years ago it was an issue of race that separated even believers. Today, at least it my part of the country, it is politics.

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