Sep 28, 2005

The Christian Democrat Wine and Cheese Association

I attended a meeting of the Dallas Christian Democrats Network last night. I was invited by the brother of a friend, and committed to go in part because I had hoped to see my friend (it was his birthday), and I had a gift for him, a great latte mug with Congressman David Crockett’s parting shot to the Tennessee delegation: “You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas!” (This compares nicely with General Wm. Tecumseh Sherman’s quote from his Reconstruction/Occupation stay in Austin: “If I owned Hell and Texas, I’d rent out Texas and live in Hell.” Not a few people believe the General got his wish.)

Anyway, back to the Christian Democrats meeting. I went not knowing what to expect, because the idea of “Christian Democrat” can have very different meanings (not the least of which is that the German version of our Republican Party calls itself Christian Democrat).

On the one hand, it could be someone like myself; a Born-Again, evangelical, full-Gospel, disciple of Jesus Christ who believes that Jesus didn’t just promise us Heaven, but that He also ushered in the Kingdom of God now. Sort of a KISS/PMS Christian (Keep It Simple Stupid meets the Plain Meaning of Scripture).

On the other hand, you might find some who feel that the Bible is a work of men open to interpretation, revision, and even avoidance at times. To them, Jesus was a man possessed by the Spirit of God in a special way, but perhaps more like an Old Testament prophet than the True Incarnation of the Living God. They are open to the idea of Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed being of like stature, and may be open to the idea that there are many other “man-gods” and “woman-gods” who point the way toward the Mother-Father-Creator God.

We arrived at the painfully stereotypical (for Liberals) meeting place of la Madeleine, where the waitstaff all speak greetings to you in French, “Bon jour, ya’ll!” Clue Number One of what kind of Christian Democrats we were going to be dealing with.

Irony aside, my wife and I actually like this locally-based chain, and as we were perusing the menu, we got a pleasant surprise: our son-in-laws parents arrived for the meeting. They are politically and religiously liberal, and politics is the common ground we can always share (which makes them so much easier to deal with than some politically conservative but religiously liberal people we also know). It's always nice to go into a strange environment with people you know and love (even though you may not be in total agreement).

The meeting had about 38 people in attendance. The guest speaker was a very sharp Democratic Party activist and strategist. The attendees were from “liberal” churches for the most part, churches that are known for their openness to same-sex relations as a God-given manifestation of love. There were several Roman Catholics in attendance, including a former nun and a retired military/industrial complex engineer who was a West Point graduate.

Following are a few quotes from the open conversations/discussions I heard:

“The ban on fornication was about idolatry, not sex.”

“We're not witnessing Christians.”

“We're not from witnessing churches.”

“We talk about our religion, but evangelicals talk about their faith.”

“We seek God, wherever we see it to be.”

Because this was a decidedly non-evangelical group, and because I am always the party-pooper, I felt compelled to point out the erroneously reported George Gallup poll that said that 90% of Evangelicals are Republicans. Gallup didn’t say that. Gallup said that 90% of WHITE evangelicals were Republicans. The Gallup survey also said that 90% of BLACK evangelicals are Democrats. Noting that the Strength of the Democratic Party in Dallas County lies in the African-American community and Black churches, I had to point out the gathering was really the “White Liberal Christian Democrats of North Dallas” (I didn’t use those exact words).

Needless to say, Black Christians have an experience of God that is far closer to mine than to that of typical "liberal" Christians. Abortion and Gay marriage “rights” are not issues that these Biblically faithful Christians find endearing, and a political party that tries to place racial equality on the same footing with abortion rights and gay rights will soon find itself hemorrhaging black blood… much to the delight of the GOP.

But in closing, I must point out that not everyone in attendance was a "liberal" Christian. There was a definite range, that although left-leaning, was not totally off the edge. But I don't think there was anyone more to the conservative/orthodox Christian side than my wife and I. But there were plenty of other Christians there who confessed Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I do not fool myself about the log in my own eye.

For all have sinned (gay, straight, black, white, liberal, conservative) and fallen short of the Glory of God. The response to sin must always be love and promise, never hate and law.

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