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Faith and the Democrats

A recent Dispatch guest opinion by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas was on Secretary Hillary Clinton’s address to the annual United Methodist Women’s Assembly. Thomas’ thesis statement is “Faith is making a comeback among liberal Democrats but they still have a way to go.”

Nevertheless, he judges this laggard faith to be “good enough for Democrats.” Thomas cannot find anything positive in theological diversity so he chooses to use the Bible to denigrate the party he opposes rather than promote cooperation within partisan differences.

Thomas noted Clinton’s description of how she was able to reconcile her father’s emphasis on self-reliance with her mother’s compassion for the needy in meanings of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Thomas’ rebuttal is that this miracle story is to demonstrate Jesus’ divinity, not compassion expressed in modern food banks or food stamps. He ignores the fact that Jesus’ compassionate motivation is cited explicitly in both Matthew and Mark. In contrast, Thomas’ biblical foundation for economics is Paul’s statement to the Thessalonians that, “If a man does not choose to work, neither shall he eat”

If one party prefers to interpret the Bible more with Paul than Jesus, and prefers actualizing it more under law than gospel, this should not prohibit working together within these differences. But to poison relationships and conversation by implying, “God, I thank you that I am like these ...” is neither good for our nation’s dysfunctional government nor a good Christian witness to skeptics. This is true no matter which party is guilty. Should anyone be surprised that young people are more and more turning their backs on Christianity, or that opinion polls rate our government as so abysmal?

DICK PETERSON of Nisswa is a retired physician.