What's Wrong with the Democrats (and Republicans) and "The American Dream"
by Rich Deem

Introduction

Democrats or Republicans?

A common assumption is that Christians are all Republicans and that the Democrats are out-of-step with religious people. However, if Jesus were preaching to day, I think He would have some things to say to both political parties.

Rich Deem

I am sure I will get lots of email about this page, since neither Democrats nor Republicans are going to like it very much. It's okay with me, since Christianity is not about being popular. Even so, the Bible does lay down some specific moral principles that apply to our attitudes and behaviors. So, in this page, we are going to examine the moral principles that are violated by Democratic and Republican platforms and what Jesus Had to say about that cherished concept of "The American Dream."

Democrats

Until a few years ago, the Democrats tended to ignore morality in their appeal to voters, instead emphasizing personal rights and liberties. However, recently, Democrats have begun to appeal to people's concern for the poor, in terms of basic needs (food, shelter, health care, etc.), along with education and training. Of course, the Bible does encourage us to care for the poor and provide for their needs.1

Pornography

Democrats have always been supportive of "free speech," even saying that people have a right to produce pornography that has "artistic merit." However, Jesus said that looking at a woman with lust is a sin equal to committing adultery.2 Obviously, supporting "rights" that encourage sin is not within the realm of Christian principles.

Sexual sins

The Democratic party has been a strong supporter of freedom of sexual expression. Therefore, any prohibitions against such "victimless" conduct such as adultery and consensual sex between minors have been removed from legal statutes. As a result, sexually-transmitted diseases are at epidemic levels, despite an appeal to "safe sex" through condom use. The Bible indicates that sexual relationships are to be between husband and wife.3

Abortion

Despite political comments that the determination of the beginning of human life is "above one's pay grade," the Bible makes no bones about when human life begins. In fact, numerous prophets were called by God to serve him from the womb.4 Today, such a call could likely be answered by a choice to kill God's messenger. Killing one of God's creatures in the name of personal choice is one of the most egregious "acceptable" sins allowed in the United States (and most parts of the world).

Republicans

Republicans emphasize moral responsibility more than democrats. Although they often think of themselves as being part of "God's party," their platform is not without its own moral problems.

Immigration

Illegal immigration is a big issue for Republicans as they seek to keep Mexican nationals from crossing the border and living in the United States. Although often framed as a national security issue since September 11, 2001, the main purpose of closed borders is to keep outsiders from taking "American jobs." However, the Bible says that God's people are not to despise the aliens in their land,5 but provide food, shelter, and clothing for them.6 In addition, the Bible says that all laws are to apply to equally to natives and aliens7 and that judges are to apply those laws equally.8 God Himself warned His people not to turn aside the alien or they could be subject to judgment.9 And Republicans thought that America would only be judged for her sexual sins!

The poor

Republicans are often perceived as being for big business at the expense of the poor. In general, Democrats believe that government should care for the poor, whereas Republicans believe that the private sector can do a more efficient job. In a less selfish world individuals would willingly provide for those who are in need. The Bible talks about the poor and encourages people to give alms to them. However, at the time, all able-bodied individuals were expected to work. Those who refused to work were not to be given food to encourage them in their laziness.10 In instances where the poor are described in the Bible, they were begging for alms because they had physical disabilities that prevented them from working.11 So, providing for the poor was never intended as a welfare system for lazy people. Since there was no government system for providing for the day laborer, he could seek to be hired to work on a daily basis or offer to become a slave. The term slave has extremely negative connotations today, because of abuses carried out against those who were forced to work for others. However, under Old Testament law, the kidnapping of a person for enslavement was a capital offense.12 In addition, voluntary slavery was not a lifetime commitment, since the slave was to be released in the year of jubilee (which occurred every seven years).13 Since we don't want to go back to a system of slavery, it is reasonable for a government by the people to provide for the needs of those who are unable to work.

The American Dream

Although there is no one unified perception of what "The American Dream" entails, both political parties throw around the idea as the goal of being prosperous and well-off financially. Accordingly, the American Dream comprises the pursuit of wealth, leisure, and comfortable living. Because people prefer comfort to suffering, appeals to providing all Americans the opportunity to pursue the American Dream are well-received. However, Jesus had a different idea of how a person would be blessed. Accordingly, those who are poor, hungry, weeping, and hated because they followed Him are the ones who are blessed and will inherit the kingdom of heaven.14-17 However, Jesus pronounced woes to those who were rich, well-fed, laughing, and popular with the people.18-20

Jesus' Blessings & Woes
Blessings Woes
Poverty14 Riches18
Hunger15 Well fed19
Weeping16 Laughing19
Being hated17 Being popular20

This is the American Dream turned on its head! It is not that one should seek to be poor, hungry and hated. However, one should not pursue "The American Dream" as one's primary purpose in life. According to the Bible, the most important things are to love God and love one's neighbor.21 Accordingly, all of God's laws are fulfilled when one practices love.

Americans vs. "them"

It is a common campaign rhetoric to put more value on American lives compared to peoples from other areas of the world. What politicians don't seem to understand is that God is not a United States citizen. In fact, the Bible says that God does not show partiality based upon social, financial, or ethnic status,22 so that we can confidently say that God loves non-Americans as much as He does Americans. Likewise, the Bible commands people to act without partiality, and warns those who judge with partiality will be judged as being transgressors of the law.23

Conclusion Top of page

Neither major political party has a completely biblical party platform. Democrats tend to emphasize personal rights (including "rights" to sin and kill God's pre-born creations) to the detriment of personal responsibility. Republicans stress personal responsibility to the detriment of caring for those who are less well off. You can be sure that the economy will be a major topic of discussion during the 2008 presidential election campaigning. It is likely that the candidate who appeals best to the greed of the electorate will win the presidency as we pursue the American Dream of wealth and leisure as the rest of the world suffers in poverty and sickness. No, I won't be running this election, so you won't be able to vote for me (not that you would probably want to, anyway!). Choose wisely!



References Top of page

  1. "If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. (Deuteronomy 15:7-8)
    "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.' (Deuteronomy 15:11)
    "You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns. (Deuteronomy 24:14)
    because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (Esther 9:22)
    One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed. (Proverbs 19:17)
    The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all. (Proverbs 22:2)
    "Thus has the LORD of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.' (Zechariah 7:9-10)
    Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Matthew 19:21)
    "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 'For 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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (Matthew 25:34-40)
  2. but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
  3. See The Biblical Design for Human Sexuality.
  4. Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, "A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. "But he said to me, `Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'" (Judges 13:6-7, see also Judges 16:17)
    Listen to Me, O islands, And pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called Me from the womb; From the body of My mother He named Me. (Isaiah 49:1)
    And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), (Isaiah 49:5)
    Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother's breasts. Upon Thee I was cast from birth; Thou hast been my God from my mother's womb. (Psalm 22:9-10)
    "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)
    "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb." (Luke 1:15)
    But when He who had set me apart, even from my mother's womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased (Galatians 1:15)
  5. "You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. (Deuteronomy 23:7)
  6. 'When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'" (Leviticus 23:22)
    "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt." (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)
    "The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do. (Deuteronomy 14:29)
    "When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. (Deuteronomy 24:19)
    "When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. (Deuteronomy 24:20)
    "When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. (Deuteronomy 24:21)
  7. 'If an alien sojourns among you and observes the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its ordinance, so he shall do; you shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land.'" (Numbers 9:14)
    'As for the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the LORD.' (Numbers 15:15)
    'There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.'" (Numbers 15:16)
    'You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them." (Numbers 15:29)
  8. "Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, 'Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him." (Deuteronomy 1:16)
    "You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow's garment in pledge. (Deuteronomy 24:17)
    'Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.' (Deuteronomy 27:19)
  9. "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me," says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:5)
  10. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)
  11. As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. (Luke 18:35)
    And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. (Acts 3:2)
    As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth... Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, "Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?" (John 9:1-8)
  12. "He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death." (Exodus 21:16)
  13. 'If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service. 'He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 'He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. 'For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. 'You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God. (Leviticus 25:39-43)
    "If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment." (Exodus 21:2)
  14. And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20)
  15. "Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. (Luke 6:21)
  16. "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)
  17. "Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. (Luke 6:23)
  18. "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. (Luke 6:24)
  19. "Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. (Luke 6:25)
  20. "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. (Luke 6:26)
  21. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He [Jesus] said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40)
    Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
  22. "For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. (Deuteronomy 10:17)
    [God] Who shows no partiality to princes Nor regards the rich above the poor, For they all are the work of His hands? (Job 34:19)
    Opening his mouth, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, (Acts 10:34)
    but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:10-11)
    But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. (Galatians 2:6)
    And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (Ephesians 6:9)
  23. nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute. (Exodus 23:3)
    'You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus 19:15)
    'You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God's. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.' (Deuteronomy 1:17)
    "You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. (Deuteronomy 16:19)
    "Now then let the fear of the LORD be upon you; be very careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness or partiality or the taking of a bribe." (2 Chronicles 19:7)
    "He will surely reprove you If you secretly show partiality. (Job 13:10)
    How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah. (Psalm 82:2)
    These also are sayings of the wise. To show partiality in judgment is not good. (Proverbs 24:23)
    To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. (Proverbs 28:21)
    "So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction. (Malachi 2:9)
    I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. (1 Timothy 5:21)
    But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:9)

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