This election year is becoming quite a challenge for us Americans. We are dealing with issues and candidates unlike no other time. The two party system is falling apart. There is no longer The Democratic Party. The two contenders for the president of our country, one is a "Progressive Democrat" and the other is a "Socialist Democrat." Neither fits into the concept of what my Democratic Party was.
When I became of age I registered as a Democrat, and voted for its candidate up to including Bill Clinton's second term. Afterwards things became to change and I could not, in good conscience, vote Democrat. I have always been a moderate to conservative Democrat, but as the Democratic Party moved, in warp speed, to the left, it left me behind in the camp of the Republicans.
Several months ago there was an opinion piece published in the major newspaper of my region entitled, "Jesus wouldn't recognize this kind of Christian" It was by, what I judged as, a disgruntled politician who lost an election and was blaming the Christian Democrats for voting Republican. He was addressing people like me, Christian Democrats, who are now voting Republican.
Every election, I find myself between a rock and a hard place. As a Roman Catholic, I am very liberal in social and economic issues, and conservative in other issues which (the author of that article) would consider moral and/or religious in nature. Therefore, I believe that he was speaking to voters like me.
To clarify the politician's point, there is no such thing as a Christian right or a Christian left. These are political terms barely reflecting what Christianity is all about. Rush Limbaugh and Liberty University do not represent all Christendom. In a nutshell, Christianity is the restored relationship between humanity and God; brought about by the incarnation of God through Jesus Christ. The restored relationship is a filial one between God and mankind. To live as God's children, Christians, Jesus showed us a new way to live by how He lived his life and by what He taught.
I used to be so excited to be able to vote, and the Catholic Church teaches that it is our duty to do so. I registered as a Democrat because this was the party that traditionally represented the rights of the economically and socially disenfranchised and was more closely aligned with the teaching of Jesus.
The disgruntled politician is right in point out some of the virtues of the Democratic Party, but do not forget that before governments were in the business of defending the prosecuted, taking care of the uneducated, the poor, the hungry, the sick, the orphaned, and the widowed, it was the Christians--most notably the Catholics--who did so, and are continuing to do so.
The traditional Democratic Party then understood that a human person was much more than individuals to have their physical needs met by the state, but human beings with a soul and spirit who need nourishment, encouragement, and to be accepted and loved from conception to natural death; to be given a "hands-up" and encouraged to be free to exercise their beliefs without penalty.
The disgruntled politician is so right in writhing that, "Something has gotten dangerously switched around, turning up into down and light into darkness" and this in my fear for our beloved Democratic Party. The Party now appears to be in the business of establishing their own "brand" of religion, writing its own book and taking as cover "Christian values" while trying to gag and tie-up the hands of many religious groups from doing their work by forcing laws that make it difficult for them to function with good conscience. As far as being "aligned with the party that serves the mighty powers of Mammon" --think again---the Republicans do not have the exclusive claims on this, and Jesus was very clear on this point (Matthew 6:24).
I cannot agree more that, "It has long seemed to me that the world would be a much better place if people acted according to the spirit Jesus taught." That begs the question, "Who has the authority to discern what the spirit of Jesus's teaching is for our modern world?" The crux of the matter is that we tend to pick and choose what we like about His teachings and turn a blind eye to what we don't like, or what is too hard, or inconvenient.
As to the disgruntled politician's comment that"... if Jesus was in America today, he would not vote Republican," Jesus was a Jew; he had no vote in the Roman dominated world, and he did not mince words about what he thought about some of the Jewish leaders of His time. I would not second guess Him, but look for clues in The Gospels.
It is becoming more and more difficult for me to vote. It is a balancing act. Vote I must, and the bottom line for me is to find the candidate (not the Party) that I find less egregious to my faith conscience.
EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT, EVEN IF IN A GIVEN ELECTION, THE CHOICES ARE DIFFICULT.