From time to time, the Resurgent writers have some spirited
discussions in the back room. That was the case this week after Steve Berman posted his compelling idea for a Christian political party. Eventually, the conversation wound its way
around to whether Christians could be Democrats (or vice versa).
The subject of Christians and Democrats is not a new one in conservative Christian circles and there is a legitimate question as to how Christians can align with a party that supports abortion on demand, rejects Biblical teaching on sexuality and gender, and even goes so far as to support the persecution of their fellow Christians. Often, the assumption from the Christian right is that when it comes to the Democratic Party all Christians have left the building.
As the saying goes, however, when we assume it makes Christ’s
mode of transportation into Jerusalem out of you and me. It turns out that there
are a lot of self-identified Christians who still consider themselves to be
Democrats. A Pew
poll of voters in the 2018 midterm elections found that the partisan split
among Christians is much more even than you might think. The poll, which breaks
down Christians into “Protestant/other” and “Catholic” found that Protestants
favor Republicans by a 56-42 margin while Catholics are almost evenly split
between the two parties. Party preference of Christians has not changed appreciably
in the midterms dating back to 2006.
These numbers might shock many political observers, especially
considering the Republican Party’s party’s self-proclaimed status as the
Christian Party, but they shouldn’t. As a matter of simple math, black voters
lean Democrat by about 90 percent and about 80
percent of blacks identify as Christian.
Even beyond black Christian voters, who are concentrated
heavily in traditional black Protestant denominations, another Pew
poll found that most branches of Christianity are more Democrat than
Republican. Only Evangelical Protestants are
significantly more Republican than Democrat (56 percent), but even then a large
minority of evangelicals (28 percent) are Democrat. (Mormons also favor Republicans by 70-19 percent, but I
consider them distinct from traditional Christians.) Catholics, historically Black
Protestant denominations (such as African Methodist Episcopal and Christian
Methodist Episcopal), and Orthodox Christians all lean Democrat. Mainline
Protestants are almost evenly split at 44-40 percent with a slight Republican
edge. The bottom line is that Republican Christianity is very white and
So, a lot of Democrats claim to be Christian. Are they
really? After all, how could any Christian support something as heinous as New
York’s new abortion law that permits killing
full-term unborn babies?
I agree that is a valid question. I’ve known some pro-choice
Christians including an ultrasound technician who worked for the OB/GYN who
delivered my son. Her rationale was that she didn’t think that parents should
have children if they didn’t want them and that abortion was needed to prevent
Let me stop right there and say that her argument was not
logical and does not withstand factual scrutiny. First, it is abhorrent to
think that killing a baby is preferable to birthing an unwanted child. If only
planned children were born, the world’s population would probably die out fairly
quickly. America’s position as a world leader is already in danger from our declining
birth rate. Her assumption also presupposes that parents will never grow to
love and appreciate an unwanted child. In the second place, even not
considering that abortion is child abuse in and of itself, child abuse rates have
risen by more than 500
percent since Roe v. Wade was
decided in 1973. Finally, adoption is available as a nonlethal alternative to
parents who don’t want to be responsible for their children.
The truth, however, is that a lot of Christians support
abortion. Turning to yet another Pew
poll (Pew is great for in-depth looks at religion), we see that majorities
of most Christian demographics are in favor of legal abortion. Despite the
prominence of the Catholic Church in the pro-life movement, Catholics are
evenly split on the issue. Even 33 percent of evangelicals are in favor of
abortion. At 60 percent, mainline Protestants are the most pro-choice.
The question remains whether support for abortion and the
other anti-Christian planks of the Democratic platform are enough to deny salvation
to those who believe in Christ. Is being wrong on a political issue and voting
for the wrong candidate enough to jeopardize your soul?
The Bible teaches that the way to salvation is to acknowledge that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and under a sentence of death for our transgressions (Romans 6:23). The Biblical formula for salvation is to publicly accept Jesus Christ as your savior and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). Everyone who accepts Christ’s offer of salvation gets it (Romans 10:13). That’s it. Bottom line. Case closed.
But wait, you say, what about Matthew
7:16 where Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits?” Doesn’t that
mean that Christians who produce rotten fruit aren’t Christian at all? In the preceding
verse, Jesus says to “beware of false prophets” so it isn’t clear from the
context that this verse was intended to be directed at lay believers, particularly
those whose sin is something so tenuous and indirect as voting for the wrong candidate.
There are numerous
Bible verses that make it clear that salvation is based on nothing more
than our faith and God’s grace. Other than accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ,
there is nothing that we can do or not do that would affect our salvation.
Granted, James does argue that “faith without works is dead”
2:26), but this is an argument that faith should spur good works, not that salvation
is dependent on works. In verse
22, James makes this clear when he says, “faith was working together with
his works, and by works faith was made perfect.”
Some Christians argue that Christians who vote Democrat are
either not Christians at all or are backslidden
Christians who are ignoring God’s will. This is an example of the “No True Scotsman”
fallacy in which a blanket statement is rendered unfalsifiable because a true
example can’t be found, similar to the argument that communism works but that “true
communism” has never been tried.
I’m not prepared to consign anyone who votes Democrat to
hell and others should be cautious in doing so as well. Matthew
7:1-3 warns, “With what judgment you judge, you will be judged.” Are
Republican Christians really eager to have God judge them based on their voting
I have a good friend who is an atheist. In 2016, we discussed
the nomination of Donald Trump at length and my friend was dumbfounded that
conservative Christians in the Republican Party would rally around a man who
was unfaithful to his wives (Matthew
Timothy 3:2), was the owner of casinos (Proverbs
28:19), was sexually immoral (Romans
13:13), who cheated in business dealings (Proverbs
20:23), who was a bigot (Galatians
3:28),who was coarse and vulgar (Ephesians 5:4),
who was insulting (Proverbs 15:1), who was unforgiving
6:32-42), and who was a habitual liar (Proverbs
26:28). When Christians responded to Trump’s faults in 2016 by saying that
they weren’t voting for a national pastor, one wag responded that it was a good
thing because they couldn’t get much further from pastor material than Donald
Jesus didn’t command Christians to vote for a fifth conservative
justice on the Supreme Court or to block Hillary. He did command us to make disciples
and teach the nations “to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew
28:16-20). Have Republican Christians fulfilled this commandment in their
embrace of Donald Trump? It’s more likely that as conservative Christians have
become more political they have alienated more lost people and contributed to
America’s moral decline. The Christian right certainly didn’t help me win my friend to Christ.
supported the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy of separating children
of illegal immigrants from their families as a tactic
to discourage illegal immigration. Even some
legal asylum-seekers were separated from their children. How can this intentional
abuse of post-born children with Jesus’ admonitions
to love and protect children (Matthew
18:2-10) as well as Old Testament instructions to treat foreigners fairly (Deuteronomy
10:19)? Enforcing the law is one thing, but intentionally treating migrants
harshly is something quite different. This is especially true when some of the
never be reunited.
Some Republicans have gone even further and replaced Jesus
with Donald Trump. Some Republicans have made comparisons not only between
Donald Trump and the Biblical Kings David and Cyrus but between Trump and Jesus Christ himself. In 2017, conservative artist Jon
McNaughton painted a picture of Donald Trump that depicted the president standing
on a dead snake’s head, a clear reference to messianic
3:15). Just before the 2018 elections, a group posted a billboard
near St. Louis that depicted President Trump and said, “The Word became
flesh… – John 1:14” with the slogan, “Make the Gospel great again.” In that
verse, “the Word” is Jesus. The Washington
Times even ran a Thanksgiving piece titled, “Time to give thanks for all
God, Trump have provided.” Social media is replete with memes and videos comparing
Donald Trump to Jesus, some are satirical and some are serious and it can be hard
to tell which is which, but equating Donald Trump, a mortal man, with the son
of God is heretical as well as being a violation
of the First Commandment (Exodus 20:3).
It boils down the fact that conservative Christians who judge
Democratic Christians are making the same error as liberals who claim that
conservatives don’t care about [insert interest group here] because they don’t
sign on to liberal policy prescriptions. No one knows what is in someone else’s
heart. Their salvation is between them and God.
It seems that neither party can really be termed a Christian
party even though Christians support both parties. I tend to think of the Democrats
as heathens and Republicans as Pharisees. Democrats don’t seem to know or care
what the Bible says while some Republicans have replaced Christian love with legalism and others have
moved all the way to idol worship. Together, the two branches of political
Christianity sound like the lukewarm church of Revelation
Thank God that our salvation does not depend upon ourselves!
We would all be in deep trouble if it were up to us to earn or keep salvation
through our own good works in a fallen world that is filled with temptation.
So how would Jesus vote? It seems that both parties have sinned
and fallen short of the glory of God. I’m not sure that Jesus would vote at
all. He was focused on the kingdom of heaven rather than the kingdoms of men. I’m certain that Jesus would mourn
for the hundreds of thousands of murdered American babies, but I’m also certain
that he would weep for the young children ripped from the arms of their parents.
I think the key is in Abraham Lincoln’s answer to the question
of whether he thought God was on the side of the Union. Lincoln replied, “Sir,
my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on
God’s side, for God is always right.” Christians should put aside their
partisan filters and make sure they are on God’s side.