Why I Am A Christian And A Democrat

Why I Am A Christian And A Democrat


I’m a Democrat, BUT I’m Christian… I remember sitting in Sunday School class in High School. It was my first year as a Christian and I heard someone utter those words. I wondered what the problem with this statement was, but everyone else there seemed to see it as a problem. In many areas of America, particularly the North and West, it is not unusual for a Christian to vote Democrat. That is not so much the case in the South. There is a big stigma attached to it in many of our local churches. What is interesting is that I used to be more conservative before I became a Christian. Indeed, my Christianity has led me to where I am today. I like to think of myself as a moderate, but I do vote for the Democratic party usually.

Now, I am not so naive to think that everything the Democratic Party stands for perfectly aligns with Christianity. The Democratic Party, just like the Republican Party, is made of imperfect humans. I am not here to say that you cannot be Republican and a Christian. Indeed, Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Yet, I am here to dispel the stigma, even among some millennials, that one cannot be a faithful Christian and a Democrat. Hopefully we can understand each other better. Anyways, here are one of the few reasons I tend to vote for Democrats:

“But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?” (1 John 3:17)

There is a difference between fair and just economic policies. Fair economic policies could mean that those who work hard to earn their money and become wealthy keep all of it. They did earn it after all. Just economic policies mean that those that have much, give back to those in need. We are called to look out for the ‘least of these.’

I am also a Democrat because I believe everyone should have an opportunity to live a comfortable life and advance up the ladder if they work hard for it. The degree of income inequality in America is on the rise. It is far less common than it used to be for people to change classes in their lifetime. I believe in Capitalism. I really do, but Capitalism left unchecked tends to leave the most vulnerable of our society behind. It’s a fact, income inequality has grown in America. A good democracy has a solid middle class. Yet, it seems that our middle class has been on the decline for quite a while. I do not believe that a complete free market (we have indeed, never been a pure capitalistic society anyways) can fix all of our problems. I also do not think that pure socialism will fix it. It is not always so dichotomous. (By the way, our society already has elements of socialism in it.)

In terms of addressing poverty, I remember my freshman year of high school, I had the privilege of spending time at a homeless shelter in New York that took people in and put them to work. They provided them with their basic needs. They also trained them in trades. Now, there were some people there that were there because they simply were lazy and did not want to work. (nonetheless, we are still called to have compassion for them.) However, most of these individuals were trying every day to get back on their feet. They would go out every week trying to get jobs, yet many never could. What is even more discouraging, some of these individuals were veterans. Sure, Medicaid needs reform because many people take advantage of the system. But that does not mean that many people do not need it. We should have a safety net to have people get back on their feet. Some Republicans like to call it "handouts", but Democrats do not think that. I believe in hard work. I believe in personal responsibility. But everyone needs a boost sometimes.

I do not advocate for the complete redistribution of wealth so much so that there are no poor people. Indeed, every society will always have a lower class. But poverty and extreme poverty are different than having a lower class. America should be a place where if you work 40 hours a week, you should be able to make a living wage. America, I was taught at a young age, is the land of opportunity, where if anyone worked hard, they could make it. Yet, that is changing more and more every day.

The Purpose of Government

I believe that the Government is there to serve the people. Now, I do believe in checks and balances and not giving the government too much power. The people should always be where the government gets its power from and we should always be wary of trusting the government too much. Yet, the government should be advocating for the common good of the people and providing safety nets to the most vulnerable of society so they can get back up on their feet. Our economy is stronger when all of us contribute to it. That is also why I support research to try and implement some form of universal health care. (There are many ways to do this, so please do not assume anything!) It is very hard, but the end goal is worth it. I doubt that Jesus will ask me on my final day (as John Kasich, a Republican once said) ‘How much did you do to keep the government small?’ I do not think that government will solve all of our problems because the government is again, made of imperfect humans. It will take all of efforts: our communities, our churches, our mosques, our synagogues, the government, our schools, etc. to accomplish this. I also know that we will always have problems.

Social Justice
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)
“How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times!”- Psalm 106:3

Jesus is quite clear that part of being his disciple is seeking justice. He even goes as far to tell us that true religion is seeking justice. Now, some Christians are weary of social justice. After all, our only purpose on earth is to bring as many people to salvation as possible right? Well, let’s look at the life of Jesus. Jesus actually did both. He did not go to people and simply just preach at them. He tended to their needs, he cared for the poor; he sought justice. Many times, our actions speak louder than our words. Just because you are a Christian in politics, does not necessarily mean I will vote for you! Let me see the fruit of what you talk about.

Gay Marriage and Abortion

Some people are solely against the Democratic party for the above reasons. My problem with this is that if you truly are against gay marriage and abortion, do you think that legislation will change people’s behavior? If you outlaw abortion, people are just going to do it in their homes, on the streets, etc. Likewise, if you outlaw gay marriage, no one is going to change their behavior. We are called to look at people with the eyes of Jesus. Even if you disagree with them (because some Christians support it while some do not), everyone has their God given and constitutional rights.(Plus Separation of Church and State is also a factor.) What I do not get, is why Christians put these issues on a pedestal. There is so much in the world going on in which people are harming others. Violence and injustices are everywhere.

As for me, I for one will fight for the LGBTQIA community’s rights so that they can have a space to exist and live their lives. Do you know that many in the LGBTQIA community commit suicide? Should this not concern us MORE?? Do you know how many in the LGBTQIA community get bullied every year? I will also fight to provide abortion so people do not have to seek more ghastly alternatives because I know that people who are in desperate situations will find a way. This is a debate that needs to be had and I hope that someday we can put down our swords down and have both sides be realistic about it.

Although I stand by what I said, I hope that my above statements do not completely infuriate some of my Christians friends I know! All of these unnecessary ‘holy wars’ have turned out to be a bad witness to many non-Christians. This is probably the piece of the article that I will get the most heat for, but I am welcoming dialogue on this. If you feel angry at me, I urge you to please message me so we can talk it first. These issues are very complex and I did not even say everything on my mind!

Racial Justice

This one is simple for me. The numerous problems we still have today with Race do not seem to be as addressed by the Republican Party as a whole. The Democratic Party is not perfect, but at least, it includes it in the Conversation. Visiting communities over the last few years as part of my Spring Break, I have seen communities that literally look like I was not even in America anymore. Extreme Poverty exists at our back doorstep, and although many Whites are also facing poverty, it is disproportionately minorities who face it. Not because of anything they have done. Not because of their capabilities. But because of what they were born into. Poverty is not the only issue, but police brutality is something rampant in many communities. No, I do not think all police officers are the problem. I truly do respect those that take up this public service. But, the fact is, brutality and injustice still does occur.

Climate Change

The majority of scientists have been very clear that this is a problem. We even see evidence of it. Given, some do exaggerate quite a bit on how soon we see some more of the drastic changes occur, but as a Christian, I am called to care for the environment. It was given to us for us to care for it. This is not some liberal agenda conspiracy theory.

As someone who aspires to fight for justice and be involves in Politics, I love when people critique me. So by all means, feel free to give feedback if you'd like!

Cover Image Credit: Google

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.


It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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