Friday, January 25, 2008

Why I live on the left

I recently got into a discussion with a friend about politics. He wanted to know why I vote democrat when my life sort of lines of with Republican values. He pointed out that I come from a fairly conservative Christian background so I ought to agree with the party's moral values, I'm upper-middle class so their economics are really in my favor ect. I know elections can be really touchy and people often get bent out of shape. The Right is comfortable with the language of religion and values. So much so that they sometimes claim to own that territory. But then they narrow everything down to one or two issues: abortion and gay marriage. While I agree that gay marriage and abortion are complicated issues (that I have my own views about) and get why so many people get heated about them. But I think Bible really challenges us to look after the forgotten. I can't ignore the hundreds of verses about caring for the poor. Fighting poverty is a moral value too. For that matter taking care of God's creation and being good stewards of what we have been blessed with is also a moral value. Don't get me wrong, Democrats have their own problems too. They are so nervous to involve their faith in their politics. We have forgotten the progressive nature of our history and how you have to fight to make a change, but faith most certainly should be a part of that. Every major social movement was fueled in large part by religion and faith. Abolitionism, women’s suffrage, child labor law, and most famously, civil rights. Where would we be if Martin Luther King Jr. had kept his faith to himself during the civil rights movement? God is personal but not necessarily private.
All that said, I'm have a great life and I am very blessed. I don't worry about medical care because I have health insurance and I don't worry about minimum wage too much because I'll be working in a job that pays more than that someday pretty soon. The republican party often depend on faith- based organizations to take care care of the poor. But God is not just a God of charity but also a God of justice. It isn't enough to count on faith- based initiatives to help the poor. We have got to take a look at why people are poor and how we can change the system to make it better. I know that seems idealistic or immature or to lots of people, but when it comes to voting, I'm going to side with the poor.

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