Christian and Democrat

by Barbara Hudson, Dawn Capra, John Wilson and Mary Wilson
for the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, November 30, 2018

Stained-glass window from Boerne United Methodist Church showing hand with torch and legend "The Lord is my light"
“Boerne UMC #8” by Alkula’s is licensed under CC-BY 2.0

As Americans, we are guaranteed freedom of religion by the First Amendment to the Constitution. This means the United States government is not in the business of establishing a state religion nor is it in the business of establishing a religious test for persons running for elected office. The founders held religious freedom near and dear to their hearts. They left countries where a state religion was central to the government and where they were persecuted for practicing a different religion. They wished to be free to worship as they pleased.

Our Democratic values align with our Christian values. When we look at the instructions Jesus gave His disciples, He said love your neighbor as yourself, take care of those in need, visit the prisoners, feed the hungry, etc. In other words, Jesus asked us to continue the work He started in His name. We practice and live this truth today by focusing on sharing the love of God with all in word, act and deed.

What does it mean to love our neighbor? According to the story of the Good Samaritan, it means helping those in need. Our neighbor is not only someone who looks like us or who thinks like us, but simply someone in need. For us, that means people fleeing the violence of Central America or Syria are our neighbors. It is our Christian calling to do what we can to help them.

Loving our neighbor means caring whether he or she is going bankrupt due to healthcare costs. It means caring whether every child attends a good school and learns and has a healthy lunch to eat. It means caring whether working people are paid a living wage or whether they are exploited while others get rich off their backs. It means caring whether our prison system is rooted in systemic racism. It means listening and being responsive to the suffering of those affected by sexual assault.

Democrats use the term “inclusion” to describe these concepts of loving our neighbor.

Paul tells us in Galatians 6:13 that we live by the Spirit: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” As Christians and Democrats, we seek to embody these characteristics. Speaking up for inclusion takes courage in this age of political bullying. Words are used as weapons. Words are used to scare and intimidate. Words are used to create a caricature based on falsehoods.

There are issues confronting our state and nation that are not partisan issues: funding for public schools, addressing local water needs, protecting clean air and water, creating good jobs that pay a living wage, building workforce housing, bringing doctors and hospitals in our rural county, just to name a few. A message of inclusion and loving our neighbor gives us hope that together we can make a difference and build a stronger Texas for all of us.

Barbara Hudson grew up in Johnson City and is a former chair of the Blanco County Democrats. Dawn Capra is the mayor of Johnson City. John Wilson has roots in Texas going back to the Old 300 and is a Navy veteran. Mary Wilson is a pastor who ran for the Democratic nomination for US Congressional District 21.

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