Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Kate L.

I am Kate L. I am a (not-yet-ordained) minister of the United Church of Christ. I am also a liberal Democrat, and an American. Raised in a non-religious household, I came to faith freely and uncoerced through the urging on the Holy Spirit. The Jesus I fell in love with in the gospels is a Lord who invites. He never forces. He offers us God, and he offers us himself. He makes no deals with the powers and principalities:

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'" (Matthew 4.8-10)


Christian freedom and American freedom are not so different. Both call on us to work together in community. Both ask us to treat others with respect. Both emphasize freedom of conscience. Both ask us to act for the greater good, not merely our own self-interest. Both ask us to take time to discern what is true and good, rather than what confirms our own prejudices. Both ask us to include our opponents in the conversation, so that all have a voice and no one is unfairly silenced. Both stand against the harmful exercise of power.

I believe that I walk in Christ's spirit when I live my Christian beliefs rather than battering others with my particular brand of Christianity. I show solidarity with Jesus when I refuse to use power against others to have my own way. I obey him when I extend his hospitality to all kinds of people, even those who see the world very differently from me. To the extent that graces helps me do any of these things, however imperfectly, I believe it is helping me to be a pretty good citizen, too. I pray that Christians not continue to place stumbling blocks on the path to Jesus by our outrageous words and deeds. I pray we pause and consider whether we are bringing disgrace on the name of Jesus and driving good people away. I pray...


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Eileen

My name is Eileen and I live in Sterling, Virginia. I have been a Democrat since 1990. I am a Progressive...and I am a religious Jew.

I categorically reject claims made by some that Progressives are against people of faith. I am a Progressive because of my Jewish faith.

Judaism teaches me that we were all created in the image of God. Therefore, in faith, I work toward a world of respect and love for all, regardless of differences in faith, ideology, race, class, gender, age, abilities, or sexual orientation. Judaism teaches me to work for peace, as well as for the sustenance of the planet. Judaism also teaches me not to use God for my own ends, but rather to pray for God to use me for His.

When Bill Frist and the Family Research Council talk about people of faith, he isn't talking about me or my six million Jewish-American brothers and sisters. They aren't talking about the 10 million American Muslims, the 1.1 million American Hindus, two million American Buddhists, or even the tens of millions of Christian Americans who consider themselves politically progressive, liberal or moderate.

Because to Bill Frist and the Family Research Council, these people are not "People of Faith." The only true "people of Faith" in their eyes are Fundamentalist Christians who align themselves politically with the right-wing of the Republican Party.

Bill Frist and the Family Research Council do not speak for me. And I will not be silent while they pervert faith for their own political ends. I will not be silent while they take the Lord's name in vain.

Millions of Americans of Faith oppose the appointment of radical right-wing judges who seek to impose their religious will on the rest of us. And they oppose the overturning of longstanding Senate tradition in order to appoint those judges. They reject the selfishness, arrogance, and cruelty of the right-wing of the Republican party that ignores the poor, perpetuates hatred and division, contributes to the destruction of our environment, and wages immoral wars overseas.

Millions of Americans of Faith envision an America of tolerance, and peace, an America that uplifts the poor and defends the downtrodden and outcast among us, an America that lives in harmony with other nations and with our planet.

Millions of Americans of Faith are Democrats, Independents and moderate Republicans. And millions of Americans of Faith are Progressives.

I am Jewish. I love the Lord my God "with all my heart, with, all my soul, and with all my might," in the words of my forbearers.

And I am a Progressive.

And I will not be silent.


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Patricia P.

My name is Patricia Puzzo and I'm a Christian who attends church
regularly and tries to live my life according to Jesus's teachings. I'm
currently a registered Democrat and my political leanings are to the
left, but I've been belonged to other political parties in the past. I
love Jesus and believe if everyone followed his path, the world would be
an incredible place filled with love and charity and devoid of wars and
hatred. But I also believe that Christianity isn't the only way to be
loving and charitable towards others. There are so many wonderful things
we can learn from all religions and spiritual paths, most of which are
far older than Christianity and from which Christianity has taken a
great deal.

I have many wonderful friends of various spiritual beliefs. Among them
are Christians, Jews, Wiccans, Pagans, Buddhists, Humanists, and people
who practice a mix of beliefs or none at all. And yet, each are caring,
loving, generous people who wouldn't hesitate to help me in times of
need as I would help them. I love all my friends dearly and respect
their spiritual decisions, as they are the only ones qualified to choose
the spiritual path that is best for them.

It's with deep sadness and anger that I hear and read the inflammatory
rhetoric of the fundamentalist Christian right that Democrats, and
actually anyone whose beliefs differ from those of the fundamentalists,
are anti-Christian. How dare they say such a thing! We Dems are in no
way, shape, or form anti-Christian. We *are*, however, firmly against
shoving our religion down other people's throats and trying to make our
country over into a Christian theocracy. This country was not founded on
any particular religion, but rather on religious freedom for all. One
need only read the Declaration of Independence and Constitution to see
there is no mention of Jesus Christ anywhere, and even God is referred
to by several ambiguous terms that could apply to many religions. This
country has always been, and must remain, a place of religious freedom
for all as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

My moral values tell me that every person in the world has worth and
that I should treat others with tolerance and respect, and that includes
not making a judgment about their beliefs, forcing my beliefs on them,
or discriminating against them because they don't believe the way I do.
However, the religious right obviously disagrees, and to them I simply
say, "Don't call yourselves Christians when you aren't willing to act
with true Christian intent." The God I was brought up believing in loves
every living thing, and we owe it to God to do the same.


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