As keep society in check (Romans 13:1-7). This

As
political tensions between conservative and liberal ideology continue to grow, it
is not uncommon for current or potential members of each side to search for
where the right answer lies. Some simply turn to their own common sense while
others cling to the words of well-known philosophers and politicians. For many
Christian believers, however, it is not enough for a gut feeling nor an
educated member of society to decide the ethics of a nation. These people
believe the best way to select the course of the country is to look to a
greater source of morals and the foundation in which this very nation was built
upon – the Bible. The Bible provides a very distinct set of ethical standards
for the world to follow, but for both Republican and Democratic Parties alike,
the debate concerning which group a Christian should commit themselves to
remains open. Republicans and Democrats fall on the spectrum of being either
Right or Left respectively where Right is Conservative, and Left is Liberal.
For the purposes of this paper, Democrat, Left, and Liberal will be used
synonymously and vice versa.

First and
foremost, while the Bible does not explicitly mention the support for a
conservative nor a liberal position, it does grant government the authority to
enforce the power needed to keep society in check (Romans 13:1-7). This passage
Paul writes explains that God gives power to the rulers he has ordained to
govern His people for our own good, and therefore, we must follow the rules of
our government (Cole, 2012). Thus, as a Christian and a subject to the law, it
is necessary for worldly commandments to align with Biblical ones. Since it is
clear God has designed government for His purpose, the big question now comes
into play: in what way should the government assume its God-given power?

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 Democrats might answer this question through display
of their social programs and their fundamental beliefs regarding the members of
society. Typically, left-minded people believe in higher taxes in order to grow
social programs designed for the lower class. They frequently argue for universal
health insurance, equal marital rights for homosexual couples, and consider
abortion to be the pregnant woman’s choice. While there are many other core
beliefs this Party holds, these are some of the more controversial topics in
today’s society, and highly contested amongst Christian theologians and
politicians.

Their Biblical
argument for welfare programs and healthcare coverage is strong. “Those who
oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor
him” (Proverbs 14:31 NRSV) and “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to
one of the least of these, you did not do it to me” (Matthew 25:45) are just
two of the many popular verses among Democratic politicians. According to The
Left, these verses are proof that God has called us to assist the lower class financially.
Through universal healthcare programs such as ObamaCare and welfare programs
that lift the poor out of poverty, The Left is confident they fulfill their
calling. They are also certain they meet one of the most important commandments
God has laid out for His people – to love ones’ neighbors as themselves (Mark
12:31).

            Equal
marital rights for homosexual couples is another core belief of many Democratic
Party members. While most Christians are seemingly against same-sex marriage,
there are many Liberal Christians who do believe certain interpretations of the
Bible would easily permit a homosexual monogamous relationship. Matthew Vines,
a homosexual evangelical Christian, is an activist for homosexual marriage. He attempts
to closely tie the Christian religion and the acceptance of gay relationships
in his book, God and The Gay Christian:
The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Vines, 2015). “You shall not lie with a male as with
a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). This is a verse habitually
quoted by those Christians against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer,
Transgender movement, also known as the LBGQT movement, and their fight for
equal rights. Yet, as this verse is reread in its context, Leviticus was
written as part of the Old Testament. What Leviticus is describing in this
verse, Democrats would argue, is the patriarchal gender norms that existed
during this time. When Jesus came in the New Testament, it was an invitation to
live under a new covenant and more or less, to ditch the old one. Through this
new covenant, the hierarchy between genders would only then become equal. For many
Liberals, the fact that it is part of the Old Testament at all is enough for
them to dismiss this verse, as well as the book it belongs to altogether. For
instance, it is not common practice for Christians to provide God with
sacrificial offerings as seen all throughout the Old Testament (Leviticus
3:1-17, 4:1-5, 13…) nor does anyone expect them to do so (Vines, 2015).

            Another
verse commonly heard in the argument against same-sex marriage is found in
Romans 1:26 and 1:27. It reads, “For this reason God gave them up to degrading
passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the
same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed
with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and
received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” In defense of
gay marriage, Christian Democrats look further into this verse to understand
the meaning. In this verse, Paul is writing that the men who “committed
shameless acts with men” were driven by lust. Similarly, all romantic
relationships and desires driven by lust are condemned during the course of the
reading of the Bible (Matthew 5:28, 1 John 2:16, Proverbs 6:25). Left-leaning
Christian politicians may argue that this verse in Leviticus is not against
homosexuality as long as the homosexual relationship is built on selfless love
and not uncontrolled sexual desire. Paul uses the world “unnatural” to describe
homosexual relationships. He uses that same word “unnatural” to describe men
with long hair in 1 Corinthians 11:14. Most Christians do not consider men
having long hair to be a sin, however, and instead interpret the word
“unnatural” as another word for “unconventional” (Vines, 2015). Similarly, Paul
is describing homosexual relationships as unconventional rather than sinful in
this passage.

            Democrats
are also typically in favor of abortion, or as they prefer to call it, members
of the pro-choice movement. They argue that the Bible never really states when
life begins (i.e. at conception or at birth). It also never uses the term
“abortion” or describes the killing of a fetus as a sin. Perhaps the most
compelling argument for the religious Left is found in Exodus. In 21:21-23, we
read the following: “And should men quarrel and hit a pregnant woman, and she
miscarries but there is no fatality, he shall surely be punished, when the
woman’s husband makes demands of him, and he shall give restitution according
to the judges’ orders. But if there is a fatality, you shall give a life for
a life…” In certain translations of the Bible, like we see here in the King
James 2000 version, one reads the word “miscarries” or “miscarriage”. In the
English language, this would imply the fetus did not survive the pregnancy – it
died in the mother’s womb. Liberals argue this verse suggests even though the
child died, the man would only be fined. If the mother died during the struggle,
however, the man shall have to give his own life for hers. If the fetus were
truly a human in its mother’s womb, they man would have had to give his own
life for the life he had taken. To Liberals, this is evidence that the Bible is
not against abortion.

Republicans
would respond much differently than any Democrat. The general consensus among
Conservatives is governmental financial assistance should be minimal, homosexual
marriage differs greatly from a heterosexual one, and abortion is unethical. They
take a strong stance for traditional views and do not see value in radical
change as their opponents may.

Conservatives
do not agree with Democrats in regards to their welfare and governmental
assistance programs. Republicans may argue against Liberals like former
President Barack Obama using some of the well-known passages found in Matthew
25. In this chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus talks about taking care of
“the least of these” (25:40, 45). While many people have interpreted
Matthew 25 to be in reference to the poor and the oppressed, this is actually a
common misunderstanding.  When Jesus talks about caring for “the least of
these” he is not talking about the poor in general, but fellow Christians. In
fact, he was specifically talking about his own disciples (Turner, 2006). In
the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), the translation states the phrase “the
least of these”. In other translations of Scripture, such as the New
International Version and the English Standard Version, that phrase is replaced
by “least of my brothers”. In verse 40 of the NRSV, the verse again reads “the
least of these”, and it is a clear reference to his disciples who were
persecuted for their link to Jesus. In translations that use “brothers”, verse
40 along with Matthew 12:50 and 28:10 are the only other places in the Bible
that Jesus uses the term brothers. In all three cases, he is referring to His
followers. While Jesus calls His people to love each individual, he has a
special calling for people to love the fellow Christian (Turner, 2006).

            Right
Party members also look to where the Bible states “Anyone unwilling to work
should not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). It is within this verse that
conservatives argue people who are not working, should not be paid for the work
they are not doing. Therefore, government programs such as welfare are not seen
as fulfilling God’s calling in the eyes of a Republican.

Many
Conservatives would also argue that while Liberals like former President Bill
Clinton and his wife Hilary tend to quote the Bible with regards to their
social programs, they often blatantly disregard it when it comes down to other
issues. In other words, they use the Bible as propaganda when it is convenient.
For example, abortion and gay marriage in a typical Republican’s eyes are biblically
unethical. While more religiously founded Democrats may argue their point
biblically as previously mentioned, many modern day Democrats, even those who
claim they are Christian like the Clintons, require the mention of separation
of church and state as part of their argument regarding both abortion and
marriage equality (Chozick, 2016). To many members of The Right, they feel each
of their ethical ideals could be defended solely on the authority of Scripture
because of the close alignment of the Party’s beliefs, with the Bible’s words.
Most Republicans would argue they are abiding to the authority of Scripture,
which is taught to man in the Word of God, through each core belief (Joshua
1:8, 23:6).

Despite
protests among Liberals, Republicans are almost always against abortion and are
major supporters of pro-life efforts. In regards to the Exodus 20 argument in
support of abortion, Conservatives believe they have it all wrong. Liberals
translate the verse to read “miscarriage”. In most translations, including the
NRSV, the word is replaced by the phrase “gives birth prematurely”. These are
two very different things. Again, to miscarry would mean the baby died during
pregnancy. Giving birth prematurely, however, would mean that the fetus was
born before its 38th week of gestation. In this case, it still has a
chance of survival outside of the mother’s womb. If we read this verse in the
NRSV translation, Exodus 21:22-23 reads, “If people are fighting and hit a
pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury,
the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court
allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life…” In
this translation, the baby’s death is not yet implied. It literally means the
baby came forth, as defined through the original Hebrew words Yeled and Yasa (Koukl, 2013).
However, it does not specify who the “serious injury” is pointing towards in
this translation. The serious, maybe even fatal, injury could be referring to
the mother or the baby. In fact, Republicans argue, the verse in this case,
asserts “a life for a life” in the case of both the mother’s death and the
baby’s death.

Conservatives
look to verses that condemn the idea of homosexuality to defend their views.
While some activists of homosexuality like Vines have found other ways to
interpret the Bible, many Christians believe you should read the verses as is.
Conservatives would argue that while Leviticus is in the Old Testament, that
does not automatically erase its modern day relevance, nor the relevance of the
entire first 39 books of the Bible. If the Old Testament were not important for
man, why would God allow it to stand in His Word? The Right also claims that in
Romans 1:26-27, the verses should be read as they stand, which they see as a
clear condemnation of same-sex relationships (Vines, 2015).

Liberals
also often argue for change over time. For many left-sided men and women, they
believe change is necessary as a nation grows and ages, even if that may mean
straying from traditional thoughts and beliefs. Even the political foundation
within the United States Constitution is questioned amongst Democrats. However,
the Bible is both a book against most forms of change and a book about an
unchanging God (Malachi 3:6). If one believes the Bible is true, and the Bible
says to not add or take away from The Word (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32), and the
Word of the Lord endures forever (1 Peter 1:25), then, Conservatives argue, one
should not object for change.

All in all,
Liberals and Conservatives argue from two very different perspectives. In the eyes
of a religious Democrat, the people of a nation are to provide love and care
for the poor and push for a more open and free social system. Arguing against
gay marriage, abortion, and significant government assistance, Christian
Republicans would respectfully disagree. Both Parties hold strong Biblical
evidence in support of their personal perspectives. While religious leaders,
theologians, and politicians linger on the debate between these political
matters, believers must listen closely to each Party’s assessment of the
authority of Scripture to determine which stance they will ultimately take to
the ballot box.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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