I am a Democrat and proud of it. I am proud to be a member of the party that brought us out of the Great Depression of the 1930s, that brought us to victory in World War II and more recently paid down a huge national debt, balanced the federal budget and helped get interest rates down to the level that thousands of young and low-income Americans could afford to own a home that 20 years ago they could only have dreamed of.

But as a Democrat I am deeply incensed by statements that I have heard and read in the press: “There is no way a person can be a Democrat and be a Christian.”
Well, how dare you judge me! I am disappointed that those with whom I associate every day, do business with and even go to church with will stand on the street corner, or sit in their pews, and thump their chests and thank God that they are not a sinner like I am.

I am also a Southern Baptist and until recent years very proud of it. But today the leadership of my church–along with the leadership of some other prominent Christian denominations and now the state and federal government leadership–have taken it upon themselves to try to legislate morals and condemn as ungodly any who disagree with them.

We cannot expect the government to force moral conduct upon the citizens just because the churches have failed in their responsibility to teach and preach morality. Jesus Christ condemned the Pharisees for having double standards, yet the Moral Majority of today makes those Pharisees look like saints.

This Moral Majority and those who support them wring their hands over a few thousand homosexuals who are pushing to be allowed to marry, cry that the institution of marriage is being jeopardized, call for a federal law banning such marriages and condemn Democrats and now the Democratic candidates for president and vice president for not supporting such a law.
All of us who believe the Bible believe the homosexual lifestyle is perverse to God’s teachings, but it is not unconstitutional. The great threat to the institution of marriage is the more than 50 percent of the marriages resulting in divorce, a majority of which are in the so-called Bible Belt, leaving thousands of children in single-parent homes; or the vast number of couples living together and raising children without being married; or the rich and famous role models who marry and divorce almost on a weekly basis.

We don’t hear these things condemned from the pulpit or the political stump. Double standard?
This country has divided over the issue of abortion. Almost everyone in America agrees that abortion is wrong but disagrees over how to deal with it. The Moral Majority and their supporters would take away even the right of the woman and her doctor to decide what is best for her and her fetus but never give a thought to the plight of that child that is born to an unfit mother or into an abusive home.

They put the “welfare” stigma on a mother seeking government assistance and refuse to adequately fund the agencies responsible for the welfare of the children. Yet Democrats and now the Democratic candidates are branded “baby killers” for not supporting their legislation and “tax and spend” liberals for spending federal money on these children. Double standard?
We have all decried the ban on prayer in school, but the Moral Majority has branded as wild-eyed liberals those judges who have upheld the Constitution and as godless the Democrats who support these rulings. Yet when you ask them if they want school prayer to Allah or Buddha or some other god the answer is always the same, “No, we want Christian prayer in school.”
Why don’t they go win these people to Christ instead of trying to legislate them out of existence? Double standard?

This country is in a moral crisis, of that there is no doubt, but don’t lay it at my feet as a Democrat or the Democratic candidates running for office. Judge them by who they are and what their platform is, but don’t brand them “baby killers,” “ungodly” or “immoral” because they run as a Democrat.

Until the Republicans and those who support them clean up their own party, how can they condemn the opposition? Double standard!

James Belk is chairman of the Hale County Democratic Party and a deacon at First Baptist Church in Edmonson, Texas. This column appeared Oct. 11 in the Plainview Herald and is used here with permission.

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