A workshop at last week’s Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly previewed an upcoming Baptist Center for Ethics DVD challenging the notion that GOP stands for “God’s Only Party.”
“Golden Rule Politics” features politicians and ministers from three states answering the question, “What is the rightful role of faith in politics?”
“In order to challenge a prevailing 25-year myth, we have to introduce a new story in our culture,” said Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. “The story is that God isn’t a Republican or a Democrat, and neither party is completely moral or immoral.”
Judy Baker, a Missouri state representative who appears in the documentary, said people on both sides of the aisle didn’t know what to make of the fact that a Baptist minister’s wife who attended seminary would run for office as a Democrat.
“I’ve been a Christian practically all my life,” she said at the screening, “a confessional Baptist Christian deeply rooted in my faith and very well rooted in my Bible.”
“When I was running, first of all Democrats were suspect of me because I was a Baptist, and Republicans were suspect of me because I was a Democrat.”
“What this DVD is about is you can be both of those things, and there is a myth out there you cannot,” she said. “If we equate God with any political party, we will give God a bad name.”
The four politicians interviewed in the DVD all are Democrats. That prompted questions from audience members about a perceived lack of balance. Parham said BCE sought to include one prominent moderate Republican, who declined.
The DVD challenges the Religious Right for focusing narrowly on issues like abortion, stem-cell research and gay marriage while ignoring moral issues like poverty, healthcare, the environment and war.
“We would not be facing this problem today if the myth had been challenged early on, and we need to change that myth to take it out of the public square,” Parham said. “The big Bible addresses a lot of issues and not just two or three issues.”
Another CBF workshop featured a screening of BCE’s 2006 DVD “Always … Therefore: The Church’s Challenge of Global Poverty.”
The film says there is enough food in the world so that nobody has to go hungry, if the world’s wealthy become willing to share with the poor.
Asked about the No. 1 need for Baptist World Aid, featured in the film, Director Paul Montacute said: “My biggest need is help and guidance on how to say no to people.”
“We do not have the funds,” he said. “There have been too many disasters… I know you need clean water, but we can’t help you. That’s a real problem.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.