Nashville, Arkansas with about 6,000 residents has two hometown newspapers, The Nashville News and The Nashville Leader. In the Monday, October 8th edition of the News and the Wednesday, October 10th edition of the Leader the same letter to the editor was published. The letter was written by Bruce Short, Pastor of one of Nashville's many small congregations. I received a call from an older Christian couple who were disturbed after reading Bruce's letter. They encouraged me to write a reply.
After reading and rereading the letter I was disappointed in Bruce's word choice which basically said you can't be a Christian and be a Democrat. This is simply not true. This is not Biblical. Bruce's statements are divisive to the Christian community and are spiritually abusive. When your words or actions tear down another, attack or weaken a person's standing as a Christian to gratify yourself, your position or your beliefs that is spiritual abuse. When extra-biblical rules and standards are linked to one's salvation or standing with God, that is spiritual abuse. The widespread and generally held belief of Christianity according to the Bible is, salvation is in Christ alone. Legalism adds requirements beyond Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus stood against that very same legalism. Today I stand against that legalism.
Below is a copy of my reply sent to the editors of both local papers.
An open letter to Bruce Short,
While I join with you in asking our Christian brothers and sisters to have no affiliation with ungodliness, the understanding of the Democratic Party platform planks you mention aren’t exactly accurate.
In case you were misinformed about the Democratic Party platform,
Advocating for safe sex, is a far cry from “embracing free sex.” Studies have shown a decline in teen pregnancy, from 34.3 per 1,000 nationwide to 6.3 per 1,000 study participants* and abortions, from 19.9 per 1,000 nationwide to 4.4 per 1,000 study participants* due to the availability of birth control.
Should we trust in abstinence only education? One doesn’t have to look too far for the answer. Our neighbor Mississippi has abstinence only education and the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, 55 births per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19 in 2010. Studies published this year by the Guttmacher Institute show teens who received comprehensive sex education, including instruction on birth control, waited longer to have sex and had lower rates of pregnancy. If you truly want to see less premarital relations and fewer teen pregnancies then you must support the Democratic Party platform.
Advocating for a woman’s right to choose is not “embracing murder.” Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are pro-choice are deeply concerned for the well being of the mother as much as an anti-abortion advocate for the unborn child. The problem with pro-life politics is the definition of life is exclusive. Pro-life politics excludes the lives of the mother, those on death row, women children and non-combatants living in countries considered our enemy as well as billions struggling to stay alive faced with disease and a scarcity of food or clean water. Pro-life politics does not consider those in this first-world nation who lack proper healthcare without which life would not be sustainable. In fact, many pro-life politicians have fought vigorously for an elimination of initiatives aimed at reducing infant mortality and early childhood problems, initiatives essential to promote health of the most vulnerable citizens. As a Christian I understand the sanctity of life extends to all life, not just the unborn. If you truly want to see fewer murders then you must support the Democratic Party platform.
My Christianity informs my politics as much as I am capable of making that true. As a Christian my preference is for policy that brings the greatest amount of good to the largest number of people. These policies are found in the Democratic Party.
Howard County Committeeman, Arkansas Democratic Party Faith Caucus
(end of letter)
At every church I was blessed to Pastor I gifted the Elders, Deacons and anyone else in leadership with several books. The first and most important was always, "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen ISBN13: 9780764201370
I gave a copy to Bruce back in 2007. Get yourself a copy. You will be blessed!