Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, recently complained to an audience about how conservatives were often swayed by their pastors, making it more difficult for Democrats to make any case for their side.
He’s right about that. If you’re not guided by reason, then reason will never persuade you. If you believe same-sex marriage is wrong because God forbids it, you’re not about to change your mind based on what other people say. It’s why a pastor ranting about abortion will persuade more evangelicals to vote for Republicans even if Democratic policies in favor of comprehensive sex education and free/accessible contraception lower the abortion rates.
So Perez was making a solid point. Democrats have a huge hurdle to overcome if they want to appeal to those voters.
Over the weekend, Pastor Robert Jeffress, one of Donald Trump‘s most vocal white evangelical supporters, made an appearance on FOX News to talk about those remarks. And Jeffress, true to form, claimed Perez’s words were some sort of attack on Christians because Democrats were obviously “godless.”
… [Fake laugh] Look. The most damning concession that the DNC chairman has made is that people who get their information from churches are likely to “shun the Democrat party.” And there’s a reason for that! The Democrat Party is increasingly becoming a godless party! And I mean that literally.
A few years ago, they tried to remove God from their party platform. Millions of Americans saw that. Not only that, they have unbiblical views of sexuality and certainly abortion.
Here is a party that not only allows, but actually celebrates the right to murder 1.4 million children in the womb every year. And good Christian Democrats are having trouble reconciling their faith with the Democrat platform…
Jeffress is impressive in how many lies he manages to pack into one sound bite…
If the Democratic Party is becoming godless, then where are all the atheists in Congress? There’s literally one and Rep. Jared Huffman doesn’t even call himself “atheist.”
Even if Jeffress is simply referring to the party’s current platform, he’s wrong there, too. First, the phrase “God-given potential” appears three times. More to the point, though, just because the platform doesn’t mention God explicitly doesn’t mean it’s affirming godlessness. Jeffress thinks that whenever people aren’t actively praising his god, they are, by default, persecuting him. So the “godless” platform is nothing of the sort. It’s a secular document in that it sticks to policy issues. That’s all. It’s not anti-Christian in any sense of the word.
Did Democrats remove God from the party platform? No. That’s another Christian lie. Here’s what happened: In 2012, a draft version of the party’s platform including a section on the importance of faith. It said “our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith” and that there’s “no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution.” You’d think religious people would be okay with that, but it didn’t include the word “God.” (Even President Obama was upset about that, presumably because it gave conservatives an easy way to trash Democrats in an election year.)
At the party’s convention that year, after the draft platform was released, there was a vote to stick “God” back in the platform (via the phrase “God-given potential”). It passed. It’s still there today. End of story.
So Jeffress is lying, at least in spirit, when he says Democrats removed God from their platform. Faith was always in there (much to the chagrin of atheists). God was only not in there, explicitly, in a draft that was never approved.
Keep that in mind when Jeffress says Democrats “tried to remove God from their party platform.” That’s bullshit.
And it should go without saying that Democrats don’t supporting murdering children in the womb, because children don’t fit in a womb, because children aren’t the same as fetuses. (By the same logic, Jeffress could have said Democrats “support killing pre-teens” and the point would have been identical.) While we’re at it, there are a lot of Christians who support sex positivity, sex education, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights over their own bodies. There’s nothing “unbiblical” about that because you can make the Bible support any position you want.
Even if you go beyond Jeffress’ words, there’s a reason Democrats don’t praise Jesus in their platforms. Instead of offering lip service to faith (like the GOP and Trump always do), they just promote policies that align with Jesus’ values. They want to help the poor, the immigrants, the minorities, etc. And they support church/state separation. Republicans think they’re championing faith when, really, they’re only praising one particular brand of conservative Christianity. It’s not like Republicans have any desire to reach out to the Religious Left.
Not that you would know that from hearing Jeffress.
Tom Perez was right. If this is the kind of garbage people listen to, it’ll be hard to change their minds. Brainwashing takes a lot of time to overcome.