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“How can you be a Democrat? Weren’t you once a minister, and aren’t you a Christian?”
I have heard these questions, especially since I recently became chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party. While I pray with, respect and love many faithful Republicans, I am a Democrat not despite being a Christian, but because I am a Christian.
I’m a Democrat because I believe in Jesus’ golden rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”) instead of the politician’s golden rule (“Those with the gold make the rules”).
I’m a Democrat because John 3:16 teaches: “For God so loved the world…” Not just the powerful or the powerless, not just those who look like us or think like us, but the whole world.
And I’m a Democrat because 1 John 3:16 teaches: “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us — and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”
I’m a Democrat because I believe Americans are family and because of what Americans have done for my family.
I’m a Democrat because when in World War II my father was gravely wounded, programs passed by Democrats saved his life with medical care, and the GI Bill helped that disabled veteran rehabilitate, attend a university and learn a profession.
I’m a Democrat because my father, as a judge, taught me that politicians should not limit people’s access to the courts, citizen juries and justice, but there should be personal responsibility for all and immunity for none.
I’m a Democrat because as the husband of the first female graduates of the Vanderbilt Law and Divinity program and the first female attorney in private practice in our county, I know Democrats created equal access to opportunities for our wives, sisters and daughters.
I’m a Democrat because I know many seniors who survive on Social Security and my mother lived to nearly 96 with health care provided by Medicare, programs created and protected by Democrats.
I’m a Democrat because I believe in the work my engineer brother, nephew and niece have done on Democratic-sponsored research and development projects that help make America the most advanced, strongest and most secure country on Earth.
I’m a Democrat because Dr. Sal Lombardi, a Nashville high-risk pregnancy specialist, saved our twin sons with expertise gained from teachers, schools, and hospitals, all made possible by Democratic-created programs.
I’m a Democrat because I believe in the work my sister did as a special-education teacher with children she helped become taxpayers instead of tax-takers.
I’m a Democrat because Jesus taught in Matthew 25 that nations will be judged by how we treat “the least of these.”
I’m a Democrat because the Hebrew laws, the eighth-century prophets, Jesus’ teachings and the Apostles’ preaching all require us to seek justice, do mercy and love our neighbors.
In a time when we’ve gone from common sense to nonsense, it’s past time we returned to values America has held dear. In our American family, we have many faiths, but our shared values and my own tradition led me to the Tennessee Democratic Party.
I hope you will join us.
Roy Herron is chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, an attorney and former state senator.