By Tom Holmes
Is God a Republican or Democrat?
We could, of course, go on endlessly trying to answer that question, but I'd like to focus on the rugged individual vs. it takes a village.
Seems to me that the Republicans at their convention extolled the virtues of the rugged individual. They emphasized freedom over justice. They attacked big government and government regulation as hobbling entrepreneurs and their ability to create new businesses and therefore jobs.
In contrast, the Democrats seemed to emphasize that we're all in this together. They extolled the virtues of cooperation over going it alone.
So, which side is God on?
As I read the Bible, it seems to at times lean toward individualism and at other times toward cooperation. Regarding individualism, it was David the teenager who stood up to Goliath alone with his slingshot. It was Elijah who stood alone against the prophets of Baal. It was Paul who declared, "Don't be conformed to this world." And, of course, Jesus stood alone against Pontius Pilate and the hostile crowd.
Then again, the Book of Acts tells how after Pentecost Christians shared everything they had in common. Paul, likewise, uses the image of the Body of Christ to emphasize that we are all connected with each person meant to benefit the whole. Unlike in Buddhism in which each individual has to attain enlightenment on their own, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob saved a people, not a person from slavery in Egypt. Jesus gathered a group of disciples to follow him.
So, which is it?
It is, of course, both.
Henri Nouwen wrote that those who can't be alone in solitude don't have the inner resources to be good partners in a group, and those who don't have the love and support of a group can't handle being alone.
Republicans and Democrats each have a valuable perspective on the issue. I just wish they'd talk and listen to each other.