Howard Dean has received a great deal of unfair criticism for calling the Republicans a “pretty much white Christian party.” Dean was actually far to mild in his comments and his description of the Republican Party in regards to their narrow demographic and ideological base.

Personally, this writer does disagree with Dean on only one aspect of his comment. The Republicans calling themselves Christian are promoting an essentially anti-Christian agenda. While these so-called “Christian Right” political leaders claim to speak for the Christians of America, I think they are actually speaking only for a small minority of Christians who are placing Bush Republicanism above the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I am a Southern, white Christian male. I am a fairly conservative Democrat. I completely oppose the entire Republican agenda because my Christian faith and values are deeply offended by the greed and intolerance of Bush Republicanism. These values and the Christian theology behind them were explored in my column “Faith in Politics” written back in October of 2001 (see ).

Dean should not give the Republicans the benefit of exclusive use of the Christian label for an essentially anti-Christian political message. Real Christians love the poor and look down on anyone with a political agenda designed to benefit the wealthiest of the wealthy. The invasion of Iraq based on lying to the voters and deceiving our elected lawmakers is hardly the behavior of good Christians. A brief look at the Downing Street memo shows that Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had already started a war with Iraq while the UN’s Weapons of Mass Destruction inspectors were still in Iraq and long before Congress voted to give Bush the legal power to launch his unwise military adventure. Are these the behaviors of good Christians?

The politicization of the Christian church has benefited the Republican Party instead of the Christian church. It is an insult to many real Christians to call the attack on the Separation of Church and State a pro-Christian political agenda. Our Founding Fathers advocated this measure almost universally to protect both the government and our Churches. Politics and money are corrupting many churches especially those led by so-called “Christian Right” preachers.

I urge all Democrats to challenge the Republican claim on the Christian label at every opportunity. I urge all Christians to challenge all their church leaders who seek to promote a partisan political agenda. I want to add my sincere admonishment to all Christians to look for passages in the Bible about helping the poor and not judging others faith or behavior in religious terms. Ask yourself if the Republican agenda financially benefits the poor and helpless versus the rich and powerful before you make the political choices. I think we need to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”

Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio ). Mail: 7A Planville Drive, Fayetteville, TN 37334.