Q&A: Rep. Heath Shuler
Why do you think born-again Christians should care about politics?
I wasn't raised as someone who said I was a born-again Christian. I grew up in a Baptist church, and it was more or less, "You're a Christian." There are so many titles and subtitles. I think that's part of what's wrong with politics today. Being a Christian in politics, I think it's important that we stand up for what's right and what we believe. We swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. That's what God would want us to do.
What is the best way to handle abortion politically?
I'm pro-life. We can talk about how we're going to vote and what we're going to do, and so many people are activists. Far too often it's about Democrats and Republicans and their views on that issue. We need to spend more time as Christians being part of the solution to make sure that women know there's someone here for you financially, there's someone here who will support you, and someone telling you they love you.
What legal measures do you support to reduce the number of abortions?
I don't think it's as much about legal measures. Our communities have to do better. Our churches have to do better. I think that's part of growing up in a community like I did. It was a small, very [tightly] knit group, and you knew people in your community and your church whom you could lean on and [who] would help you make these difficult decisions. Everyone wants to talk to us about legislation.
How do you think shared Christian faith aids bipartisanship?
I spoke to a member from the other side of the aisle, and I'm far more conservative than he is on some social issues. But he's a Republican, and I'm a Democrat. The Republican Party did a very good job of crafting and marketing religion within the party. ...