Three Christian Congressmen examine their party’s purpose and direction.
Democrats, still smarting from their near shutout in last year’s presidential election, are reassessing their party’s future. There is widespread talk of the need for change, with few apologists for the status quo. U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) said in a recent speech, “We cannot afford to blame the voters. For the critical question is not what they failed to see, but what we failed to show.”
Elected Democratic office holders who also are evangelical Christians have a particular set of concerns they hope to communicate to the party leadership. Three of those office holders agreed to talk with CHRISTIANITY TODAY about how their faith influences their approach to politics.
Congressmen Don Bonker, Tony Hall, and Bill Nelson represent Washington State, Ohio, and Florida respectively. They span a wide range of political opinion, from Nelson’s southern conservatism on defense issues to Hall’s advocacy on behalf of the hungry to Bonker’s liberal outlook on human rights abroad and environmental issues.
Bonker, elected in 1974, chairs a Democratic task force on trade, a bipartisan study group on exports, and a subcommittee on international economic policy. He breaks ranks with traditional liberals on economic matters, noting that welfare programs provide only marginal help.
Hall is from a district encompassing southwest Ohio. He has emphasized human rights abroad and care for the poor at home during his four terms in Congress. Frustrated that a total of eight standing committees have jurisdiction over hunger issues, he fought successfully for the establishment of a select committee on hunger in the House of Representatives.
Nelson represents the Florida district ...1
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