Have you ever wondered how the philosophy and proponents of some other political party could ever be viewed as truly Christian? The topic of this UCC Forum concerns how Christian values are reflected within four political parties.
Christian representatives of the Democratic, Green, Libertarian, and Republican parties (listed in alphabetical order) explained how their parties are consistent with Christian values. Their presentations offered new perspectives on their differing political philosophies.
- Geronimo Rodriguez went from picking fruit as a migrant farm worker to helping select President Bill Clinton's cabinet as member of the White House staff. He is an attorney; he has served in the US Dept. of Labor, the Texas Attorney General's office, and in several national and state election campaigns, including as one of Al Gore's 5 national political directors in 2000, Clinton's Texas field director in 1992 and deputy statewide director (Arizona) in 1996. He grew up Catholic and now works for a faith based health care system.
- Dr. Charles Wukasch received his Ph.D. and prior degrees from UT Austin and has taught English at numerous universities, both here and abroad. For the past twenty years, he has taught at the Austin Community College. Dr. Wukasch is a member of both the Lutheran and Episcopal churches. About two years ago he joined the Green Party. He was recently elected as Chair of the Travis County Green Party.
- Rev. Adam Groza is a doctoral candidate in philosophy and has served as an adjunct professor of philosophy at Tarleton State University. His editorials on faith and culture have been published in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram and Crux Magazine. He is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a contributing writer to www.colossiansthreesixteen.com. Adam is the recipient of several research grants and has presented papers at the Evangelical Theological Society, the Society of Christian Apologists, and the Conference on Christian Faith and Culture. He pastored a church in Texas and led a college ministry at Los Angeles Pierce College. He is married to Holly and they have two small children.
- T. Getterman is Treasurer of the Travis County Republican Party and past Treasuer in Williamson County. He worked for Phil Gramm for 16 years and is now CFO for Supercuts multi-state area. He is a lay leader at Grace Covenant Bible Church, teaches biblical studes at International Christian Church, and has been active in Campus Crusade for Christ. He has been Vice Chair of the Better Business Bureau and Past President of Young Men's Business League among many community responsibilities he has taken on.
- Charles Kutz-Marks, Sr. Minister of University Christian Church, Austin
- Gaye Lynn Scott , Dean of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Austin Community College
DIALOGUE WITH CIVILITY
"Dialogue is a conversation on a common subject between two or more persons with differing views, the primary purpose of which is for each participant to learn from the other..."
( Dr. Leonard Swidler, Dialogue Decalogue)
"Civility has two parts: generosity, even when it is costly, and trust, even when there is risk."
(Stephen Carter, Civility)
We believe "Dialogue with Civility" should form the guideposts for our UCC Forums, as exemplified in the above quotations. The primary purpose of these dialogues is to promote understanding between the presenters and the audience. For this to occur, a safe and respectful atmosphere must exist.
Participants have a right to, and a responsibility for, their own feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. At the same time, each participant is asked to listen carefully to the other, trying first and always to understand. Balanced, respectful dialogue is the key ingredient. Respect for the opinions of others leads to greater tolerance of those opinions that differ from one's own.