Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Monday on MSNBC that Christians in the Democratic Party don’t often speak out about their faith because they don’t want to be perceived as “Bible thumpers.”
“Part of it,” Coons said, “is a response to the ways in which the far-right weaponized faith in the ’80s and ’90s, and we don’t want to be seen as so-called Bible thumpers.”
After writing a column in The Atlantic, urging Democrats to talk more openly about their religion, Coons argued during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that his fellow progressive politicians have “recoiled” from being more transparent.
While he wants lawmakers to speak more openly about their faith, he said Democrats should campaign “not in a way to say my faith prescribes a specific policy outcome, but in a way to help the American people see their heart and understand why they can and should trust us to help lead again.”
Coons, in his op-ed, explained the lack of religious talk first came to his attention when he was campaigning last year with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and noticed that, at rallies and town hall events, “many faces showed surprise” when he talked about the Ohio senator’s faith.
Eventually, Brown adjusted his stump speech to include a message about his faith, sharing how his political convictions are rooted in his understanding of the Bible. Brown’s supporters, Coons explained, appreciated his comments.
“It reminded me of the famous Christian edict: ‘Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words,’” Coons wrote. “Unfortunately, choosing not to talk much — or even at all — about faith and religion has become common in today’s Democratic Party.”
He went on to make the case that Christians in the Democratic Party should express their faith because to remain quiet “ignores the clear fact that America is still an overwhelmingly religious country, and that the Democratic Party, too, remains a coalition largely made up of people of faith—including tens of millions who identify as deeply religious.”