A state representative and civil rights activist has been ousted from the Democrat Party.
His political sin? Refusing to compromise his religious beliefs.
“It is a Biblical stand,” the ordained minister said. “It is a moral stand. It is an ethical stand.”
Rep. John DeBerry, who integrated an all-white school in the 1960s and witnessed Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech in 1968, has represented Tennessee’s 90th district in Memphis since 1994.
But the pro-life state representative was removed from the 2020 Democrat ballot because the party claims his Christian faith no longer represents “the values of the Democrat Party.”
DeBerry, who’s now running as an independent, supported the state’s fetal heartbeat bill, which would ban abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat – typically found around six to eight weeks.
DeBerry, the pastor of the Coleman Avenue Church of Christ in Memphis for the past 20 years, is not backing down from his stance. He says his work as a state legislator is “nothing more than an extension of my work as a child of God, as a Christian.”
DeBerry, who also supports traditional marriage, justifies his conflict with the Democrat Party with Ephesians 6:12.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
“People are not the enemy,” he told the Catholic News Agency. “There are those who make laws that are blasphemous of God’s law.
“I have always made my focus staying in accordance to the laws of God, even when my votes are made.”
DeBerry’s stance is becoming more common among Democrats.
A 2019 national Gallup poll found that nearly 30 percent of Democrat voters and 44 percent of independent voters are pro-life.
And DeBerry is far from the only Democrat politician urging the Democrat Party to rethink its stance on the controversial issue.
Democrats for Life of America, a growing pro-life organization, urged the Democrat Party and the Joe Biden campaign to alter its position to retain more pro-life voters.
The organization placed a notice in the New York Times highlighting its main concerns, which included extreme abortion policies like late-term abortions, pro-life Democrats switching parties, and a betrayal of Democrat Party values.
The letter was endorsed by more than 100 current and former Democrat politicians, including four governors and lieutenant governors, nine members of congress, 56 state legislators and 32 local officials.
“Never before in history have so many Democrat politicians challenged their own party on abortion,” Democrats for Life of America executive director Kristen Day said.
“The Democrat Party is at a breaking point. State legislators realize that taxpayer-funded abortion on demand is a losing issue.”
“If we really care about defeating Trump in November, we have to bring our position in line with mainstream America.”
Many pro-lifers — conservatives and Democrats — are calling the Biden-Harris campaign the “most pro-abortion presidential ticket in history.”
Kamala Harris supports taxpayer-funded abortions, abortion on demand, and co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, which has been referred to as “the most extreme pro-abortion federal legislation ever introduced.”
Day, who has previously expressed concern about Harris’ abortion views, says Democrats lost the 2016 election because they failed to take moderate and pro-life voters seriously.
“Our party has traditionally been very tolerant and welcoming of diverse views, yet it has pushed away Americans who are with us on many issues but share a strong conviction on abortion,” she said.
DeBerry told the Christian Chronicle that his opposition was not a political stand.
“It’s not about the elephant, it’s not about the donkey. It’s about the Lamb,” he said. “It is a Biblical stand. It is a moral stand. It is an ethical stand.”
But DeBerry was ousted by the Tennessee Democrat Party for choosing God over party politics and social issues.
Like many Democrats, DeBerry fears the DNC’s stance on abortion could play right into the hands of Republicans.
“It’s a shame that they handed all the moral, spiritual, social and conservatives issues on a silver platter over to the Republicans and said we don’t want to have nothing to do with them,” DeBerry told CNA.
“How are you enlarging the tent when you’re throwing people out when they don’t walk the chalk line, when they don’t do exactly as they are told?”
“That’s where the Democrats are right now.”