Liberal or Christian, But Not Both (Dec 2006)

I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m (gasp) a liberal. I was born that way and have always had a liberal agenda. I don’t see anything good in the conservative agenda and will fight it every step of the way. Here’s the problem: I’m also a Christian. Yikes! I know there are people out there who would say that you can’t be both, but I would argue differently. I would say that Conservatives are distorting Jesus’ message by focusing on issues like abortion and homosexuality, while ignoring human rights, stewardship of our planet, etc. [Incidentally, much worse versions of abortion and homosexuality were occuring in Jesus’ time, but He never mentions them, instead focusing on meeting the needs of those who were suffering.] Don’t misunderstand me, the liberals miss the boat, too, in that they ignore people of faith all together. There is no place in this world that is completely comfortable for a person like me who is a person of faith and social justice. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I wouldn’t want to be completely comfortable in this world. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be.

Here’s what prompted me to write about this. I was reading a review of the documentary “Jesus Camp.” It’s about a fundamentalist Christian camp where preteens go and absorb Christian doctrine along with conservative political propaganda. Now when people review this movie they take one of two stances: 1. they talk about how sad it is that the children are being brainwashed and say it’s a great eye-opening movie, or 2. they start bad-mouthing liberals and talk about how the world needs more Christian values. The non-Christians are compassionate, while the Christians are spewing hate at homosexuals and liberals. It actually hurts me when people act like that on several levels. First, I’m a liberal and when they bad-mouth liberals they are talking about me. They assume that all liberals are god-hating, Christian-hating atheists. I don’t attack them, but they bash me into the ground. Second, the people making those statements are the Christians. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Don’t attack the people who do things you agree with, fight against the darkness in this world. By being so hateful they are turning people away from the one thing that can save them from eternal torment and suffering. Jesus loves people. All people. Third, people assume that all Christians are hate-spewing conservatives, which breaks my heart. I think it was DC Talk that said the number one cause of atheism is Christians. We should be turning people on to the everlasting, ever-present love of Jesus, not pushing them further away from eternal salvation.

I think there are a lot of people out there calling themselves Christians who are reading a different Bible from the one I have. Mine tells me to love the Lord my God and love my neighbor as myself. Nowhere in there does it tell me to hijack a political party and turn Jesus into a political platform. And it certainly doesn’t tell me to attack anybody. Fight darkness, don’t spread it.

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