Liberalism is God?

“I’m Just Saying…”

 Conservative religious leader Gary Bauer has said: “For those that do not have a religion, liberalism usually becomes their religion.”

 Many of you might find this hard to believe – but I agree with Bauer on this observation. 

 My only problem is that he’s too narrow in his application.  Couldn’t this observation be made about any political ideology?

 Are there not many conservatives whose ideology has become their religion?  Oh, sure, they talk about GOD – but for many (certainly not all) they are speaking of a generic nationalistic deity who is a far cry from the biblical picture of God. In essence, they have a deistic mass-head for their political ideology. Conservatism becomes their God. 

 And (whether Bauer agrees or not) many people on the political left based their beliefs on their Christian convictions.  They heed the biblical call to feed the hungry, working against injustice, confronting racism. Liberalism is not their god, but an outgrowth of their sense of biblical conviction.

 I said this recently to a friend, who gave me the litany list of things suppose wrong with liberalism.  You know the trite stuff often said about the left – no respect for human life and devoid of personal responsibility. 

 Really?  I guess I could pull out the stereotypes about conservatives.  “They are all racists, hateful, sexist bigots?”  The problem is that the stereotypes for both the left or the right are often not accurate.  

For example – I am pro-life.  Consistently so – not just for those in the womb, but also babies after they are born, elderly when they approach the end of life, refugees caught in the cross-fire of wars, children suffering under oppressive regimes.  I also know conservatives who are racially inclusive and value the full contribution of women in church and society. 

 The stereotypes just don’t fit most of the time.

Personal responsibility is important. Liberals Christians understand this.

 That said, many Christians (on both side of the political spectrum in the US) understand that the biblical commands toward justice demands us to care for the poor, the needy, the suffering, the hurting, the elderly, the disadvantaged, those who are unable to take full responsibility for themselves?

 Do people work the system?  Sure – some of them are working the social welfare system.  In my opinion there are not as many as those on the right would have us believe, but they are there.

 That said, there are others who work the system from the right, aren’t there?

 Like the fat cats on Wall Street who took advantage of deregulation to crash the banking system, sending us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

 Like the owners of BP Oil who took advantage of deregulation to avoid proper attention to safety measures resulting in the destruction of a good bit of the echo-system and livelihood along the gulf.

 Like the egg producers who took advantage of deregulation and sent out a half-billion deadly eggs.

 Personal responsibility is needed across the boards – from the coporate boardroom, to the homeless shelter, to the talk show host, and those running for political office. 

 In the scripture sin has a multitude of impacts.  Personal sins harm the individual.  But sometimes sins also hurt others.  When the sin involves the examples cited above, the impact is widespread.  The Bible refers to that as injustice and commands us to correct those inequities. 

 Oh, and the biblical commands that injustice be addressed and the needy cared for ARE NOT issues about personal charity alone, as some might suggest.  In the Bible these commands were addressed to the nation of Israel. God commanded justice INTO their political/social structure.

 Yes, most liberals accept the need for personal responsibility – but they also advocate for social justice.  So do many conservatives!

When a conservative advocates for an end to abortion, for example, they are defending the rights of innocents who are suffering the injustice of being put to death.  For them this is a SOCIAL JUSTICE issue. 

 The problems with all of this is when we start getting specific.  A generic god is a novelty enjoyed by many on the political left and right.  When both sides stop talking at and about one another, however, a strange thing often happens.  The stereotypes are set aside and the words of Jesus are taken up.  Common ground is often found and the world is transformed by the Gospel.

 This happens because the focus ceases to be the ideology.  Instead it becomes Jesus.  Not the generic Jesus of political pendants who take God’s name in vain towards a sectarian political aim, but the real Jesus – the LORD Jesus.

“I’m Just Saying…”

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