It has always stunned me, how people defend their conservatism while stating that they are strong Christians. That requires clarification; not just strong Christians, but Right Christians, those who understand the truth of Jesus’ message. The American right is probably the most easily recognizable, where the rich somehow manage to make people believe they are delicately balancing the tight rope that is being rich while being godly. I know they get something out of the Bible that I never was able to, and I’ve written about the disagreements of the conservative anti-socialist policies and the Bible that I see at length in the past. That being the case, it was incredibly refreshing when I tripped across this article about the Liberal Jesus. Even as an atheist, I can appreciate the very strong good sentiment going on in this article, and I really wish more people would write about (and believe in) this kind of Jesus…
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but in the northwest hemisphere of our wonderful planet, the voice of the Christian Right is far louder than the voice of their liberal counterbalance. I do a ton of research and reading in regards to Christianity, and occasionally it feels very lonely to be a left-leaning, atheist, socialist blogger when looking at the walls of the great city of the Christian Right. When I see an article that seems to be ripped right from my own thoughts (albeit written much better than I could write it), I tend to latch onto it. I want everyone to read this, I want to hear the counter arguments, I want people to cite passage, chapter, and verse in defense of the Jesus I see, the Jesus I thought I knew when I was still Christian. The Jesus of mercy, the Jesus of forgiveness, the Jesus of giving to the poor.
The article also opened me to a passage in the Bible that I was clearly not familiar enough with. Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6) is… Well, since I have not brought it up myself, but I would have to say that it is largely ignored by the Christian Right. Certainly, it does not fit into their worldview. The passage calls for so many things that stand in stark contrast to the hoarding of wealth by the rich under the rather skimpy costume that is “trickle down economics”. Give without expecting repayment, forgive without expecting forgiveness, do not judge, even those who judge you harshly. Sinners give to each other, expecting favors in return, and what good does it do them? If a good person does good for another, expecting them to be good in return, what good does it do their spirit? So be good to those who are evil to you, and your reward will be greater outside of this world (if you believe in that kind of thing).
Really, the whole point I am trying to make here is that we should be kind and merciful to those who have it the worst. It seems so often to be forgotten, especially in the United States, where “justice” is the highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world (take THAT, Communists!).
I think this article posted to cracked.com is very relevant; no one wants to even help pedophiles overcome their desires because they are … What? So far gone that nothing can save them? Is that your opinion?
No, I think we need to extend more of a hand of mercy, to help them. At least, help the ones who are trying not to succumb to their desires; even I am not one to extend a hand of mercy to a diddler… But just because you are a pedophile doesn’t mean you are a diddler, and I think too many people forget that.
Conservative Christians don’t vote right because of “trickle down economics” they vote right because (whether for political gain or personal gain) conservatives hold much more tightly to long standing biblical doctrine, anti-abortion, and anti gay marriage. These things Christians believe are sinful and are putting the country at risk. Those verses you mention also speak of personal giving and sacrifice, not the government taking so much money that they can’t give any. I’ll add as a Christian that though the conservative mentality is far from perfect and many of its ideals are based in greed it is far…FAR more reasonable and prudent and Biblical than the left.
But there you are suffering the false dichotomy, as though you have to agree with one or the other of the political parties. Certainly, I respect your right to vote with the right, but I don’t think it is as simple as you want it to be.
For example, the left doesn’t just take your money and do with it whatever they want. They support expanding safety nets, assisting the jobless and homeless, taking care of people who need it. The right wants to abolish universal health care, something that I think is supported whole-heartedly by the Biblical narrative; what is better to do on the Sabbath? Not work and allow a person to die? Or break the law, and save a life? (Paraphrasing Luke 6 again)
You support the right due to their stance on abortion, but how is that less a murder than turning away Mexican refugees? (http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/02/us/california-immigrant-transfers) That wasn’t an overtly political statement when it was made, but party lines were drawn. To quote the article, the refugees were fleeing “…poverty, violence and smugglers’ false promises”. Would Jesus have turned them back? Does sending them to countries where they would almost certainly die not count as murder on an equal footing with an abortionist?
You cite Marriage Equality and Pro-Life stances for the Right, as though that should make them the obvious candidate without question. I am afraid that this is a large part of the problem, and has a lot to do with the marketing team on the Right — there is so much more to talk about. Would Jesus have supported handing a $30,000 medical bill for a child delivery for an uninsured parent? Would the crushing poverty of an uninsured cancer patient pass under Jesus’ gaze?
Does telling a patient “Sorry that you can’t pay, but them’s the breaks,” then turning them away to die not count as murder? (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/)
In the above linked article, would those not be somewhat comparable to 45,000 murders? Does the Bible support that?
I am not saying because of this you have to vote Left, or that you shouldn’t vote Right. I am saying this whole issue is far, far more complicated than “Well, the right is far FAR more Biblical,” as you quoted.
I understand your prospective and frankly you raise a lot of good questions. Some of the scenarios that you present as murder, like turning way Mexicans and people without healthcare, are debatable at best. Now, does the Christian Church do all that it should do to help those in need? No, but the statistics I’ve seen (I will see if I can find them) show that they do a whole lot more (in terms of giving) than left wing progressives that vouch for a socialist system. Christian Churches send more aid to impoverished nations than any other religion. Does that say that we conservative Christians do it all right? No, but it does speak to how committed we are to giving. The money for poverty should not be striped from the givers hand and given to a government official to decide if they deserve it. The giver should give. Again, No one ever said that the U.S. should cut off any aid or help to mexico or not help those that need healthcare but Obama care is a financial disaster and is a borderline ploy to gain control over powerful private enterprise. That is probably the jest of why Christians (as a whole) distrust the liberal agenda. Many liberals do want to help people, but many want to use this power to over through capitalism, which is the fabric of what being American is. Working hard, paying your bills, and doing your part is a very biblical Christian notion. That is all the Conservative Christians I know want to do.