Friday, October 27, 2006

Religious Left

There are two things I'm getting tired of from the Christian left in this country. No, they are not abortion and gay marriage. But the first is that every time a blogger or columnist editorializes their statements about conservative Christians, they whittle the position down to abortion and gay marriage. They're going for the "if I hear it enough, it must be true" response from their readers. If they tell everyone that the only thing that matters to a conservative Christian is abortion and gay marriage, no one else will see that we care about other things.

Here's how the conversation might go...

Connie: I think that school vouchers is a great idea. If we can work out a way to bus the low-income kids to the better schools of their choice, then that would start to eliminate the education gap in this country.

Libby: No, you can't do that, because only the rich kids would be able to go to the good schools, and the poor schools would get worse.

Connie: That's what the bus system would be for...the poor kids.

Libby: But buses put undue strain on kids and their families, the poor kids will suffer.

C: They already suffer. The education will help them escape that suffering.

L: You don't care about poor people's well-being, you just want this because it'll allow you to vote for someone who's against abortion and gay marriage.

C: That's not true.

L: It is! That's all you conservative Christians care about. You always bring it up!

C: brought it up.

L: Whatever. If you could get past that, we might actually accomplish some things.

And on and on it goes. Of course, they never mention the fact that they could be the ones to ignore it. Because what happens is, liberals push for it conservatives object, they the liberals say we're holding up real progress because of things that don't matter. Well, if they don't matter, stop pushing for them!!!!! If you stop pushing, we can stop pushing back. But people won't abandon their principles, on either side. Perhaps if the left pushed a social/humanitarian agenda that didn't include abortion or same-sex marriage, the right would jump on board. I would. I'm all for helping poor people. But if you say we can't have the coffee without the cream, then I'll have tea.

The other thing that I'm fed up with is this idea that the Religious Right has hijacked the faith for a political end, but the left hasn't. A quote from Jim Wallis:
Greg shared his cynicism about politics in general and his dislike of how some on the Religious Right have made politics a divisive issue in churches. He recently wrote an op-ed piece in the Minneapolis StarTribune titled “My church has been hijacked by politics.” But he doesn't want to see the same thing on the Left either, and I agreed.
That's preposterous the left has been just as hijacked as the right. I've sat in a lot of conservative church services--revivals, youth rallies, Sunday morning, evening, Bible studies, different denominations--I have never heard a political sermon. Not once. I know it happens in various places, but I've never been present. But 6 months after I started working at a liberal church, I had heard more politics from the altar than I thought I would in my life. When I see reverends out pushing a political agenda, I don't just see Falwell and Robertson and Dobson, I also see Jackson, and Sharpton, and Hanson. The Episcopal Church is facing major issues because the left-wing of their church is pushing a new agenda that the right wants no part of.

And let's not forget that little tidbit. The agenda of the left is the new thing. If you're not satisfied with the way things are, you're welcomed to call for change, but don't get mad at those who are satisfied when the object. The left continues to suggest that the right is pushing an agenda, but the right is mostly standing firm in the existing one, while the left pushes new stuff(the aforementioned school vouchers program excluded).

I wish all these people (like Wallis) who claim to want to separate the church from politics would actually do it. You're a reverend for crying out loud. Stop doing political blogs and speeches and forums and what not where all you do is blast the Christians on the other side of the aisle because they don't agree with you and start preaching the Gospel of Christ.

Don't just preach it for the poor, but for the rich as well...and not just for the liberal, but the conservative also. Wallis was wrong to say "that any gospel that wasn't good news to the poor simply wasn't the gospel of Jesus Christ." The truth is that any gospel that isn't good news to all people is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ."


At 10:52 AM, Blogger Michael Bindner said...

Don't forget stem cell research and birth control. (LOL)

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Elmo said...

Seriously? That's all you have to offer? Okay. Adult stem cell research works, and so does birth control. Go forth and multiply, if you please.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Matt W. said...

To my knowledge, Wallis never claimed to have wanted to "separate church from politics." He doesn't want the church to be captured by one political party (and I have spoken to him personally about this and gotten very convincing answers -- ask me if you are interested), but by no means does he want the church to disengage politically. He believes the opposite: prophetic Christianity demands engagement (but not marriage to) politics and the Bible mandates a certain kind of engagement to certain ends. That's his position.

I hope that clears up any misunderstanding.

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Elmo said...

I guess I was overstating for rhetorical purpose. I understand that what Wallis claims he is pursuing is for the church to be involved in politics without being consumed by it. I agree with that statement, I just don't think he's actually doing it.

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Matt W. said...

Fair enough.


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