Monday, August 17, 2015

Giving Offense…or Taking It

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me or reads my blog and Facebook posts that I have strongly progressive leanings. What I don’t talk about much is that my politics are mixed with my faith—in some ways it all comes down to two simple tenets for me: Jesus told us we are our brother’s keeper, and “of all of these, love is the greatest.” (I’m not a Biblical scholar enough to quote chapter and verse, but I am a fairly devout Christian.)

Something has been bothering me for a while: how can these Christians, who loudly proclaim they follow the Bible, also follow the current conservative philosophies. Mike Huckabee thinks it was right to for a ten-year-old incest victim to carry her baby to term. Pro-Life people rail against the murder of abortion but don’t seem to give a fig about the health, nutrition, welfare or soul of that baby once it gets here. Congress votes to cut veteran benefits—after we’ve sent those men and women to fight wars that maybe we shouldn’t even be involved in. Conservatives rail against social security—which gives the elderly a guaranteed small amount of money and is money they paid in, not an entitlement. Many of the conservative presidential candidates sound as though all our budget problems would be solved if we cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Thus condemning many older Americans to poverty, illness, and early death. Truthfully, I don’t see how you reconcile these beliefs and others with the teachings of Christ.

When I found an essay on KOS Daily (admittedly a left-wing web site) explaining why you can’t be both a Christian and a Republican, I shared it. It didn’t exactly say things the way I would have said them, and it did cherry-pick Biblical quotes (Republicans never do that!) but it hit so close to home I shared it.

A friend, someone I’d tried hard to help through a difficult time, wrote that she was deeply offended. Being ever the peacemaker, caretaker, nurturer, and so on, I wrote back apologizing, saying I’d hoped one other specific friend would read it, I meant no offense, blather, blather blather. And then I thought: where’s your backbone? Your spine? Facebook is a place where I say what I believe, and I did that. I won’t recant my beliefs or soft-pedal them; I will willingly engage in intelligent discussions of our differences, but when it gets to the level of personal offense, I’m ashamed of myself for caving.

So there you have it. I am who I am, and I am fairly fervent about my beliefs and will continue to speak out. I think it’s important for the future of our country, which sometimes scares the life out of me. If I can get one person to think about our current political structure and their faith, I have nudged a mountain. I hope I haven’t lost a friend.



Kandice Cox said...

It has been plainly put to my attention that Facebook is a place where one should and can stand firmly on their principles. And lest I be seen as spineless Judy Alter​ (though I had striven to be respectful) I think I am allowed to stand on MY principles. I do not know how wealthy elitist elders can be so foolish as to bury their heads shoulder deep in the buttocks of the democratic bleeding heart assembly quivering with a razor shank to cut out all that is good and holy in humanity. How appalling that these elders who teach education and knowledge fail to be experts in the faith that they dribble from their emotion thickened tongues. Blah, blah, blah. And worse still... to think that one took such a heart wrenching situation only to build an ego on "helping"... Give a man a fish Judy... not a year's worth of social aid and handouts. To paraphrase Francois Guizot, Grow up already!

Vicki Lane said...

Well said, Judy. I agreed with the Kos article too. I continue to be amazed at the so-called Christians who have so little care for 'the least of these,' who most obviously do not love their brothers as themselves, whose 'Christianity' seems to focus on imposing their narrow and sometimes hateful 'morality' on the world.

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Vicki. You put into words the essence of what I was trying to say.

Norma Huss said...

This is a thoughtful piece. I'm not very religious, so I'm not constrained by that. It might help you to remember that there are probably more types of Christianity than there are types of Islam, and look at how they fight against each other. (I can't fathom that, myself.) I'm personally of the "live and let live" type, and to me, that would seem to be a basic Christian belief as well. But, I guess we could look into history and remember the Irish/English battles between Catholics and Protestants. I even read that they have problems in Israel between different sects. Sometimes I wish everyone would get instant amnesia and forget their religious past and get along.

Kandice Cox said...

Nicely said Norma. All I truly want is religion, mine or anyone's, left out of politics.

Judy Alter said...

I wish for religion and politics to be separate too, Norma and Kandice, but it isn't happening today with right wing conservatives who wish to make everyone conform to their brand of Christianity, which is filled with hate for everything they don't agree with. I wish Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, whoever, to worship in peace as they please and not be dictated to by militant Christians like Mike Huckabee and others.