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.