The “liberal” label applies to a lot of issues which, to me, Christians should be in favor of.
Every Democratic president gets pummeled by Republicans as “the most liberal president ever.” There is always some supposedly independent organization with a scoring system which tracks voting records on specific issues, and uses that score to determine just how liberal or conservative you are. So President Obama is being decried as the most liberal president ever, as well as the most fascist, socialist, and Islamic president ever.
But there are legitimate and often biblical reasons for Christians to hold views which Republicans blast as godless liberalism. This really vexes me. Because if you hold any views which aren’t endorsed by FoxNews and Rush, you’re labeled a heretical liberal. And I reject that label.
- Do you stick up for the poor, like Jesus did? You’re a liberal.
- Are you concerned about taking care of the environment? You’re a liberal.
- Are you angered about factory farming and other cruelty to animals? You’re a liberal.
- Do you oppose the death penalty? You’re a liberal.
- Do you think religion should be left to parents and kept out of schools? You’re a liberal.
- Are you against the three-strikes crime rule? You’re a liberal.
- Do you believe there’s a place for affirmative action? Liberal.
- Do you think unions, with their mixed bag of pros and cons, do have a legitimate role? Liberal.
- Do you support embryonic stem cell research? Liberal.
- Do you believe in restrictions on assault weopons? Liberal.
- Do you oppose torturing prisoners of war? Liberal.
- Do you think the US should keep its international agreements? You’re a liberal.
- Do you oppose corporal punishment of children? You’re a liberal.
- Do you feel the United Nations has a valuable role in our world? Blatant liberal.
- Do you favor decriminalizing marijuana? You’re a liberal.
- Do you advocate organic farming? You are such a liberal.
- Do you think green technology is a good thing? You’re a liberal.
- Concerned about the growing gap between the super-rich and everyone else? You’re a liberal.
- Do you believe Wall Street should be regulated to prevent recklessness which harms our economy? You’re a liberal.
- Do you favor net neutrality–leaving the internet as it is now, as opposed to giving internet providers broad new powers? You’re a liberal.
- Are you against the military Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell policy? You’re a liberal.
- Do you believe the government should fight discrimination against women and minorities? You’re a liberal.
- Do you believe food stamps meet a legitimate need? You’re a liberal.
- Do you believe the government should provide consumer protection regarding food, drugs, child safety, and other things? You’re a liberal.
- Do you believe global warming is happening, and is largely caused by man? You’re a liberal.
- Do you advocate rehabilitating prisoners, rather than just punishing them? You’re a liberal.
- Do you believe that the government needs to raise more revenue to meet its obligations? Liberal.
I know conservative evangelicals who hold all of those views. I personally hold most of them, and in many cases, for solid biblical reasons. So I’m a liberal? A godless liberal? (As the right-wing media characterizes people who hold such views.) That just burns me up. Especially since I take so seriously how the Bible speaks to issues.
Who decided those are liberal views? Why isn’t concern for the environment a conservative cause? Or deep concern for the poor? Or consumer protection? Why do so many Christians oppose those stands? Although I prefer voting for a Republican, if it means electing someone who will oppose all of those views listed above–well, their case will need to be very compelling.
This is why I reject being either a Democrat or a Republican. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.” When I take on the Democrat or Republican label and loyally adopt their approved issues and candidates, I am conforming to a pattern of this world–something not determined by God, but by man.
I reject the way issues are pigeon-holed as either liberal or conservative. While my roots and sentiments are Republican, I totally refuse to hold views just because that is the accepted Republican view. If I believe a viewpoint is rooted in Christian values, I’m not going to believe otherwise just because Republican gurus advocate something different, no matter how they rationalize it.
No way do I want to identify as a Democrat. I do oppose a number of “liberal” issues (particularly in the pro-choice arena). And yet, I side with President Obama and Democrats on a great many issues, and for reasons in line with my faith (rather than with ideology). According to man-made definitions, that makes me a liberal. I really hate that. But if my religious convictions require that I be called a “liberal,” so be it.