My friend and brother Collins Aki on “Liberals and Christianity:”
For some absurd reason, conservatives feel that their party is the only viable platform from whence politics and religion can stand in harmony. Their reasons? Well, let’s see: They are pro-life, support the death penalty, “Strict-Constructionist” on the Constitution (which means, the Constitution does not serve the people, but the people serve the Constitution), they are heavily opposed to government spending—that is of course, not when it comes to spending on the military (which, thanks to Reagan—their Grand Puba—has made us the most indebted country in the world), but they despise government spending on social programs, they detest welfare of any sort, have, what we will call, “an insensitivity to undocumented workers”—that is of course, after they have finished working for them at a wage that is far less than their children’s allowance), oppose same-sex marriage, even so far as to “install an amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a women only”—so much for that strict-Constitution, fiercely defend their “right” to bear arms (hmnnn, what ever happened to “those who live by the sword will die by the sword”? Oh yea, that only refers to “swords”), and a variety of all other things. Now, you might think that I am making a “straw man” out of the conservative position and I’m not being fair. But one thing I will say about conservative is, they are very consistent, unlike Dems, who are always “dreaming” of change (so annoying!) and trust me, the above mentioned platforms have not changed in the last 30 years a la the Reagan Revolution (hell, for you history buffs, those positions go even further back than that, google Barry Goldwater).
But what is my point? Well, of course you know that presidential hopefuls Barak Obama and Hilary Rodham Clinton will be in town this week, debating and promoting heavily as the March 4th Texas primary approaches, and some of us might have some decisions to make. This is not about that, but this is about, those who are close to my circle who may have religious convictions, and either struggle with reconciling that with Democratic affiliations or those who are conservatives, and consider themselves Republicans because they think being a Democrat is for “liberal minded-secular-commi-bleeding heart-tree-hugging lover of gays”. Well, we are all that and more. But I ask you, Republicans, granted, we can disagree on various “ways” to run a country, but why is it that you think that the Republican party is the Christian’s party, and anything other than that is, well, betraying a Godly worldview?
Lets talk about “the sanctity of life”. Trust me, there is not enough time to carry out a discussion on the pros and cons of abortion. But we can still talk about “life”. The Republican feels that, illegalizing abortion is the Godly stance. That, it is the duty of the Christian to battle, as it were, for the “right to life”—regardless the situation. Again, we will not argue this. But my question is, why does that battle for “life” stop there? Why is the social conservative so adamant about the government protecting the “sanctity of life” when they loathe the government working to secure the “sanctity of living”? They weep for the “Child of God” in a mother’s womb, but will fight tooth and nail, if their government should tax more to spend on the programs needed to raise that child of God in a comfortable space (and no, government housing is far from that). To me that sounds inconsistent. Really, to me that sounds purely “political”, and when public policy is an “arm” of the Church or the Church an “arm” of public policy, one only needs to read the history books to see how that turns out. Anyone remember where the term “Bloody Mary” came from?
Speaking about government spending, if you ever want to see anything so utterly removed from the love of Christ and the origins of the church, try and sit down with a fiscal conservative and ask them what they think about programs like a universal health-care or serious government welfare programs and the like. The idea of “being taxed” more to help out “other people” is so utterly repulsive to them. These are the same people who speak about the catholic and apostolic church and the communion of the saints, but when it comes to the government taxing the wealthy a little more in order to help fund programs for the poor, all of a sudden, their Christ-likeness transforms. And why is this? Because at the end of the day, a conservative can not, in any way, reconcile his bottom line platform for government policy, which is always “let’s just maintain the status-quo” with a gospel that says, “peace on earth and goodwill towards all men”. And it is a shame, when the Church will play that same hypocritical role. You can’t weep for the unborn, while holding on tight to your shotgun with one hand and your excess cash in the other hand that could help the “already born” in poverty, and call yourself the “salt of the world”.
As succinctly as I can put it: I am a liberal, because I believe that government must be progressive. We live in a country that is not governed by God but by public policy (that means that, God doesn’t work in the White House, although he does govern the whole world from on high). Therefore it is the duty of public officers to implement laws that are the most prudent to make one’s life fair, safe and happy. That means a person’s choice must be respected so long as that choice is not reckless and irresponsible. Our government must be pro-active in assisting those who are without in order to equip them to be able to live just as everyone else does. In a word, the Social gospel is the general spill-over of the True gospel. General justice, general mercy just as God gave the Church specific justice (the death of Christ) and specific mercy (the saving and undeserving grace of Christ’s resurrection). For all those who claim to be a part of the Universal Church, never forget that the laws of that Church are found in the Holy Scriptures and are binding, only upon those who are part of it. In contrast, a public policy that governs a public people, is not, and listen closely, is not, governed by GOD, but by public officers, who take into consideration, what are the best policies for the sum of the people for which it governs over. Wisdom might be drawn from Holy Writ, but this is only in an abstract and in a general sense. So please, stop trying to make public policy an extension of the Church’s policy, because this has never done any favors for the name of Christ. A name, which has already designated where his House would be, and no, it is not on Pennsylvania Avenue nor on Capital Hill, but in the Church, and centered within the sacraments. Let us keep this in mind and may God save His holy Church and wise men and women serve our blessed Country!”