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Wasn’t Jesus A Liberal?
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Liberalism has been under assault for years now. The battering of this grand political philosophy has altered the contemporary definition of liberal to the point that Conservatives use it as a profane word. They use it to paint a political opponent as anti-God and anti-American. It has gotten to the point that moderate and liberal Christians are afraid to be open about their political leanings. Sadly, it even affects their conscience and choices as they enter the voting booth. This is particularly troubling to me as a Christian evangelical minister who loves America.

Liberalism as defined by Websters Third New International Dictionary: a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of man, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for tolerance and freedom for the individual from arbitrary authority in all spheres of life.

I am not sure why anyone would feel threatened by Liberalism as defined by the dictionary. They are apparently unaware or simply refuse to acknowledge the long history of liberals who have labored for the betterment of society and the furthering of Gods Kingdom.

The labor movement of the early twentieth century was aided significantly when major Christian denominations got behind it. No average American would have a fair wage today if it weren't for liberal Christians and labor activists. Liberal Christians and civil rights activists fought and still fight against conservative America for racial equality. Child labor laws were enacted because liberals fought for them. Medicare and Social Security exist today because of Liberalism. Bleeding heart liberals have long advocated for the homeless, the hungry, the less fortunate, and the disenfranchised. The women of America owe liberals a big thank you for their almost equal rights. Tree hugging liberals fight for clean air and water standards instead of favoring industrial polluters and short term profiteering that destroy Gods green earth.

Liberals believe in affordable health care for all U.S. citizens. They also believe in higher taxes for the rich and lower taxes for the middle class and the poor. Liberals love their spouses and children. Liberals faithfully attend their churches to worship God. Liberals love America and hate terrorism and have proved it by fighting in every war for this country. Liberals come in all shapes, sizes, and color. They are found in the ranks of Protestants, Catholics, Jews, agnostics, and atheists.

Conservative Republican policies generally favor the wealthy and ignore the needs of the poor. Their policies are so often greed-driven, with no concern for the environmental or societal consequences for their exploitive actions. Jesus plainly taught that the love of money is the root of all evil. So, Christians can go after the various fruit of sin in our society, but they wont see the real change for the better until the axe is laid to the root. Christians should oppose greed-driven policies as a primary point of political concern.

I am sick of reading letters to the editor and editorials that paint Democrats and liberals as anti-God and anti-American and that portray conservative Republicans as the only true Christian patriots. We know that many Democrats are pro-choice and many support gay issues and this troubles most evangelicals. Democrats also support causes that should be of Christian concern that go untouched by Republicans. I have listed some in the above paragraphs. True prophetic vision sees that there is great need for repentance on the left and the right. The effects of powerful lobbyists, special interest groups, greed and corruption abound on both sides of the aisles of Congress. God sees it all and so should Christians. Christian voters need to see that Gods heart breaks over more than just a few political and moral issues. It is time to take off our blinders and mourn for the sorry state of affairs that is American politics.

Jesus was the ultimate liberal progressive revolutionary of all history. The conservative religious and social structure that He defied hated and crucified Him. They examined His life and did not like what they saw. He aligned Himself with the poor and the oppressed. He challenged the religious orthodoxy of His day. He advocated pacifism and loving our enemies. He liberated women and minorities from oppression. He healed on the Sabbath and forgave adulterers and prostitutes. He associated with drunks and other social outcasts. He rebuked the religious right of His day because they embraced the letter of the law instead of the Spirit. He loved sinners and called them to Himself. Jesus was the original Liberal. He was a progressive, and He was judged and hated for it. It was the self-righteous religionists that He rebuked and He called them hypocrites.

The primary issues of Christian Liberalism were birthed when Jesus spoke the profoundly prophetic words found in Matthew 25: 31-46. These scriptures reveal Gods heart for the poor, the sick and other neglected people through out history. Christians should read this text and judge for themselves which of the two groups mentioned there more accurately reflect the political parties of today. His Liberalism lives on today and the issues have not changed much.

I am glad that conservative Republican candidates advocate for the family and a few Christian issues, but we must quit pretending that they are the only ones that Christians should consider voting for. People should not call themselves pro-life if they are only anti-abortion and yet feel no twinge of conscience over the unfair application of capital punishment or wars fought for dubious motives. A true pro-life position cares just as passionately for the born as the un-born and views war as a last resort when all other options are exhausted.

Christians should look for candidates that will work for issues that are of importance to Christ and that can be tackled legislatively. Sadly, most of those causes have historically been opposed, ignored, and minimized by conservative Republican policy makers. They seem to dangle the moral issues carrot around election time. Then, even with a Republican controlled White House and Congress, prove themselves powerless to do anything about those issues when they convene to legislate. Issues such as eliminating poverty and homelessness in America, true equal rights for all citizens, environmental protection, a fair minimum wage, affordable health care, and lowering our infant mortality rate all go unattended. That's just to name a few.

I have some questions for the Christian Right. Why have you not held our current elected majority officials accountable for their failure to address the full spectrum of Christian issues? Why would you vote for them again?

It is time for Christians of conscience to stand up to religious and political hypocrisy. Christians should proudly proclaim progressive values today and should advocate for the Christian Liberalism that is our heritage and our legacy.

Gary Vance (Lezlo2025@wmconnect.com) lives in Loretto, Tennessee.

Latest Activity: Sep 19, 2013 at 7:18 PM

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Sheran commented on Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 20:18 PM

Jesus is a Savior! Not a political savior in any way... How could he be when his fathers name "GOD" is being removed from this nation?

PoliticsNation commented on Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 20:34 PM

He's a Savior and he cares about the well being of his flock. He cares about the poor, hungry, children, minorities, GOP and Dems...He has no respect of person so when others start thinking more highly of themselves than they ought too..he cares, when you take food away from another because you feel they are beneath you, and refer to them as parasites...he cares. He cares about politics because they make laws that effect his people.

up2sumptin commented on Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 04:30 AM

I guess it is splitting hairs but I disagree with you. Jesus was someone who spoke truth and not political mumbo jumbo that BOTH conservatives and Liberals spout. When presented with a political question regarding temple taxes, he chose not to take sides but instead responded, "Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's and God that which is God's (paraphrased). Also by equating Je4us with Liberals the natural progression is that Conservatives are aligned with Satan. Liberals good, conservatives evil. Unfortunately it is not so simple or black and white. There are good and evil in both camps, which it is better to back/oppose issues and not political parties.

timeontarget commented on Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 05:26 AM

Interesting and thought provoking. The best sentence in the entire piece is in the very middle, paragraph seven I believe.

"It is time to take off our blinders and mourn for the sorry state of affairs that is American politics."

Good post PN I don't agree with some of it but I do agree with some of it also.

up2 your comment just above says what needs to be said and I thank you.

PoliticsNation commented on Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 07:12 AM

Where in the Bible does Christ say raising taxes is wrong? Indeed, the Bible specifically says to render unto Caesar, etc., specifically separating money and spirituality. Money seems to be absolutely bound with their (some of the GOP) kind of faith, as if Jesus was really talking about the proper acquisition of money.

Each person has their interpretation of the bible. However, there is one thing we can't misinterpret.
Nowhere to be found in their messages is that of peace, love for your neighbor, caring for the disadvantaged or tolerance for those you would normally disagree with. ``Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.'' is just a passage in the New Testament and has no importance to them.

up2sumptin commented on Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

PN, Jesus did not talk about taxes, period. The Jewish tax was a non issue as that was taken care of by the tithing and Jesus refused to be drawn into a debate regarding Roman taxes. Not talking about it does not make it right or wrong, just not the message he wanted the people to hear. Jesus' message was for us to love each other but neither party has a monopoly on loving their fellow man. Ideally they approach it form different angles. In practice, there is little 'love thy neighbor' on either side.

up2sumptin commented on Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 12:48 PM

"He cares about politics because they make laws that effect his people."

Disagree PN. Jesus cares about your heart. You have your heart in order, everything else will follow. Jesus does not want us to do stuff because we are forced to. He wants our actions to be free will offerings. Example: Tomorrow they pass a law saying until the age of 21, your children are chattel, to do with or dispose of any way you want. Would things change between you and your children. Would you suddenly start pimping your daughter out for tickets to the Super Bowl? Of course not because your relationship with your children supersedes any law. In the same way he calls us to care for our fellow man regardless of what laws our leaders may pass. You can do all the good deeds you want but if it's not in your heart it is meaningless. When it comes to Jesus, we need to stop worrying about what the other guy is doing and focus on what we are doing and why we are doing it. If that were to happen, then we wouldn't need government intervention in social matters.

PoliticsNation commented on Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 15:23 PM

@up2...I don't agree with you. I believe we have a moral responsibility to stand for what's right. We vote those people in office. It's up to us to stand for what's right. As far as worrying about what the other guy is doing..If that were the case you and I wouldn't often debate about health care and other political issues. I enjoy your post and I think you make some great points but faith without works is dead...

Matthew 25
was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; as not the least morsel of bread to eat, so not so much as a cup of cold water to drink; which with what follows, are manifest tokens and evidences, that they did not belong to Christ, were not true believers in him, nor had they any real love to him: the grace of God was not in them, and therefore had neither right unto, nor meetness for, the kingdom of heaven; but were righteously banished from the presence of the Lord, and sent to dwell among everlasting burnings; for righteous it was, that such as they who would not show any love to him here, should not dwell with him for ever hereafter.

1john4:20We love, because He first loved us. 20If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything..

PoliticsNation commented on Friday, Sep 20, 2013 at 15:52 PM

The House's passage today of the Republican leadership's bill to cut SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) by almost $40 billion over the next decade marks a new low for an already dysfunctional Congress. It would increase hunger and hardship all across our country.

By cutting food assistance for at least 3.8 million low-income people in the coming year -- including some of the very poorest Americans, many children and senior citizens, and even veterans -- this cruel, if not heartless, legislation could jeopardize a vital stepping stone to many families who are still struggling to find work or who depend on low-wage jobs. As the nation slowly climbs out of the deepest recession in decades -- with 22 million people still unemployed or underemployed -- millions of families rely on SNAP to help feed their children.

SNAP recipients already are preparing for an across-the-board cut in their SNAP benefits beginning in November that will reduce their modest benefits to less than $1.40 per person per meal.

For decades, policymakers have shared a bipartisan commitment to reducing hunger and hardship. This legislation turns its back on that commitment.

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