Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Christian Liberalism

"The obvious problem for liberals is that most Americans don't share their mistrust of public piety. Time and again, secular reformers defeat themselves by assuming that this difference doesn't matter, that they can appeal solely to the economic self-interest of working-class Americans and ignore moral issues grounded in religious conviction. But more than 80 percent of Americans believe in a God and an afterlife. Like Bryan, millions derive their political views from their faith and prefer that others do the same. As Mario Cuomo, a Catholic liberal, writes, 'I do desperately want to believe in something better than I am. If all there is is me in this society, then I have wasted an awful lot of time, because I am not worth it.' Any revival of a religious left must begin from the premise that one's fellow Americans of the lower and middle classes are brothers and sisters whose well-being ought to be the main goal of political activism."
-Michael Kazin, A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan (New York, 2006), 303.
To be a liberal means that I am simply in favor of progress and reform. Those 2 things should be at the top of every progressive leader and person's agenda. We live in a world that is broken, full of ugliness, sin, and deceit. Yet within the bounds of humanity there is hope because of what "could be" not what "is." The could be is bound up within the need for progress and reform. That is why I am a liberal. Because to turn one's back on such necessary change means to close oneself off to the hope we as people need to cling to. The poor, downtrodden, struggling, and hurting people cannot simply wait for a trickle down hope to appear. They need action, help, and support right now. As a Christian my calling is to provide that. The sad reality is that reform has gotten ripped apart from a heart of conviction for the hurting and suffering. To believe in change now means to stand against Christianity. Instead believers in Christ are called to recall the glory days of Reagan and strong capitalism as the necessary means for civic good and Christ glorified. In conjuction with that, those on the left are encouraged to remove the very idea of God as it is staked to the misinterpreted ideas of who Christians are and what their God represents. The only hope it would seem would be to remove God in the hopes of achieving peace and civic good. In the end, like all of political and activist thought, the truth lies mixed and mangled in between. We have to rise above and think for ourselves what is truly the best approach. As for me, I will cling to the positive benefits of progress and reform while maintaining the belief that I cling to those as one made in the image of God.
I am not a liberal in spite of my Christianity, I am a liberal because of my Christianity.