Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why Aren't So Many Christians More Ashamed?

Mike Lux wrote an interesting opinion piece on AlterNet yesterday entitled “Why Are So Many Christians Conservative?” In it he simply divides the entire political spectrum into two halves that he calls Progressive and Conservative. As he is the co-founder and president of Progressive Strategies L.L.C, and the author of “The Progressive Revolution,” you can guess which biases his piece exhibits.

An initial reading reveals what you would expect from a short piece of this nature. It is over simplified, reveals huge ignorance and presumption about what the Bible says, and generally comes across as something written by a High School Senior with an overblown opinion of his grasp of the universe. Once you get past that you might proceed to think about what he has to say and how it affects Christianity today.

To start with, the simple answer to Mr. Lux’s question is: most Christians have an aversion to thinking about any difficult life decision and simply want their leaders to tell them what to do. Since the majority of the most influential Christian Leaders are Republican, then so are most Christians. However, that answer poses another problem: Lux’s column does nothing to correct or even acknowledge the problem American politics has with nomenclature. Progressive, Conservative, Liberal, Republican, Democrat have really lost any singular meaning.

Traditionally, the term “liberal” or even “progressive” referred to a political stance that favored more freedom for the individual and less government power over everyday decisions. In America, it has come to mean the exact opposite—or a better way of thinking about it would be to say that such a stance is conservative because that is the idea upon which America was founded. To make things even more inviting for Christians, conservative ideas tend to support traditional values that are shared by most religious people, not only Christians.

The problem that has struck a lot of people even before Mike Lux addressed the issue is that capitalism—especially without any Christian values—can be an incredibly evil system, disregarding the poor and increasing the gap between them and the rich. As America has lost its Christian ideals this has indeed become a problem of obscene proportions. Of course, Socialism without Christian values is no better a stance, and certainly not Biblical.

If Capitalism says: “What I have is mine and you can’t have it,” and Socialism espouses the view that: “Everything you have belongs to the State and you can only use it with their consent,” the more Biblical understanding of Acts is: “What I have is given me by God and I will share it with those in need.”

Given that last point, American Christianity at large has certainly lost it bearings. As an American Christian, you can label me: Ashamed.

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