Unless you live in a cave, you have heard of the label “Christian Right”. The “Christian” Right has a billion-dollar messaging empire that would make Joseph Goebbels envious. They have nationwide radio networks, worldwide television networks, publishers, mega-churches, political pundits, best-selling authors, media personalities, celebrity pastors, a vast number of wealthy donors, Political Action Committees and on and on. The Christian Coalition (one of the largest PACs) produces “non-partisan” Voter’s Guide that it distributes to churches nationwide. The guides are anything but “non-partisan”. The “Christian” Right has an agenda, a ton of money, and they’re continuously seeking the power to impose their vision of the country via public policy.
Wait, wait… take a breath! Let me be CRYSTAL clear – “Christian Right” is NOT me. And for more good news, did you know there is an online group called TCL? The Christian LEFT. The Christian Left is a term used to describe a spectrum of left-wing Christian political and social movements which largely embraces social justice. Lefties like to focus on behaviors that Jesus focused on while he was here in body – things like hypocrisy, organized oppression, exorbitant greed, self-righteousness, judgmentalism, selfishness, abuse of power, violence, etc.
The most common viewpoint that might be described as “left wing” is social justice, or care for the poor and the oppressed. Supporters of this might encourage universal health care (YES!) welfare provision and revision (YES!), subsidized education (YES!), foreign aid (YES!), and Affirmative Action for improving the conditions of the disadvantaged (YES!).
The Left stands for social justice, renunciation of power, humility, forgiveness and private observation of prayer (as opposed to publicly mandated prayer). We often hearken towards pacifism in opposition to laws advancing militarism.
Like many others, I’ve felt a bit alone out there. I’ve heard “You can’t be a Christian and a Liberal.” Conservative Christians have turned their backs on one of the central tenets of the Bible, the one about Jesus saying “Love God and love your neighbor as you do yourself.” And who is our neighbor? Jesus taught us it was a stranger… A stranger of a foreign belief system, who stopped to help another stranger beat up and left for dead on the roadside while religious types passed him by.
We are part of the Body of Christ. We’re Christians. We’re Liberal. We make no apologies. In fact, Jesus’ ways were “liberal.” That’s why he was killed. As soon as the temple incident happened and Jesus meddled in the business of the moneychangers, a target was placed on his back. We’re not waiting for some earthly leader to come and make everything alright – that person already came. We are part of the Body of Christ. We will not “be quiet”. We’re Christians. We’re Liberals. Get used to it.
It wasn’t just Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection that matter. It was his life too! The life he lived is a huge part of the deal. Not only is what Jesus said the Word of God, but what Jesus DID is also the Word of God. If we look closely, we see that Jesus made room for those cut off from the rest of society. He put a name and face on all who had been forgotten or pushed aside. That’s what Social Justice means.
“The Christian Left” – left hate behind, left prejudice, left callous attitudes, and followed Jesus as HE left the 99 in the fold, to find the one was lost, ignored, excluded, overlooked, abandoned, uncared for – all “the least of these.”
Another Christian Lefty, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, put it this way in her article “A Voice from the Christian Left”
“Many on the Christian Right are fond of posing the question WWJD? What would Jesus do? I’d like to remind them what Jesus DID do: He cared for the poor. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery. He prayed alone. He commanded us to love our enemies. He preached peace. He ate, drank, and lived with “tax collectors and sinners” – the lowlifes and outcasts of his day., while reserving his condemnation for the religious leaders who, from a place of privilege, imposed their legalism and literalism on the people they were responsible for leading… The Gospels make some pretty clear indications about what Jesus would and wouldn’t do.
Whatever Jesus would do, given what he did do, and has promised he will do, I don’t think it looks much like what the insulated, self-congratulatory Fox News fans on the “Christian Right” are doing.”
Unfortunately, in this country today, we have a sort of spiritual revival of people who don’t want to practice love, grace, or compassion, but would rather try to bury people under legalistic demands they themselves are not capable of keeping.
Many folks tell the Lefties to keep up the great work in the name of Christian Charity. But charity is only part of the message. The danger here is allowing it to become about charity only, rather than social justice as well. Charity tries to fix up people so that the system will work better. Justice tries to fix up the system so people will work better. We agree that a charitable attitude is important, but it does not address the root of the problem, a system that sets up obstacles and barriers that make it nearly impossible for people to break the cycle of poverty, or the cycle of victimization, or marginalization, or the cycle of… Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. The system will never be perfect here on earth because it is developed and run by very fallible humans. Charity will always be required, but that’s no excuse to not advocate for The System to be just for all. When it is, the need for charity decreases. The two are inextricably enmeshed.
“Sometimes I would like to ask why God allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.” ~~ Anonymous
I have found my tribe 😊!!