Disclaimer: I want to warn you that in this post, I might make statements that sound like generalizations, but I know these things do not necessarily apply to everyone who claims to be in either of these political groups. So don’t take all of these statements personally, and know that I am merely addressing the extremes I’ve so often observed in the media and in my interactions with others.
This is a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for such a long time but avoided addressing because of the controversy surrounding it. I’ve had pretty strong political views for quite a while now, but not in the way you might think.
When I look at the political arena in America, I see pretty clearly that when it comes to liberalism and conservatism, I cannot choose either side with a clear conscience.
For those of you who don’t live in the US, some of this may be a little hard to relate to. Yet there is political polarization all over the world during this strange time in history, so you’ll hopefully be able to connect to what I’m saying in some way regardless of where you are from.
I believe that the political landscape in the US reflects the spiritual landscape of our country. There are two groups in the Bible that God judges harshly: the Pharisees, or the religious hypocrites, and the lawless. The former group thinks themselves to be holy and superior to everyone else because of their religion, and the latter group is proud to turn their backs on God and live by their own rules.
Maybe it sounds extreme, but when I think of conservatives and liberals in America, I see a definite parallel between these two groups and the Pharisees and the lawless. Conservatives are pleased with themselves because of their religiosity and supposed lofty morals, while liberals are proud to abolish any concrete definition of morality in our society and give people the right to live however they wish.
Both liberals and conservatives can often be self-righteous and aggressive, demonizing people who don’t go along with their ideology. Both groups love to mock and degrade the other, but it just ends up making them look more foolish. Worst of all, both groups fail to adequately show love, respect, and empathy.
It’s become increasingly clear to me that to choose either side means to sacrifice biblical morality in some way. The truth is that both groups have a lot right and a lot wrong.
Liberals are certainly hypocritical as they claim to be driven by love yet show extreme amounts of aggression and hatred towards people who go against their views. However, as they don’t claim to have any concrete definition of love or morality, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
I believe that conservatives are more hypocritical because they claim to follow a more concrete standard of morality. No, not all conservatives are necessarily Christian. Yet the majority of conservatives claim to be theists and moral objectivists. While they claim to be driven by morality, conservatives seem to be entirely blind to the fact that they pick and choose when it comes to morals.
Any Christian should be deeply bothered by the moral relativism and postmodern thought that is so prevalent in liberalism. It’s scary that we are no longer allowed to have biblical views of gender and sexuality. It is even scarier that we are told that we have to not only accept but fully condone the systematic annihilation of unborn children, which appears eerily similar to eugenics in many ways.
Yet it would be deeply saddening if the Church was not bothered by inequality.
It would be unjust and inhuman to turn a blind eye to racism and to be indifferent about law enforcement unjustly murdering people of color.
It would be heartless to stereotype and demonize whole people groups and tell them that they have no place in our country, despite the fact that God tells us to welcome foreigners and to show hospitality.
It would be cold and careless indeed to blame the poor and suffering for their lot and to tell them that they are where they are because they’re lazy or useless to society.
It would be antichristian to objectify women and to blame those who have been abused and assaulted, making them feel as if they deserve to be trampled on by misogynistic men, as if they somehow asked to be defiled and mistreated.
It would be far from Christlike to mistreat and alienate people because of their sexuality.
It would surely be foolish to worship a flag and to reprimand anyone who refuses to participate in this kind of patriotism.
It would be ridiculous to claim to care about biblical wisdom yet support a leader who makes hateful and degrading comments, lies compulsively, and exhibits signs of grandiose narcissism.
Liberals blatantly turn away from God’s design in significant ways, yet conservatives do too because they are proud of their heartlessness and cold indifference. So many Christian conservatives claim to care about the things that God cares about, yet they so often act just like the Pharisees. They elevate a certain form of morality, yet they neglect justice and mercy, forgetting that God cares about the born as much as the unborn.
I am wholeheartedly pro-life. I have a biblical view of gender and sexuality. But how could I possibly elevate those issues above all the other things that God cares about?
Jesus didn’t die for us so that we could create a picture perfect, 1950s-esque society in which the family unit looks as conventional as possible. Yet this seems to be what conservatives are fighting for. Conservatism so often looks like coldhearted individualism based on a strange wish to resurrect the “good old days.” You know, the days of sexism and segregation and racism. Back when America was great, right?
I have an issue with an ideology which is all about conserving the past. That is because I don’t believe morality has a time frame. People didn’t use to be more moral, nor are we progressing into a more moral society. Humans are humans, regardless of the year. Morality and immorality simply take different forms during different eras. We are fallen and twisted, and no political ideology will fix our brokenness. We should have learnt that by now.
I feel absolutely sickened when I watch Fox News, but I also feel extremely irritated by liberal media. Because both produce biased propaganda. As Christians, we should take a step back and view the world objectively and, most of all, biblically. We can’t be defined by the labels of the world. The Church can’t be put into a box. As soon as it is, we’re merely left with religion.
So many Christians seem unaware that when it comes to politics, we don’t have to be constricted to either box. Because God is outside the realms of political ideologies. Yes, liberalism is destructive. But the answer certainly doesn’t lie in becoming a Republican. Conservatism is often so heartless, but the answer certainly doesn’t lie in becoming a liberal.
One of the biggest lies Christians have believed is that God saved us so that we can transform society into some kind of theocracy, that the answers to our problems lie in politics. Even liberal Christians think this way when it comes to social justice. But the truth is that Jesus died for us so that our hearts could be transformed, and so that the Church could change the world. After all, part of the reason the Jews turned on Jesus was because His Kingdom wasn’t what they wanted it to be. They expected a political revolution, but instead He brought a spiritual one.
We will never “bring heaven to earth.” If we expect to transform the government and the media and every other aspect of society, we’re fooling ourselves. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, and the road is narrow. A theocracy can only ever create a society of religious people, not people who love God. God has never been about controlling people. All of this isn’t to say that we can never get involved in politics, but we should certainly never make politics our god or pretend it’s the answer.
I know all of this may have sounded extreme and may have offended some of you. I know that there are amazing Christians who would identify on both ends of the spectrum. I’m merely discussing the many downfalls of these ideologies, and I don’t want to make any of you feel demonized or alienated.
So few Christians are aware of the fact that we don’t have to go along with the world’s way of doing things, that we can break free of these boxes and labels and simply live how Jesus told us to live and care about the same things God cares about.
So, maybe you’re wondering how I identify politically. Maybe you could call me moderate, maybe you could call me libertarian. But when it comes to it, I don’t like to be labeled politically because I believe these labels often don’t allow for true diversity of thought. I also believe that we should always stand on biblical truth, whatever supposed category that happens to fall under at the time.
Most of all, I think the Church needs to stop getting so caught up in politics that we forget about God. It’s so easy to do. Believe me, I know. But when we get caught up in the world’s way of defining morality, whether that be liberal thought or religious, cultural Christian thought, we become blind to Jesus’ way of doing things. He will forever transcend the world’s boxes and labels.