The Eclectic Quill

September 5, 2008

Jesus Never Rode an Elephant

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 10:33 pm

I am one of those rare folk who are a combination of Liberal and Christian. When I say I’m a Christian I want you to understand, I’m a Bible believing Christian. I believe that a fetus is a baby, I believe that homosexuality is immoral behavior, and I believe that Jesus Christ is the one true way to God. I read the Bible every day and I am, after a fashion, a "minister" though my particular group does not believe in a "clergy-laity" system. I would say that my political views are the minority in my church. I’m not typical or representative of them, although we aren’t a politically driven church so I don’t know where everyone actually stands. Still, from time to time the topic turns to politics and I express my thoughts, often my friends are surprised and ask me, "How can you be a Christian and a Democrat?" Normally I reply with a smile and the retort, "Jesus rode a donkey, but He never rode an elephant."

From the top paragraph alone I’ve probably managed to incense just about 90 percent of Americans so let me explain my positions in a little detail. When it comes to moral issues I have no problem with defining my morality by the Bible. I believe that we can roughly block morals into two categories, personal issues and social issues. I think the Republicans tend to focus more on personal morality and Democrats tend to focus more on social morality. Of course there’s a great deal of nuance here, so don’t think this meant as an absolute statement, which is why use the word "rough." First let’s take a look at the common issues which are a matter of personal morality. These next couple of paragraphs might be hard for some of my liberal counterparts to stomach, but I ask you to bear with me, as all will be made clear in the end.

It is clear from the Bible that a fetus is a baby.

Matt 1:18-20—Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

In these verses first it says that Mary was found to be with "child" of the Holy Spirit and then it is says that which is "conceived" is of the Holy Spirit. Putting the two together it seems apparent that there is no difference between being "conceived" and being a "child". Therefore it seems to be the Biblical premise that life begins at conception. So how can I be pro-choice? I’ll get to that in a moment. For now I would like to point out that women who get abortions for the most part are not a bunch of villainous heathens out to destroy babies. They are for the most part very confused women. More than 80 percent of women who have abortions are single. Most are under the age of 25. The number one reason that women have abortions is finances. Needless to say things like national health care, better employment opportunities, better job training, better child care arrangements, and better adoption options etcetera could go a long way towards lowering the abortion rate. In fact the abortion rate fell sharply as the economy improved under Clinton . In essence the Republicans have spent far more energy and money trying to end the legality of abortion than they have the rate of abortions. When abortions were illegal it did not stop women from getting them. It’s foolish to think that it would now. Giving them a way to have the baby and still live their lives saves both the baby and the mother. This should be the focus of the Christian.

Romans 1: 26-27—For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

Again, the Bible is clear on the moral issue of homosexuality. I know there are some groups that try to parse things here, but I find the Bible is unequivocal on this matter. I’d also like to point out that on this point, the notion that homosexuality is strictly a genetic issue is largely debunked by most of the scientific community and that it is unfair to the gay community as well. If you want to argue that it is moral behavior, I have no problem with that, but to argue that they are mindless slaves to their sexual urges is insulting to the entire gay community. There are "genetic links" to pedophilia as well and no one argues that as moral, or says that it isn’t their fault. My point here is that homosexuality is a behavior, and is either moral or immoral, and the discussion of it should be held as such. Biblically speaking, there’s not a lot to discuss though. So some might ask, "if the Bible is so clear on these issues and you believe in the Bible, then how can you a liberal?"

Well for precisely for the reason that it is the Bible that governs my belief. Being able to support one’s moral belief with the Bible and making that moral belief into law is a great and giant leap, one which both constitutionally and Biblically speaking, should be cautioned against. We are a free nation, and that means everyone is free, including the people who disagree with me! I believe in gay rights because to believe in gay rights is to believe in my rights to be a Christian. If both are distilled down to fundamentally moral beliefs then how can I count my moral beliefs as so much more important than another’s, that mine should become law at the expense of another’s? To protect another’s right, vote for another’s right and fight for another’s right is to fight for my own. This is the core of any truly free nation—that people will disagree on such things. The proof of freedom is offense. If I can offend you with my Christian beliefs then that is because we are free. If you can offend me with your non-Christian beliefs then that is because we are free. I celebrate the fact that I can be offended because whenever I am, I am reminded, I still live in the "land of the free."

Christ Himself seems to have held to this view. I know this may come as a shock to some of the more conservative brothers and sisters in the Lord, but it is true. Consider a couple of things for a moment. First, consider the story of the adulterous woman. When the mob came to execute her, he knelt in the ground and wrote, and then after they’d settled down, he told them, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." They all had to drop their stones and leave. Then he told the adulterous woman, "go and sin no more." There was something in his attitude that was loving and forgiving towards the woman. He was still righteous in telling her to sin no more, but he was quite forgiving of her all the same. It seems his greater rebuke was to the ones who would have stoned her, the religious ones. In fact, some may find this shocking, Christ never rebuked a single person for "sin" though he spent the majority of his time with the sinners. He did however spend a lot of time rebuking the self-righteous and the religious.

This is because there is a core message to the Christian faith, one which is not visible in the doctrines, politics or practices of the Christian right. This message is that Christ came to do what the law could not do, in that the law was weak through the flesh. Essentially the underlying Christian message is that we need Him to be lived out in us if we are going to live a righteous life. To try and legalize our morality is impossible. God Himself did that to show man that it could not work, so what makes Republicans think they can do it? I could expand on this but would run the risk of turning this blog into a sermon, which I’m sure no one wants to read. The essence of my point here is that much of the politics of the "Christian Right" is no more "Christian" than it is right. The fundamental message they deliver is not a Christian message, it’s a Pharisaical one, and the Pharisees opposed Christ.

The bottom line when it comes to the issues of personal morality can be summed up in the phrase "strict towards self, merciful towards others." Incredibly it seems that the Republican message appears to be the opposite as they run an adulterer and the mother of a fornicator (both of which are sins listed in the Bible right alongside homosexuality ironically) and at the same time try to pipe in their message of "family values." I’m not deriding them, I’m pointing out a fact that they themselves have been incapable of living the lifestyle they’d like to legislate. Personal morality simply cannot be legislated because it’s not democratic and it cannot be imposed because it is legislation that cannot work. It cannot work because we are all fallen sinners. Paul’s eloquent question in Romans 7, slightly paraphrased illustrates the point, "Why do I do things I don’t want to do and not do the things that I want to do?" This is at the very heart of the Christian message. To legislate personal morality of this sort is to legislate the impossible. To deny it is impossible is to deny the Word of God.

There does however remain the other question of social morality. Again, if we are going to address this from a Christian perspective let’s view what Christ did in his ministry. Primarily you could sum it up in three words, He taught, healed and fed. There can be no question, Jesus Christ, while he was very much concerned with the forgiveness of sin was not that concerned with the condemnation of sinners. Rather his heart for them was to care for them. He loved them, and that love was exhibited in part by teaching them concerning their need of salvation, but it also extended to His physical care for them. The New Testament has over 20 references which state that believers should give to the poor. The Old Testament has the same concept, such as the "Sabbath Year" where the fields were left untended for one year and the fruit from the land in those years was to be left for the poor. God makes it clear in His word that He has a heart to care for the needs of the needy. This is what I consider "social morality". The Republicans, so bent on enforcing their personal morality on others, seem to not only ignore these social issues, they fight against them. The abhor them. The heart of the Republican Party is all together contrary to heart of God.

I don’t for a moment suggest that the Democratic Party is really the party of God, donkey jokes aside. I do however feel that the platform of the Democratic Party is more representative of God’s heart towards man. The platform is more built around the premise that we are, as Senator Obama says, "our brothers’ keeper." It represents a fundamental care and love for the fellow man that is absent and opposed in the Republican Party. The Christian needs to look beyond the self-righteous, hypocritical platform of the Republican Party and consider God’s heart. Psalms 103:7 says "He made His ways known to Moses; His acts, to the children of Israel." Christians need to focus on God’s ways, not the outward activities. That’s why I’m a liberal Christian.

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11 Comments »

  1. Rock on. Better pissed off then bound in hell…

    Comment by Stan Earl — September 6, 2008 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  2. There’s a thing going around the Internet that says:

    Jesus was a community organizer
    Pontius Pilate was a governor

    Comment by Kurtis — September 6, 2008 @ 3:14 am | Reply

  3. I want a bumper sticker that says “Jesus was a liberal”………….

    Comment by williamscarol5 — September 6, 2008 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  4. I couldn’t disagree with you more if I tried on part of the aborition debacle. Interesting post though.

    Liam

    Comment by Liam — September 8, 2008 @ 8:13 am | Reply

  5. I agree with your basic conclusion. While I question your exegesis of Scripture regarding some of the social issues, the conclusion that the liberal (Democratic) platform is more reflective of the Gospel and Jesus Christ.

    Interesting read.

    Comment by Heather — September 9, 2008 @ 6:45 am | Reply

  6. Fancinating read, but full of misconceptions and illogical conclusions. Agree with passages and interpretations, disagree with choices of application.

    Comment by teelow22 — September 9, 2008 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

  7. Interesting, one person agrees with my exegesis and disagrees with my conclusion and the previous agrees with my conclusion but has a problem with my interpretation. Neither however appears to have the inclination to elucidate me. Too bad.

    Comment by kelly — September 9, 2008 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  8. From one Liberal Christian to another, “Amen Kelly!”

    Comment by Holly — September 17, 2008 @ 2:49 pm | Reply

  9. Hi, I found your blog on this new directory of WordPress Blogs at blackhatbootcamp.com/listofwordpressblogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, i duno. Anyways, I just clicked it and here I am. Your blog looks good. Have a nice day. James.

    Comment by James — September 18, 2008 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  10. First-Class post.Follow up the oustanding work,You should definitely have to keep updating your site

    Comment by Bible Verses — October 31, 2008 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

  11. very refreshing! thanks for writing this… although i also disagree with some of your reasoning, i really appreciate your conclusions and hope more christians open their minds a bit. bravo.

    Comment by racheljean16 — December 14, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Reply


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