Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Why Are So Many Christians Conservative? Part 2

The Jesus of the New Testament spent his public career preaching about the nature of God and our relationship to God, but also about how we should deal with each other.

He repeatedly blessed mercy, gentleness, peacemaking, community, and taking care of each other. He lifted up the poor and oppressed, and spoke poorly of the wealthy and powerful. If anyone in modern society talked like he did, you can bet your bottom dollar that conservatives would condemn that person as a class warrior, a socialist.

Jesus may not have been primarily concerned with politics, but for what politics he did have, it is virtually impossible to argue that he was anything but a progressive thinker.

But Jesus is not the only Bible character concerned with issues of social and economic justice. All of the first five books of the Torah (First part of the Old Testament for Christians) talk a lot about justice for the poor; the Psalms are full of verses about the helping poor; every Old Testament prophet castigates the Jewish people (and yes, their government) for mistreating the poor.

And in the New Testament, there are some dynamite passages promoting progressive thinking aside from all of the Jesus quotations I mentioned. Three of my very favorites:

  • In Acts 2: 44-45 says: “The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common: they sold their goods and possessions and shared out the proceeds among themselves according to what each are needed.”
  • Jesus’ mother Mary says that Jesus will “fill the starving with good things and send the rich away empty” and will “pull the princes from their thrones and raise high the lowly.”
  • More on the big guy’s family, in the Book of James, which is purportedly written by Jesus’ brother, James really goes heavy into the class warfare stuff. In James 2: 1-13, there is an extended admonishment on respect for the poor and mercy. In 2: 5-8, he says it is the poor whom God chose to be loved, and the rich “who are always against you.”
  • And in 5: 16, he condemns the rich again starting out: “Now an answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries coming to you… Laborers plowed your fields and you cheated them: listen to the wages you kept back, calling out: realize that the cries of the workers have reached the ears of the Lord.”

Now I know there are many people who have not been brought up in the Christian faith, or who were but aren’t interested in it anymore. Perhaps like a great many folks, you have been turned off by all the high-profile preachers who claim to speak for Christianity but preach a brand of narrow, intolerant conservatism that you can’t relate to. My view is that even if that is the case, it is still important to know something about the Christian New Testament because it is such a historical and cultural touchstone in our country.

I also think it’s important to have a sense of just how different the Bible is from how conservative Christians represent it.

[Excerpt of an article by Mike Lux, AlterNet]

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7 Responses to “Why Are So Many Christians Conservative? Part 2”

  1. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a worldly Government. It is a Monarchy and that is the most detestable feeling that a Materialist can swallow. If Christ were to let a worldly Government Rule His Kingdom Man would no longer need Christ which Christ spoke of when He said pay Caesar`s things to Caesar and the Lord God`s things to God. Namely to Christ Himself which the manmade worldy government betrayed Christ and Crucified Him. Christ new what His future was and He fulfilled all of the Prophecies too concerning that day as well as these of Tribulation we are currently enduring. Also Rome fell after Christ`s Death and His Kingdom was established from everlasting to everlasting. Only the Faithful whom don`t question or second quess what Christ foretold of in the last days will truly recieve His Blessing That is a very narrow passage for a reason too BROTHERS AND SISTERS. AMEN.

    • I must admit that I don’t always understand what the comments you leave have to do with the original post and point being made, and your comment above is one more such example.

      Having said this, nevertheless, in this case I don’t disagree with the essence of what you have written in your comment.

      I agree that the Lord blesses His followers accepting things by faith. And I agree that it is difficult for a non-believer to fully grasp spiritual realities.

      But isn’t it spiritually healthy for mature Christians to be able to take an honest look at themselves and their dogmas, and weigh their spiritual mindsets to Scripture? I think that is what the author was attempting to do. And that is among the reasons I’ve posted portions of what this author penned.

      But again the point of the author’s article is that Jesus did speak up for the poor and oppressed, and spoke against the greed and oftentimes uncaring attitudes of the wealthy and powerful.

      And on these issues, if anyone in modern society said the things Jesus did, on the many occasions where he spoke out for the poor and oppressed, etc. many conservatives would today condemn that person as a class warrior and/or a socialist.

  2. Bruce Kennedy, a Flagstaff resident writes:

    There are just as many Christian liberals as there are Christian conservatives, but the liberal Christians tend to follow the example of Jesus. That is, they are meek and choose to keep their politics and religion separate, which is in direct opposition to the vocal right-wing extremists we see on television.

    Webster’s definition of “liberal”: Supporting civil liberties, unconventional, social progress, support the freedom of individuals, tolerant, broad-minded, tending to give freely, generous. The words used to describe “conservative” are, opposing change, cautious, conventional, strongly favoring the established traditional order.

    It may come as a surprise to many that none of the words used in the definition of conservative can be used to describe Jesus. Jesus was not only a liberal, he initiated and embodied many of the aspects of today’s liberal beliefs.

    The Jesus I know taught us to be our brother’s keeper, to give generously to those in need, forgive all for their transgressions, and he bade all to pay their taxes without complaint. In other words, the Jesus I know was a liberal. Today’s conservatives, on the other hand, complain about the poor and all the programs that help the poor. Charitable giving is at an all-time low despite a booming economy. Conservatives constantly complain about their tax burden despite an astronomical national debt run up during previous conservative administrations.

    Today’s conservative talk shows spew a diatribe of hate concerning the beliefs of liberals. They label liberals as “whackos, pinkos, thugs, and elitists.” They make fun of a liberal person’s appearance. They poke fun at a liberal’s language or their speaking style. They denigrate every word of a liberal who does not agree with them. They do it in the name of “entertainment” and then profess themselves to be “good Christians,” despite the total absence of Christian behavior.

    I am however, convinced that the conservative movement in the United States is not a Christian phenomenon, but in fact is the antithesis of Christianity.

  3. i loved this post! as a liberal, social justice-loving christian, i am always so disheartened that it seems to be the conservative “christians” who are defining how people see christianity in general – somehow they get centre stage and make a bad name for Christ. It’s so damn sad. Jesus fought for social justice – it is the most ubiquitous message of the new testament. for being bible “literalists”, the right-wing christians seem to be missing a pretty big chunk of what the gospels actually tell us about what God wants for the world. And then they go and take a single sentence from Deuteronomy and use it as justification to oppress gay people.

    i’ve written about this on my blog. i would be honored for you to read it – it feels rare to connect with christians who think like i do!

    http://yeoflittlefaith.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/the-kingdom-of-god-sin-the-devil-and-hell/

  4. ekjt
    Hey, the good news is that there is not only the Christian Right, there’s also the “Christian Left”, so to speak. And we have every right to make our voices heard, for the sake of those in the middle, as well as those who consider themselves outside.

    I read and like your post. Tolerance is all too rare a Christian virtue. Here’s a couple posts I’ve recently posted on the subject:
    https://moraloutrage.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/christians-are-not-commissioned-to-be-judgmental/

    https://moraloutrage.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/be-slow-to-judge-judgment-is-gods-domain/

  5. […] but he is neither. Hugo Chavez is a tireless champion of the poor and a committed Christian socialist. The only difference between Chavez’s type of Christianity and Barack Obama’s, is that […]

  6. […] Why Are So Many Christians Conservative? Now I know there are many people who have not been brought up in the Christian faith, or who were but aren’t interested in it anymore. Perhaps like a great many folks, you have been turned off by all the high-profile preachers who claim to speak for Christianity but preach a brand of narrow, intolerant conservatism that you can’t relate to. My view is that even if that is the case, it is still important to know something about the Christian New Testament because it is such a historical and cultural touchstone in our country. I also think it’s important to have a sense of just how different the Bible is from how conservative Christians represent it. […]


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