Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Liberals & Evangelicals - Part II

In my last post I wrote that religious and political liberals need to start taking the Christian evangelical movement seriously rather than just ridiculing them and hoping they will go away. So in this post I want to present the flip side. I am not comfortable any time people, including myself, make broad generalizations about groups of people. I want to make sure that I continue to view conservative Christians as people - people who have a very different philosophy than I do, but not necessarily uncaring, mindless bigots either.

It is easy to look at their positions and come to the conclusion this movement is made up of people who hate women and the poor, and anyone not just like them. Corporately, I believe their philosophy is dangerous to a free society and yes, I believe that unconscious or unexamined bigotries underscore part of their worldview. But I don't want to judge individuals based on the group as a whole.

The marriage between conservative Christianity and libertarianism & nationalistic jingoism makes it easy to view adherents as selfish and uncaring, but...

Some of the most generous, selfless, committed, and loving people I have ever known have been evangelical Christians.

The public hypocrisy of some makes it easy to view members as insincere, but...

Some of the most spiritually passionate people I have ever known have been evangelical Christians.

Their portrayal in the media and the lack of intellectual curiousity of certain politicians make it easy to view these true believers as ignorant or stupid, but...

Some of the most well-read and intelligent people I have ever known have been evangelical Christians.

As a child raised in the evangelical movement I was taught to, "love the sinner; hate the sin." Now, I want to translate that into my current belief structure. I want to separate my appreciate of the individuals' value from their philosophy. Work against the movement; love the movers. A woman at my fellowship said soemthing once regarding getting along with her ultra-conservative son, "our primary relationship is not political." I have carried this phrase with me ever since and remind myself when dealing with my evangelical colleagues and family members. My primary relationship with my family is neither political nor theological. It is familial and based on love. After all, connection is why I got into the whole spirituality search anyway, right?

1 comment:

  1. Just gave you a "Liebster" award! These two posts are good examples of what I love about the way you think, and the way you write.