There are Christians who, rather than buying into the long promoted fallacy that Christians should have no say in politics, began to form broad "coalitions" in an effort to have the Christian voice in America be heard by the political powers that be. Should it come as a surprise to us, now, that those who are, in my opinion, somewhat confused about scriptural principles are launching an all out attack against their own brothers and sisters in Christ? And what does Jesus really say about the Christian Community and how it should behave toward one another? I am not of the belief that Jesus is telling a part of his adopted sons and daughters that they should act thus and so while telling another part of his adopted sons and daughters that they should act just the opposite. So what can we learn from this current development?
First, I'd like to point out that original Christian coalitions were not formed to divide Christ's Church, rather they were formed to give voice to all Christians who felt that their voices were not reaching their legislators in Congress. In the mean time, while Christians were being dutifully silent, secular activism was gaining more and more strength in redefining what has always been considered a Christian Nation. It isn't my intent to go down the path of history in making my case, at the moment. I am much more concerned about the impending division this causes in the Body of Christ, rather than engaging in an historical debate.
On October 13 - 15 there will be a meeting of "Progressive" Christians at the "National Path to Action" Conference in Washington D.C. You can find the information here: Values, vision and the via media conference. I was not satisfied with the bit of information they provided about their political platform so I visited this site: Home Christian Alliance for Progress, where I found a listing of the political stances "Progressive" Christians seem to be united upon. I decided to respond to their stances.
Pursuing Economic Justice
Claims made under this heading are:
- Our leaders act as if we have no responsibility to "the least of these."
- Tax breaks for the richest are the cause of public debt.
- Education, healthcare and housing are labeled as "wasteful" (but Christian Alliance for Progress doesn't say who has labeled them as such).
- Bankruptcy reform is a hard and punitive approach.
Purely biased assessment. Biased toward the "Progressive" or liberal doctrine, of course. Our leaders do not act as if we have no responsibility to "the least of these." There are many social welfare programs to prove that this is a false argument. There is no legislation before our leaders which is seeking to remove funding from welfare programs in the United States.
Tax breaks for the richest in our Nation are not the sole cause of public debt as the Christian Alliance for Progress would like to suggest. There are many factors which must be considered in determining the cause of public debt in America but they fail to note them, instead giving the reader the idea that tax breaks which favor the wealthier in our Nation are the sole cause of public debt. This is too simple an argument to take seriously. Suggesting that public debt is caused solely by tax breaks for the richest in our Nation would be akin to me suggesting that the public school system is the cause of public debt in our Nation and leaving it at that. Silly.
Regarding education, healthcare and housing, I have to wonder who has labeled them as "wasteful?" "The Department of Education's budget has grown by 82.5 percent in real terms from $34.9 billion in FY2001 to $63.7 billion in FY2005. This is the largest increase of any president since Lyndon Johnson." Quoted from TCS: Tech Central Station - The Sinkhole Grows, if anything Congress has thrown more and more money at education and, yet, it has not seemed to raise the quality of education in our country.
I oppose socialized healthcare. Is this because I do not care about the sick in America who cannot afford healthcare? No. It is because I value the high quality of health care in America and do not wish to see it deteriorate.
Regarding the poor among us, the "least of these":
In a March 22, 2002 speech President Bush had this to say:
"We must tie greater aid to political and legal and economic reforms. And by insisting on reform, we do the work of compassion. The United States will lead by example. I have proposed a 50-percent increase in our core development assistance over the next three budget years. Eventually, this will mean a $5-billion annual increase over current levels." (Emphasis mine). Find it here, President Outlines U.S. Plan to Help World's Poor.
A common dilemma is this: How much money is enough money? Another common question among Christians is this: Is it the Federal government's responsibility to dole out money to aid the poor or is it the individual Christian's responsibility? The Bible instructs us, as individuals, to work hard so that we may have something to share with those who have not. Nowhere in the Bible does it call upon the believer to fight for monies to come from the government to aid the poor, always, the Bible appeals to individual believers to help and show mercy on the poor, to not display favoritism. Does this mean the government is to have no part? I don't think so, however, I don't think it should be the focus of the Christian believer to look to the government to do all of the caring for the poor, absolving them of personal responsibility.
I was planning to go down the list of the Christian Alliance for Progress' stances on the political issues of our day and respond to each stance they take, but you know, I think my point could be made just as well without going down their entire list. Christians do not become non-Christians because they have varying viewpoints on the best way to handle the issues of our times. I believe we all want economic prosperity for all Americans, good environmental stewardship, equality for all people (not to be confused with "special" rights based upon sexual orientation), good preventive measures against unwanted pregnancy and to see all Americans have access to health care. What we disagree on are the causes of these problems and the methods by which they should be cured.
Further dividing the Christian Community to promote a liberal agenda doesn't make sense. If, as we say, we are all Christians, then upon what do we base our beliefs? Some of the beliefs of "Progressive" Christians cannot be justified by scripture. That is a fact. For instance, being loving and compassionate toward people is a good principle to stand on, pretending that we must make excuses for sin in a person's life as a method of displaying that love is not. This is why I cannot agree with the homosexual lifestyle. The Bible clearly defines homosexuality as sin, therefore it is sin. I can love a gay or lesbian, value their contribution to society, call them my best friend, however, if I am to believe the Word of God, their sexual practices are a sin. This does not mean that their sin is greater than any other sin or that other sins are lesser sins. As a Christian we should not be condoning any sin, nor does it mean that I cannot genuinely love and care about the person who engages in sin, if that were the case we could not love anyone on this earth, for we are all sinners.
Gays already have as much a right to marry as any other. Radical Gay activists want the "special" right to marry one of the same sex. Due to the vast health issues within the homosexual community, I believe it is my duty to try to protect the children of our Nation from the further normalization of such a lifestyle. You may politically disagree if you want, I base my belief on the Bible and scientific research which proves the increased health risks among the gay community as compared to the heterosexual community.
Last, but certainly not least:
"Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge another?" James 4:11-12
We must all be cautious not to sling darts at our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Our first priority should be one of care for each other, not care for the political agendas of the left or the right, Republicans or Democrats. One who judges his brother or sister for trying to follow in the footsteps of Jesus is in grave danger. It is for that reason that I will not say that one who believes Gay marriage should be legalized or that abortion is a viable option for birth control is not a Christian, however, I will not condone such a belief. That would go against everything I know and have learned from the Bible.
What I would say is that while the original Christian coalitions were intended to be a voice for all Christians with, I believe, pure motives, the motivation of those forming these new "Progressive" Christian alliances seem to be doing so with the primary motivation of separating themselves from their brothers and sisters who disagree with the causes and cures of current day political issues. Aware that God looks upon the motivations of the heart even more than the actions one takes...I have to wonder... and I have to remember... it isn't my place to judge.