Christian Liberal is Not a contradiction in terms.
To the Editor
Susie Lofton kept me awake last night. I was so upset about her article Black and White vs. Gray in The People News that I kept rolling it over and over in my head. She took an issue of Good vs. Bad and politicized it as so many people have the past several years by using the political terms Conservative and Liberal. She may not have intended for her definitions to paint the political parties, but she wasn't real clear on saying she did not mean them, so I took exception.
This is not a new debate by any means and will be around forever. Susie Lofton is not the first to make erroneous assumptions about what being a conservative and liberal means. The conservatives have been very good at redefining the meaning with surprisingly very little resistance. So good that she may not even realize her mistake. However, I can't read another letter or article that continues to blur reality without attempting to correct this trend. Lofton's statements "conservatives live by high moral standards with conscience, respect for family, country and community" and "liberals ... have ... lack of regard to civil authority and absence of moral fiber" cannot stand uncontested. The term "Bleeding Heart Liberal" arose from the desire of that group to house the homeless, feed the hungry, save the beautiful earth God gave us and right the wrongs of the world in spite of the material cost. How can you ever equate this with a lack of morals?
Conservatism in politics has nothing to do with morals. Liberalism in politics has nothing to do with a lack of morals. Simply stated, Conservatives believe in little Government (Federal government in particular) and holding citizens to a stricter set of laws, which often limit personal freedoms. Liberals support more government and allowing citizens more freedom to express themselves while not infringing on the freedoms of others.
I don't deny that this may oversimplify the definitions, but it is much more accurate than anything I've seen out there lately. You have "gray" issues that people fight over which may seem to contradict the above definition, but when you weed out all the hyperbole it will stand firm.
I consider myself a moderate person. I stand behind most democratic philosophies. I am a Christian with a deep love of God and appreciation for what he has blessed me with. When I learn about Jesus I learn how loving he was of all humanity in all it's imperfections and his wish that we could love ourselves as much as he does. He is not so much concerned with how you show your faith as how you live it in your heart. God is not going to play favorites with us because we keep "in God we Trust" on our currency or say it in our pledge. He knows you can't regulate or mandate faith. He is our creator after all. He gave us free will and wants us to use it as individuals. We each have to make a decision in life on if we want him with us or not.
I believe that each Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, etc., has the right to practice their faith as they see fit, as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. I believe each Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, and agnostic has the same right. I will continue to say "One Nation Under God" when I recite the pledge even if they take it out of the "official" version because as a citizen of the United Sates, I have that right. Conservatives say that everyone has the right not to say it as well, so why can't we just leave it alone. I don't disagree with that, but if you truly want separation of church and state, you have to consider different faiths. And you MUST have separation of church and state if you want to continue enjoying the freedoms we enjoy today. When religion gets mixed up in government, whoever has the most followers gets to make the rules. The Baptists could make it illegal to dance, the Catholics could make it mandatory to worship Mary, or the Jews could make it illegal to mention Christ in public. This is extreme, but must be pointed out because the extremes can and do happen.
Finally, we can't generalize the beliefs of others as liberal or conservative or good and bad. I'm a "bleeding heart liberal" who wants to help the poor, feed the hungry, house the homeless, save the trees, air and water but I also support the death penalty, which is generally a conservative position. (I'll take this opportunity to point out that the Pope is against the death penalty, generally a "liberal" position, and I don't think anyone is going to argue his morality.) My beliefs are mine, they are deeply rooted in my faith, and I would be willing to debate them with any left wing liberal or right wing conservative. Thank God for both sides because the extremes of each make all of us "Moderates" realize how important it is to meet in the middle.