And He has given us this command…

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“And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister [1 John 4:21].”

There is a problem.   With the incendiary rhetoric of this presidential election how could a conservative love a liberal?   How could a Democrat love a Republican?

We have to. God does not say that conservative Republicans must love their conservative brothers and sisters.   He says love your brothers and sisters.

What would a conservative Republican have to embrace in order to love a liberal Democrat?

Liberals don’t talk about the Bible much because they tend not to use God’s Holy Word to make their case for society.   But if you ever get involved in a theological discussion with a Liberal Christian you will soon see that they think God’s most important commandment about loving the Lord with all your might and loving your neighbor as yourself is truly the guide for all of humanity.

[Yes, believe it or not, some liberals are Christians too].

Liberals are also very concerned with God’s admonitions to take care of the poor, visit the prisoners, take in a stranger, and create opportunities for others to be lifted up. They feel there are many ways to exercise your faith.

A distinctive characteristic of the liberal Christian is the belief that in many areas of life, “judgment should be left to God, that being more open, tolerant and respectful is part of what makes [the liberal Christian] humble about their faith, and I am in awe of people who truly turn the other cheek all the time, who can go that extra mile that we are called to go, who keep finding ways to forgive and move on. Those are really hard things for human beings to do, and there is a lot, certainly in the New Testament that calls us to do that.”*

“Let’s stop and get real.”

Sounds like the liberal ideal is very naïve, and coupled with the idea that government can play a role in promoting the greater social good, liberalism is cast as very unrealistic by conservative segments of American society.

“Let’s stop and get real.”

For every liberal who touts that Obamacare can be tweaked and fixed and continued, there is a conservative who wants to funnel government money into supporting our law enforcement officers.   For every liberal who wants to invest in solar and wind power there is a conservative who wants to funnel government money into national defense.

Before we go too far and say liberals want to spend us all into deeper debt, conservatives have to admit they have their own expensive government spending priorities too.

I know I have barely scratched the surface when it comes to exploring the nature of conservativism and liberalism but I return to the idea that Christ has commanded us to love our brothers and sisters.

I am no “holier than thou” person but I can see good things in both perspectives. I like the emphasis on responsibility in the conservative point of view.   Just because a person has government help at some time in their life to make ends meet does not blind me to the idea that it would be better for a struggling person to work for some of the great opportunity that this country offers.

When conservatives begin talking about eliminating government debt and instituting more fiscal responsibility, I am not naïve to the need for this.   Our country could do a better job with government funds.   I am not sure the government is the most efficient way to help others; I don’t close my eyes to government waste.

I like the liberal’s focus on helping others.   Should we not do that? They think the way to do that is through the government; obviously many have their doubts. Our society has many who have serious needs and it is right to help those with serious needs.

What I am saying is there will always be serious disagreements over topics that divide conservative and liberal [reproductive rights, gun control, immigration and same sex marriage] but can’t we see that for the strength of this country we need to find ways to unite on some things.  I am reminded of the battle motto “United We Stand: Divided We Fall.”** Democracy is our uniting fabric and if you study democracy, it is about citizens finding different ways to take care of each other.   That does not mean it cannot be accomplished in a manner where individual profit cannot be made. It does not mean that it cannot be accomplished with a very efficient government response. The thing is that it needs to be done for the greater good of our democracy. We must learn to take the best ideas of both views and use those for the betterment of society.   Yes folks, we need to return to the days when a liberal Democrat and conservative Republican can hammer out legislation that helps our democracy.

Let’s return to the Christian perspective and see if we can respond to the command to love our brother and sister.   I think we can but we have to emphasize the need to love others.   We won’t get the job done if we emphasize our differences.   I venture to say if you are reading this and you are a conservative Christian you have one major idea in common with the liberal Christian.

That idea should be a love for Jesus Christ.

 

*Ed Kilgore New Yorker Magazine

**also on the Commonwealth of Kentucky flag

 

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