I am a Christian. And I’m a liberal.
According to the world at large, these two stances are mutually exclusive. Christians in the media are portrayed as small-minded bigots who have an unrelenting need to tell the rest of the world what they are doing wrong. On the other hand, liberals are portrayed as free-wheeling, possibly drug-addled hippies who just want everyone to do their own thing.
The “religious right” – it’s a great alliteration, isn’t it? But “religious” doesn’t mean the same thing as “Christian,” no matter how the pundits spin it. All people who believe in any deity are religious, not just Christians. In fact, most people who don’t believe in any god at all are religious about something – maybe they are scrupulously and conscientiously faithful in washing their hands after using the toilet. That’s a religious behavior. And, of course, just because we call conservatives “right” doesn’t mean they are. In fact, from what I see on the nightly news, they are what Christians are accused of being. One might say they are “religious” about being “right.”
I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and the sins of anyone else who wants to believe in Him – that’s the essence of free will. I believe that He would want me to live my life as an example to others – that’s the Golden Rule. Hatred and bigotry were not in Jesus’ personality, and those characteristics shouldn’t be found in Christians. As Christians, we are called to love everyone, even those we would call sinners, because He loved everyone. Romans 2:1 says it best: You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
I also believe that everyone, regardless of how their opinions differ with mine, should be allowed to live their lives and speak their minds without fear of repression or violence. This is the foundation of liberalism: freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly.
I am a liberal Christian – and that’s not an oxymoron.