Thursday, March 1, 2012

When did "liberal" become a dirty word?

Over the last several months I’ve listened, or at least tried to listen, to the political discourse. I’m getting a little sick at hearing about who or who isn’t the “true conservative”. To be truthful, this discussion does not excite me because what this country needs in our political leaders (and this is just my opinion) are elected individuals who are true Americans.

One candidate has recently stated that he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state. That’s a little more than scary. What I think we need are individuals who will put aside their political idealism and reach out their hands to those who differ with them and start working together.

John Wesley, the founder of my beloved United Methodist Church, had deep theological issues with some of the other reformers. They approached the biblical understanding from a wide range of differing positions, but through it all Mr. Wesley said, “If your heart belongs to Christ give me your hand and we will walk together.” Maybe what we need are politicians who are willing to say, “If you are committed to making America a place for all people, a place where everyone gets a chance to advance themselves socially, educationally, and emotionally then give me your hand and we will work together to make it happen.”

This is the third posting of this particular blog. The first time was on May 1, 2010 and the second time was on June 29, 2010. After listening to the recent news reports concerning the political unrest between candidates in one particular political party with their constant claim to be “the true conservative” which has stopped meaning anything other than a catch phrase to get the attention of a small group with a particular political viewpoint in their parties base, I’ve decided to share it again.

In sharing this blog for the 3rd time I pray that someone will join me in doing what is right for all Americans and not just a few Americans. We had a recent past president who declared that he was a “uniter” and then moved forward dividing the nation even worse than it was already divided. I pray for the day that the lobbists do not rule Washington, D.C. and the Super-Pacs do not rule the airwaves. I pray for the day that we can start “doing it unto the least of these …” Does anyone care to join me?

And now for my June 29th blog …

Watching the political disfunctioning of our elected leaders presently taking place in Washington, D.C. I thought back to a blog that I wrote on May 1, 2010 and have been prompted to re-post it today. There are a lot of words and accusations being leveled at the various members of congress with little effect other than to turn our government into somewhat of the laughing stock of the world. Our elected political leaders do not understand that they were elected to lead … not to work for the next election, not to “protect” their political territory, not to advance their cause, not to do the Democratic or Republican thing, but to do the right thing, and definitely not to shut-down our government with their refusal to compromise … which has become the next bad, vulgar word along with liberal.

And now for my May 1, 2010 blog …

Listening to the present political discussion airing itself in the mass media I only have one question. When did the term “liberal” become a bad, vulgar word?

I can remember when someone called you a liberal they meant that you spoke up for decency, equality, human rights, fairness, high ethics or morals in the market place, liberty, justice and the pursuit of all that is right and correct in a democratic society. For me it meant everything that was found in the Good News of Jesus Christ. It meant that you worked for those who were disenfranchised by society. As you have done it unto the least of these …

As a liberal one would take up the cause of the homeless, the sick, the widowed and orphaned, the hungry, those in prison, the shut-in, the lame, injured, hurting, the refugees, the immigrants and equal pay for equal work … As you have done it unto the least of these …

As a liberal you sought to follow the teachings, instructions and example of Jesus Christ … which meant willing to go to your personal cross in order to make a lasting change in society for those who didn’t have the power to do it for themselves. As you have done it unto the least of these …

But now it a vulgar, dirty slur that is usually pulled out when someone needs to win a political argument by stating, with anger, “Oh, you are just a liberal!” It has become the standard 2010 political putdown … as if we should only look after our needs, our future, our desires, ourselves … as you have done it unto the least of these?

In a recent small share group a gentleman, who I have come to highly respect for his out spoken faith declarations and commitment, upon hearing that someone was leaving the United Methodist Church because it was just filled with liberals, declared, “What is wrong with being a liberal? I’m a liberal and proud of it.” And I would strongly agree!!!

I am of the belief that we need to take back the term and take it off the table as the present day “four-letter” word - even if it has 6-letters it is used as someone had said the F, S, H or D word. Next time someone points their finger at me and state that I am a liberal I am simply going to say, “Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate that you seem to understand that I love my Savior and seek to follow him by looking after the least of these!” I’m not really sure what their reaction will be, but I have decided to take back a good and great political word that has a long, distinguished history in our society.

Did God call America into existence so that we could only become richer, bigger, or more powerful? Or, did God bless us so that we could become a blessing to others? Failure to understand what God had intended in our formation is a failure to comprehend what it means to be Kingdom People – servant people … as you have done it unto the least of these …

I will grant you this is a dangerous position to take after all it did take the revolutionist Jesus to a hill called Calvary and a cross of pain and death. The conservative religious leaders of his day couldn’t allow his message of love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and … doing it unto the least of these … to continue. So they sought to eliminate that message, but God had the last word with the resurrection. Now, again, that message is under attack and those, in the name of the Gospel, are trying to silent those who are seeking to favorably respond to God by doing it unto the least of these …

Liberal? You betcha’ because there isn’t anything wrong with being a liberal! Right? Right!

Quote for today: “No man in this world attains to freedom from any slavery except by entrance into some higher servitude. There is no such thing as an entirely free man conceivable.” Phillips Brooks

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for these words. Liberal may now be used as a slur, but when did "tooth and claw" become more valued than compassion for our fellow human beings?