The reason I’m a liberal is because I was brought up a Christian. I’ll repeat that, just incase you’re doing a double-take. The reason I’m a liberal is because I was brought up a Christian.
I taught Sunday school under my Gram’s tutelage, I wrote and delivered children’s sermons in front of packed congregations in my teens. I’ve read the Bible – The reason I’m a liberal, is because I was raised a Christian.
This isn’t to say you can’t be a liberal if you’re of another faith, or of another ethical persuasion altogether, but me, I am liberal because I was raised a Christian.
Luke says in chapter 6:20-21, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours in the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh”. In America we tend to regard the poor as lazy slouches, Luke on the other-hand says God is full of compassion for the poor.
I am Liberal because I was raised a Christian.
Six chapters later Luke says, “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.” 2000 years before Thoreau was journaling about simplicity, before I was waxing poetic about sustainability, Luke was discussing what we needed to do with our funds. Greed, and the accumulation of wealth, and Rugged Individualism and Ayn Randism are deliciously cultivated American values (she says tongue shoved in cheek), but the Bible urges people to share generously, and only have and take what they need.
Did I mention, I am a liberal because I was raised a Christian.
Proverbs mentions in chapter 14:31 that, “He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.” God in this text, through those writers is pretty specific on how the poor are supposed to be treated. That oppression is not an option, that instead, it is a human obligation to help those who suffer.
Bible school is where I found my leftist leanings.
Which is why, I want to, and tonight, most certainly did, throw objects at the television when the news tells me that the US is voting on cutting food aid in the middle of a famine. And ideologically you can tell me, we have hungry here, and our money belongs here, but I challenge you to tell me what is any less human about the people on the other side of the world.
Further, I’ll wax technical, and tell you that food aid is one of the easiest things we can do in terms of security and safety for America. Hungry people who are hungry long enough, and oppressed long enough, riot, and start wars. Food aid is a pretty cheap security measure. And there I go, being all basic and reductionist, and talking policy when this is a story about me being a liberal.
See, tomorrow the Senate is voting on appropriations bill that passed the house last June (barely passed the house, with not one Democratic vote). This bill includes large cuts in emergency international food assistance as well as annoying slashes in W.I.C, the program that provides pregnant mothers, infants, and children with the basics of a nutrition rich diet.
So here’s how I read this piece. The wide base of the Republican party often discusses family values and morals, and Christianity. They discuss what it means to be these things, and often have their pastors discussing politics, even at the risk of their churches’ 501c statuses. But this cut in emergency food aid, at a time when Somalia is so ravaged by starvation runs so counter to the roots of Christianity, this cut, this vote, stinks of such hypocrisy , that like I said, I was forced to throw things at my TV.
And look, I know I’ve discussed time and again about my shaky faith or of my concerns of the combinations of government and religion. But, if I know one thing at all is true, I know that Jesus was a liberal. I know that Jesus was the first community organizer, and I know that I am freakin’ sick and tired of people calling themselves Christians and turning their backs on the poor.
So sick and tired, that I’ll rant in a few hundred words on a school night and quote the Bible till my readers don’t recognize me.
So sick and tired, that when Lawrence O’Donnell quoted my favorite Matthew passage tonight, I knew it was going to end up here.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’