USA: The Religious Right and the Liberal Christian Left

I really don’t get it!

This week, Jim Wallis of Sojourners, is discussing politics with an ex-leader of the ‘Religious Right’ Ralph Reed. Jim seems disappointed that Ralph seems to prioritise working against legal abortion and homosexual marriage. Ralph claims that the ‘Conservative Coalition’ et al don’t just focus on those two issues but work on many (which is the ground that Jim wants to claim).

What I don’t get is why they both want to impose their moral views on the USA. They both think that the US needs moral guidance from the top and that it needs to be legislated for. It’s as if they want to usher in a Holy Kingdom of America.

Whilst a great set of laws does seem to create a lovely society to live in, I can’t get my head round the idea that we, as Christians want to impose our morality on people who don’t want it. I mean, it’s not like it makes people better at the level of their relationship with God. It might seem, from a human point of view, that it is a good thing, but the only good thing is to have a relationship with God and to do his will – that is the only good in our world, everything else is a cheap imitation that doesn’t really bring life at all.

Jesus lived in a country that was occupied by foreign forces. Did he bother himself with that? No, he knew that freedom wasn’t in the laws of the land, but could only be found in a relationship with God. Did he try to control people by imposing laws? No, he came to make the law (and indeed laws) obsolete – to bring God into our hearts. He worked from the bottom up, not the top down. He aligned himself with the downtrodden. Even when he did get to talk to the most powerful men in Israel, he didn’t try to get them to alter their laws, he stood quietly, a testimony to the new Kingdom that he was ushering in, a Kingdom that stood in contrast to their kingdom.

Have a look in the ‘Government’ category of this blog for more on this topic.

5 thoughts on “USA: The Religious Right and the Liberal Christian Left

  1. so mark are you suggesting that rather than having dictats from above, we should work on our relationships and try d make people see things differently through those relationships, if so i think I could agree. I can see why people would want to change things from above, but if from above people are alwaas going to rebel himan nature or somethign i guess, but if we work with people on a one to one basis, and make them see the that maybe abortion isn’t the best option in all situations, or that homosexual relationships aren’t necessarily what God would want, then maybe we could change society

  2. I used to be a volunteer counsellor with a local pregnancy counselling centre affiliated to Care. Whilst I never actually got to counsel anyone (I was there specifically for blokes), everyone involved was very keen to avoid telling people what to do.

    I thought that that was quite liberating. I think that all of the counsellors realised that the choices had to be made by the people seeking help. The choices had to come from inside them rather than be imposed on them by us or by society.

  3. have no difficulty at all about people needing to make choices for themselves, but is there a question here of leadership and direction. Are we, or do we have aresponsibility to guide peole towards gods ideals? there is a difference here between guiding and dictating. I am suggesting theough relaitonship and friendhip we could guide people rather than dictate to them. help them, direct them thorugh love and compassion, and thought through discussion.

  4. Absolutely Andy. Guiding by first living the life and second by being prepared to also talk about it with people. Actions and Words.

    I believe that what we do is a much more powerful mechanism for real change (as in changed lives from the heart) than trying to impose rules on people.

  5. Pingback: SUNDAY PAPERS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *