We throw those terms around so much, you’d think one was godly and the other evil. Which is which depends on where you stand and what you believe.
We may have found the perfect litmus test to determine which you are.
This week, police in a community just west of New Orleans arrested a woman for killing her newborn baby. She had hid her pregnancy from the family and her boyfriend, given birth by herself, and then–sorry, but this is what happened–buried the just-born baby in the backyard. Wait, it gets worse, if you can believe it.
It appeared she had pulled it off without anyone being the wiser until the family dog dug up the remains in the backyard and–again, sorry–began chewing on the body. The boyfriend found the dog and what was left of the child and, clueless concerning the facts of the situation, called the police.
The police came out, studied the situation, and arrested the woman. They charged her with two crimes: murder of her baby (she said she thought it was dead when it was born) and cruelty to her dog. The animal, it turns out, was malnourished and that’s why he was digging up and eating the poorly buried body.
Sordid tale, I grant you, and I apologize for even telling it. However, we needed to tell the story in order to pose a question.
“Which charge concerns you more–killing the baby or neglecting the dog?”
Your answer tells volumes about you.
If ending the life of the child concerns you more, you are a conservative. If neglecting to feed and care for the dog bothers you more, you are a liberal.
Diane Sawyer once spoke to the chamber of commerce’s annual banquet in the city where we were living. She gave us a memorable distinction between liberals and conservatives.
“A man is drowning a hundred yards off-shore. A conservative throws him 50 yards of rope because it’s good for him to furnish part of the effort toward his own rescue. A liberal throws him a hundred yards of rope, then turns loose of his end and calls a news conference to say ‘Look what I’ve done.'”
It is for good reason that more and more Americans are identifying themselves as independents and refusing to limit themselves to one political party. Each side has so many faults, while we may like the good points of one party and consider aligning ourselves with it, we hesitate because of all the negative baggage that position carries.
I can understand Christian people voting Democratic because that party tends to be more for the working man and against big business, they believe laws should protect the underprivileged and voiceless in our society, and they want the blessings of our system of government to apply to everyone rather than the privileged few. That’s the theory, at any rate. However, the Democratic Party also stands for abortion (freedom of choice and a woman’s reproductive rights, they call it), the homosexual agenda, and Bill Clinton.
On the other hand, I can understand Christian people voting Republican because the party stands against abortion, for “family values” (however we define them), for less government, lower taxes, and such. (I know, I know–on paper, they do.) But the Republican Party also caves in to the National Rifle Association which has lost all sense of reason in its interpretation of the Second Amendment, to big business (think Enron and ‘big oil’), and to what President Eisenhower called the ‘military-industrial complex’.
If anyone sees either party as the salvation of this nation and the other as the devil incarnate, I say you need to change your specs.
My father was a seventy-year member of the United Mine Workers Union and thus almost always voted the Democratic ticket. My mom was from a Southern farm family in Winston County, Alabama, the only county in that state that tried to secede from the State of Alabama during the Civil War, and the only Republican county in the entire state for the next century. When they went to the polls, mom and dad laughed that they canceled out each other’s vote.
For my money, the worst thing the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ can do is to identify with one political party, no matter what they believe at any given time. The Church must always have the freedom to support whoever is doing right and oppose whoever does wrong without its hands being tied.
The old saying goes, “The religion that marries the culture today becomes a widow tomorrow.”
My friend Barry Miller of Los Angeles, a Jew and rightfully proud of it, feels personally offended when a candidate for president like Mike Huckabee talks openly of his faith in Jesus Christ. “Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?” he asks.
I reply that Huckabee is neither a church nor a state. He is a Christian man who seeks to be head of state (or he did, before he dropped out of the race this week), and for that he is not required to give up his identity and his values.
We’re told that Barack Obama is a longtime member of the United Church of Christ, that Hillary Clinton is a lifelong United Methodist, and that John McCain attends a Southern Baptist church in Arizona (North Phoenix Baptist Church? I’m not sure.).
One of these three will be president of the United States for the next four and possibly eight years. Personally, I hope he or she will be a strong believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and in Holy Scripture. If so, I assure Barry he has nothing to fear from such a religious faith.
I wonder sometimes how we should pray in the matter of the presidential election.
If I say, “Lord, you choose our president; thy will be done,” it could be the Lord’s will is someone not even in the running.
If I say, “Lord, which of these three is your will?” I can imagine Him saying, “Neither one, actually.”
And if I pray, “Lord, would you choose the best leader of these three for this nation,” I wonder if the Lord’s choice might actually be the worst one from our standpoint. That is to say, what if instead of wanting to “bless” America, God decides the time has come to humble this nation because of its long history of forgetting Him and neglecting the least, the last, and the lost among us?
I find myself praying what long ago became my failsafe prayer, the one I fall back on when I do not know any other way to pray: “Father, Thy will be done, whatever that is. And give us the grace to accept it and be faithful.”
Is that conservative or liberal? Probably neither, maybe both. Mostly, it’s Christian. And that’s what I am, a Christian American man who would sure love to see this nation stand up for the little guy, defend the rights of the unborn, protect the incredible natural resources God gave us, and restore integrity in our international relationships.
It is possible to grieve over the death of that newborn baby and also to feel concern over the neglect of the family dog. You can do both, but they’re not equals, friend, not by a long shot.
Your comments are welcome below. You’re welcome to disagree so long as you are gracious.