For more than 30 years, the Christian Right has been vilified for forcing its socially conservative views on the country. Starting with Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority and then moving along to Rev. Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition, these groups had a tremendous influence on getting conservative Republicans elected, both nationally and in countless GOP primaries where the candidates were forced to fight over who was most conservative.
All along the way, Democrats and those on the political left have bemoaned the mixing of politics and religion. For more than 20 years, I’ve agreed with them at every step along the way on that point. I hated the way the Religious Right tried to use government power to force everyone to behave in their personal lives according to their own socially conservative agenda. And I hated the hypocrisy of fighting battles for allegedly Christian motives, but with tactics that would have sometimes made the devil blush with envy.
After years of telling the Christian Right how wrong it was to force its views on other people, the Christian Left has a new tactic. They’ve decided to organize politically to force their religious views on the rest of us, too.
The political organization is called Christians for Change. (You can see their promo video below.) They’ve been organized as a “Super PAC” by a group called The Christian Left. They’re not about saving souls or personally helping anybody. The group is unabashedly planning to try to force a progressive left agenda on the country.
What do Christians for Change believe? Let’s take a look at a sample from their page about their beliefs. This is the entry about “Faith in Economic Justice”:
We believe we all deserve a fair shot at the American dream and that everyone bears an equal responsibility to build and sustain this great nation. We dismiss the flawed argument that corporations are people and we reject unequal tax policies that penalize middle-class and working-class earners while rewarding greed and avarice among many of the nation’s wealthiest citizens and corporate giants.
I seem to have missed the part in the Gospels in which Jesus talked about “unequal tax policies” and the whole legal argument about corporate personhood. Does anyone recall which book that was in?
If you look at the group’s agenda, it’s clear that it’s nothing but standard progressive left ideas dressed up in religious language. Doesn’t that sound a lot like what people on their side have criticized the Religious Right for all these years?
They say this of their objective: “Our goal is to expose hypocrisy in politics and be a credible, common sense voice for progressive Christians in our nation’s political discourse.” So far, all I can see is that the Religious Left is just as hypocritical about politics as the right is. If it’s wrong for the Religious Right to advocate a non-biblical political agenda in Jesus’ name, it’s just as wrong for the Religious Left to do the same thing.
And this is the thing that bothers me the most about both sides of this insane divide. Jesus never took a political position. If you look at the things both sides believe, you won’t find any support in the Gospels for what they say is their version of the Christian agenda.
You can make a New Testament theological argument that homosexual behavior is wrong, for instance, but you cannot make a New Testament argument in favor of governments enforcing rules about it. You can make a good biblical argument in favor of all sorts of moral behaviors for individuals to choose to follow, but you can’t find any such support in the Gospels for using force to ensure that other people obey those moral laws.
You can make a New Testament argument that it’s a sin to let poor people starve, but you cannot find any support in the Gospels for taking money by force from other people to feed the poor. Jesus commanded His followers to take care of those with needs, but that command was to His followers. There’s no support for the notion that His followers are to go take money from others in order to help meet their own obligations.
The Jesus of the Gospels is starkly non-political. He encounters those who He called in very personal ways, calling them to give up the things of this world and follow Him. It’s not just misleading to say that Jesus’ words support the Religious Right or the Religious Left. It’s a lie to make either claim.
There’s no evidence that Jesus supports your coercive state, no matter which political side you fall on. If you’re trying to pretend that your own agenda is God’s agenda, I suspect you’re going to have something far worse to deal with than fighting a political battle. You’re going to have to face God’s wrath for lying about Him.
I oppose the Christian Right and the Christian Left for dragging religion into politics. But as a Christian, I’m far more upset that these deluded people are dragging the evil of the world into the church and pretending that it’s the Good News. That’s not biblical and it gets in the way of the actual Gospel that we Christians are supposed to be spreading.