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EH

Where Liberalism and Conservatism Meet the Bible

Faith in America is currently at a point of high tension. Whether it’s discussions on if Muslims are being banned or if Christians are trying to reverse political policies that are seen as civil liberties, it currently seems as if faith and politics just can’t mix.

This view, however is incorrect. What I’ve noticed as I watch people that pick positions on almost any topic it seems that people are almost always polarized. They choose one extreme or the other. The problem with this is that from when I read the Bible and then I see the positions often given, the right path is very often found in the blending of the two extremes. Interestingly enough, when you choose the middle, both the sides view you as radical.

Specifically I have two things I’m interested in discussing: Social justice and moral justice.

Moral justice is the cry of the conservative republican party. If the Christian faith could be a political party, it would likely be associated with the republican party (Spoiler Alert: The Christian faith is not and will never be a political party). You will often hear them talking about preventing issues that they feel are issues of moral obligation. This includes: sexuality, abortion, drugs, and illegal immigration.

Social justice is tightly championed by the liberal democratic party. They will often be promoting the legalization of things they feel are social issues, this includes: Healthcare and rights for minorities and the disenfranchised (typically based on race, gender, sexuality or religion).

While I haven’t pointed out and don’t support all of the issues by either party, I think the importance in the midst of our current political atmosphere is to challenge those who believe they are Christians to think through the fact that Jesus calls His followers to both moral and social justice, not just one or the other. This means that you probably won’t make friends with any existing political party and you will likely be highly criticized. But what we have to ask ourselves is how we choose to manage Jesus’ commands in the political sphere. We can’t say that Jesus’ moral demands must be lived out in the political sphere, but that his social demands are up to the individual. The definition of integrity is “the quality of being complete or undivided.” I believe in order for us as Christians to have political integrity, we must either put both the moral issues (abortion, sexuality, etc) and the social issues (health, provision, care, etc) on the individual and leave it out of politics or we must engage both the moral and the social issues in the political sphere, regardless of what that may do to our own personal comfort and wealth.

I believe that if we choose as Christians to either leave the moral issues to the individual’s choice (like most democratic Christians) or the social issues to the individual’s choice (like most republican Christians), then we are in fact not living in complete political integrity with our faith.

Does that mean I have the answers to what political choices we should make are? Absolutely not! I’m praying, seeking and trying to discern what I believe the right choices are. I challenge you to do that same. Pray hard, seek deep, and live with integrity as you choose your political issues wisely and not because that’s what everyone around you does.

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