When I first decided to attend a Christian university, I was excited to be surrounded by people with whom I shared a similar faith. However, within my first few days, I received anything but acceptance from students and faculty here at my beautiful university.
“You won’t be this ignorant when you grow up.”
“When I was younger I thought I could change the world too.”
“Great, another damn liberal.”
Just some of my favorite reactions.
It broke my heart that a community I had assumed shared the same core values as I, was so hateful towards me.
The labels “Democrat” and “liberal” (which are not synonymous) were thrown on me with such hate, disgust and judgement that I began to feel embarrassed of my opinions. People would insult me for things I had never thought of as negative, such as loving the poor and the LGBT, wanting equality for women and men both socially and economically, and especially for doing so in the name of Christ. Peers and professors would look at me differently after I stated an opinion they considered not “right.”
I was no longer part of their exclusive club of Christians, one that Christ wouldn’t even sponsor. After my experiences here, it seems that many Christians have lost touch with what their name really means.
I am not new to negative opinions of my beliefs. I grew up in a town and worshiped in a church where liberal was a bad word associated it with Democrats, Atheists, abortions and gay marriages. It is so odd for a group of people who claim to follow Jesus Christ to negate the term “liberal” when the God they worship established his following by being just that.
I hope that an educated population, like that of a nationally ranked university, can put aside preconceived opinions of “damned liberals” after they take a step back and look at facts.
To be a liberal means I am open to new ideas for solving old problems, something very familiar to Jesus. There is an entirely NEW testament because of Jesus, one that is full of scripture rejecting ideals that used to be widely accepted. We, as a community of believers, moved from a religion based in perfection, animal sacrifice and a God who spoke to a select few, to a faith where all we need to do is accept the love and sacrifice of Christ.
Jesus is the segue from one set of traditional values to an entirely new system.
Christ’s teachings were also pretty left, even for today’s standards. Aside from the obvious Matthew 5:21 (1) being against murder in all cases – even the death penalty – the Bible, specifically in Matthew (2), also shows Jesus was anti-war and believed in peacemaking.
Christ would also be a major supporter of welfare programs, something liberals are still fighting to protect. It is common Christian knowledge that “it will be hard[er] for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (3) arguably meaning that the bigger the gap between your bank account and the of the contents of a homeless man’s pockets, the smaller the eye of your needle.
Jesus also said that a perfect man would sell everything he owns and give it all to the poor (4). In all fairness though, we are not perfect, so as an alternative we can listen to Luke 14:13 & 14 (5). These not only acknowledge the need to give to the poor and help those who cannot help themselves but also acknowledge social equality and inclusion.
Jesus was infamous for being a friend to the socially odd, the lepers, the poor and the prostitutes. All people society considered to be wrong, sinful and dirty. If Jesus was around today he would still be found in the company of those whom his “followers” often exclude. One could say that Jesus would be a friend to the homosexuals, transgender community, murderers and the sexually “immoral”. I would even say He’s happy about the recent Supreme Court decision, but that’s just the loving God that I know.
I know that many people wouldn’t like to think of the Lord as a left-wing “hippy-espue” liberal; however, I wouldn’t want a God who was any other way.
Feed the hungry, help the poor, love your neighbor. All things that Jesus, liberals and myself proudly believe in and defend.
Now, before you judge and exile a person because of their political affiliations, ask yourself; WWJD?
- “Thou shalt not kill”
- 5:9 “blessed are the peacemakers”, 5:39 “do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other”, 5:44 “love your enemies”
- Matthew 19:24
- Matthew 19:21
- “but when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you”