I sometimes hear liberals saying that people shouldn’t mix their religion up with their politics, and I don’t see how a religious person can avoid doing this. When you grow up in a religion, it shapes your values, and almost everyone votes according to her values. Growing up Christian made me a lifelong liberal.
Now, I don’t think the Bible is an infallible guide to ethics. It’s impossible for me to think that, because the Bible condones a lot of terrible shit. Even the New Testament says stupid things, like women shouldn’t speak in church. What can we expect? It was written by guys 2,000 years ago, then edited by other guys who decided to leave out things like the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Nobody’s been allowed to add to or re-edit it since, as though no one can be divinely inspired anymore.
People sometimes tell me I can’t pick and choose what to follow in the Bible, which is hilarious, because everyone does. For instance, I don’t know one Christian personally who has sold all of her belongings and given the money to the poor. I’m mostly just interested in the things Jesus did and said, as far as we know. Here’s how I feel about some of the biggest issues, based on my religious beliefs.
ABORTION ““ Abortion was legal under Roman law and a common practice in Jesus’s time. He didn’t say anything about it, and the Bible doesn’t say anything about it anywhere (except maybe in Numbers, where I think it may recommend it in a certain instance, but I’m not positive I’m reading that passage right”¦ see what you make of it).
Does this in itself prove to me that abortion is fine? Not really, because the Bible seems to think slavery was fine. Honestly, I have no idea when a fetus becomes a human being.
Since God gave me a brain and fingers with which to Google, though, I know that outlawing abortion won’t stop it. Denmark has a lower rate of abortion than the United States, even though abortions in the first twelve weeks are free. In Colombia, you can go to prison for three years for having an abortion, and their abortion rate is about twice that of the United States. The only thing a law can do is outlaw abortions that are safe for women.
With all this in mind, I vote to let women make their own decisions about abortion, and I support initiatives that strike at what I think are the root causes of many abortions: poverty; the lack of a safety net to ensure all our babies and little kids have food, safety, and shelter; lack of access to contraceptives; rape and sexual coercion; and shame. Anyone who votes to make sure these remain problems is not actually anti-abortion.
HOMOSEXUALITY ““ Jesus said nothing about it, and his main commandment, “Love one another,” hardly prohibits it. Moreover, he always, always stood up for marginalized and bullied people. Most of the verses in the Bible supposedly decrying homosexuality are actually talking about child rape and child prostitution in the original Greek.
There’s no good reason for this to be an issue for so many Christians. There are way more Bible verses about how you shouldn’t get drunk. Why aren’t conservative Christians trying to reinstate Prohibition instead?
I have never in my whole life believed it was wrong to be gay, probably because as a child, I was so enchanted by the love story of David and Jonathan.
TAXES ““ Oh yes! Jesus talked about this! Someone tried to get him to say they shouldn’t have to pay taxes to the Romans, and he said, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” This ought to be enough to keep any Christian from whining too much about taxes.
Would Jesus approve of lower tax burdens for the rich than for the middle class? Not a chance. Jesus said a lot of bad things about wealthy people who didn’t help the less fortunate–enough to make this middle-class lady pretty uncomfortable. Helping the poor was one of his favorite topics, along with “don’t be judgmental.”
UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE – Jesus healed sick people. As an example of how people ought to behave, he told a story about a guy finding a beaten-up foreigner in a ditch and paying for him to be nursed back to health. He told this story in response to someone asking, “Who is my neighbor?” or basically, “Who do I have to care about?” Yeah, this issue is a no-brainer.
WAR ““ Turn the other cheek. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. Jesus was a complete pacifist. I am not, but I know it’s not Christian of me. I am apt to question military action, at least.
THE ENVIRONMENT ““ Here I disagree with many Christians on the interpretation of Genesis, which is not a story I take at all literally. God gives humans dominion over the earth. Some people think this means we can do whatever we want to it. I think it’s more like your mom handing you the keys to her Porsche: she wants you to have a blast, but she’s putting a lot of trust in you, and she doesn’t want you to go wreck it, okay? Especially with all the future generations riding in the back seat!