These Christians

November 2, 2011

Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.

-Barry Goldwater, November 1994

I have seen this quote around the internet quite a bit the last week or so with many liberals doing the “See!! Even crazy Goldwater thinks the Tea Party is crazy!!” schtick. My big beef with this is the line “these Christians”. That statement seems a little to close to “those Arabs” when talking about terrorist plots.

It is too easy to say “those Christians” when liberals talk about the Tea Party and/or Republicans, but that falls into the same trap that the media likes to use, panting large audiences with the big sweeping brush. I call myself a liberal and our family makes it to church barring illness and travel most Sundays. Our church spends a lot of time and effort reaching out to the community and raising money for projects around the world, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

It is that last line that gets so many liberals upset. “Why does it have to be for Jesus?” they ask. I know I had that feeling for many years when growing up. But a lot of that comes from either not knowing or not understanding what the Bible actually says. Simplified down quite a bit, Jesus says love your neighbor and to do as he did. And he did good works on Earth. This isn’t rocket science: be good people, think of others and help when you can.

When it really came down to it for me, when I reflected on my personal thoughts about faith and God, I realized that the things I would want in a God are being good, thinking of others and helping when you can. Then when I spent the time weeding through the cruft that people put on top of Jesus’s message, accepting him as God made a lot of sense.

So what does all that have to do with “those Christians”? Two things, first, not all Christians are “Bible thumping morons who have closed minded ideas” and two, if you have never spent much time reading, listening and talking about the Bible, there might be a lot that you didn’t realize was there. If you are in the Iowa City area, I also invite you to our church, the First United Methodist Church. Every week I leave church feeling recharged for the week, and each week the message reiterates that we are here for a reason, and it isn’t just about ourselves.