By Graham Glover –
Last week I concluded that I am no longer a political conservative, at least by American standards. If that makes me a liberal (I’m still having a hard time digesting that realization), then I guess I’m a political liberal.
But I would be remiss in my survey of the American political landscape if I did not note the most glaring flaw in liberalism – that is, its utter disdain for God. And it is this disdain that makes me cringe every time someone calls me a liberal and why, despite my support of most of their policies, I cannot fully embrace liberalism.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that all liberals have a disdain for the Almighty. This is obviously not the case, as many liberals have a very deep faith in God, to include many Christians and yes, many Lutherans. My frustration is not with liberals, but with the philosophical foundation of the movement they represent.
This was not always the case. Liberalism used to accept and even embrace the divine. From the dawn of liberal thinking in the 17th century with John Locke, et al, to the later part of the 20th century, liberalism used to have plenty of room for faithful followers of the Lord, to include a politics that was rooted in a vaguely defined understanding of God. Sadly, I don’t think this is true any longer. Liberals may be devout in their private lives and may pay lip service to God in the public realm, but liberalism as a movement – liberalism as a philosophy, is now something that stands in clear opposition to God.
Again, it’s important to distinguish liberalism from liberals. The later may indeed be faithful, but the former has long abandoned any need for God.
This point became evident to me in early 2006 when I attended a Democratic convention in my home state of Florida. Samuel Alito had just been nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court and in between floor sessions someone came up to me and tried to put a “Block Alito, Save Roe” sticker on me. I refused, saying that I wish Roe v. Wade would be overturned, that abortion is an evil that should not be condoned, and that I am firmly pro-life. The individual trying to give me the sticker went ballistic. How can I call myself a liberal if I’m pro-life? (Never-mind the fact that we were in agreement on most every other issue.) There is simply no room for people like me (she soon found out I was a Lutheran pastor) in her party. I represent the past and on her estimation, liberalism is no longer congruent with my religion.
This may be an imperfect example, but I think it highlights the essence of 21st century American liberalism – a movement that has no interest in things divine, no understanding of an eternal truth, and a philosophy that drinks daily from the fount of relativism.
Liberalism claims it is open to any belief system, to include orthodox Christianity. But if one really believes what the one holy catholic and apostolic Church teaches, well then, liberalism doesn’t have much need for you. If pressed I think most liberals would confess their wish that our 2015 American culture should simply give up on the archaic idea of God. Humanity is the only god our politics needs, and any belief system rooted in ancient creeds, doctrines, and rituals is no longer relevant in our public discourse. Anything, especially a religion, that claims its authority supersedes that of the electorate, or the ever-changing ethic of society, is a religion that should not be tolerated.
The philosophy of tolerance – liberalism – has become tolerant only to those who reject absolute truth.
I could list example after example illustrating the claims I make above. If a liberal disagrees with me, I’d be very interested to know how today’s liberalism is truly interested in God and that which He has revealed as Truth to the world. It’s not enough to talk about God. Talking about Him is not the same thing as believing in Him. Talking about Him is not living by the laws He gives. Talking about Him is not trusting in what His Son has and continues to do for us. As much as liberalism talks about God, the only god they seem to believe, live by, and trust in is a god that liberalism defines – a god that evolves to whatever liberalism thinks it should represent.
Does this make me a conservative? Hardly. For conservatism is as equally wrong in their policies as liberalism is in its foundation.