I am neither conservative nor liberal--in fact, while I may have what many call a more "progressive" understanding of scripture, I prefer to remain neutral when it comes to politics, unless of course the issue extends into the teachings of Jesus (taxes, for example: no matter how hard I work for it, the money isn't mine; it's Caesar's. Therefore, I should have no qualms giving it back to Caesar. Jesus calls us to greater things).
However, I was reflecting recently in particular on the American political philosophy of conservatism and how it fits into the teachings of Jesus. Not saying that the American political philosophy of liberalism is any better, but it occurred to me that the philosophy of conservatism is self- and family-centered. It's all about my guns, and my rights, and my money, and what the government is doing to intrude into my life. Is this not a fair assessment?
There is an equally harsh judgment on American liberalism: for me, at least, liberalism is too wishy-washy and manipulative to accomplish any real good. We squabble over making the most amount of people happy, when in reality we lose sight of the goal that Christ has set before us.
I was discussing whether or not it is okay for Christians to join the military tonight with a (very conservative) friend of mine, and it struck me as odd how much he came back to argue about how the military has fought for "our" freedom as Americans. I feel that surely there must be something greater at work that binds us together not as nationalists, but as human beings all over the world.
The divine banner and the human banner do not go together, Tertullian writes, nor the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil.
Is this "standard of the devil" perhaps what we might consider partisan political activism?
Even more disturbing is that I have discovered that people are going to believe what they want to believe, and if this is indeed the case, no amount of intelligent, rational dialogue is going to make them understand. Do Christians ever have the right to call other Christians out? Or is this "you worship your way, I'll worship mine" mentality a uniquely American understanding? I say this because (my mom has pointed this out to me many times over my life) I can debate a topic until the cows come home. But I see that people tend to get more ferocious and less rational when they are backed into a dialogical corner, and I guess this makes me fear that almost all respectful debate is useless.
I'd like to know your thoughts.
Peace be with you,