Liberals Hate God

Many of you have no doubt heard Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s comment about liberals hating God in response to a poorly done editing job of the Pledge of Allegiance after Rory McIlroy won the US Open:

Well, I think NBC has a long record of being very liberal and at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God and a belief that government should replace God. And so they’ve had a long history of not being at all favorable toward many of things that have been such a blessing to our country…This is a systematic effort to try to separate our faith and God, which is a source in our belief in individual liberties, from our country. And when you do that you tear the heart out of our country.

These comments have resurfaced since he just won a Senate primary in Missouri to take on Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in November. I, obviously, think Akin is wrong. I think he has fundamentally misunderstood classical liberalism and has taken part in a convenient revisionist form of history when he talks about the founding of this country (hear his defense of his comments here).

Yet, as much as I think Akin and people like him represent a danger to the religious freedoms that we all hold so dear, I have to be honest about where some of the blame lies. To a large extent, liberals are to blame. We have essentially given in to the idea that conservatives have a lock on religion in this country and, for whatever reason, have not systematically and emphatically pushed back against comments like this.

Our pushback, though, can not simply be repudiating his comments, but must also tell the story that exists for so many liberals – we are politically and socially liberal precisely because of our religion. We subscribe to the outlandish idea that Jesus may have actually meant what he said about helping the poor, the widows, the outcasts, and about the love of money being the root of all evil.

This is not in an attempt to somehow make religion the exclusive domain of liberals, but to make sure that it is the exclusive domain of no one. Liberals are, to be sure, a bit more reluctant to talk about their religious or spiritual convictions in the public sphere, but I believe open communication of this sort is necessary if we are going to be a country that truly values everyone’s religious beliefs (and those without any beliefs), if we are going to be a country that fights to uphold the separation of church and state (as enshrined in our Constitution), and if we are going to be a country where comments like Akin’s are recognized by everyone, liberal and conservative alike, as absurd and baseless.

Conservatives have, thus far, written the dominant narrative that says only those who are really conservative care about God and everyone else is out to destroy God and make sure that no one in this country can worship God. We know that isn’t true, but it’s up to us to begin to offer a different narrative, one that is true, one that is honest about those with whom we disagree, and one that represents the best that America has to offer.

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6 thoughts on “Liberals Hate God

  1. I, for one, think Jesus would’ve been quite liberal if born today. Can’t you just imagine the parable of Jesus and the Mexican?

    Where others turn their backs and leave him lying in some Arizona highway gutter, Jesus would lift him up and give him water, saying something like “there are no borders beyond those God has set forth. Be free.”

    And somewhere, Sean Hannity and all the others who distort God into an instrument of hatefulness and bigotry all get locusts on their crops. So there.

  2. Thomas, above you said, “We subscribe to the outlandish idea that Jesus may have actually meant what he said about helping the poor, the widows, the outcasts, and about the love of money being the root of all evil.”
    Adam, in his comment, said, “I, for one, think Jesus would’ve been quite liberal if born today.”

    The problem with comments like these is that they often imply that using the government to help the poor and needy is what Jesus called for. There are certainly conservatives out there who are opposed to big government but who still believe that it is each individual Christian’s duty to help the poor and needy through private means. I just want to make sure that we don’t conflate Jesus’ command to serve the needy with the liberal ideal that we should use the government specifically to serve the needy.

    On the other hand, I absolutely agree that a love of money does seem to drive many conservative policies, and such an attitude is clearly against the teachings of Jesus. There is also the problem of conservatives claiming that help for the needy should come from individuals, not the government, and then doing nothing at all to personally help the needy once government programs are cut or tax cuts start rolling in. And I don’t even need to elaborate on how troubling some conservative politicians’ love of Ayn Rand is for the Christian.

    Thomas, you probably know that I am rarely accused of being too politically conservative. My comment is mainly some self-reflection on how we Christian liberals make our case.

    1. Your point is a good one, but it also leads to discussions of many other topics. There is, for instance, a fundamentally different belief in what exactly “sin” is between “conservatives” and “liberals,” with many “liberals” believing that “sin” is something that often happens systemically, i.e. that a government can be guilty of “sin” by the way it treats its citizens, its enemies, etc.

      Further, if “liberal” Christians believe it is our responsibility to help the poor, the needy, etc. why not try to use every means necessary? Certainly, I think a much stronger case can be made, from a Christian perspective, for government money going to help the poor than for government money going to fund an ever-increasing Military Industrial Complex.

      1. Interestingly enough, certain conservative Christian groups do seem to think that we can sin as a nation, and so they talk about how our nation is being judged or punished in some way for allowing abortion and/or for attitudes that favor homosexuality.

        I think it is perfectly reasonable for a liberal Christian to strive to use the government to help the needy. However, a conservative Christian could argue that liberal economic policies are harmful to a nation’s economy, or that liberal policies are just bad for the “spirit” of a nation, and so we should help the needy through private means while limiting government as much as possible. Such an argument would not by nature oppose or contradict the teachings of Jesus. Conservatives could also argue that Jesus did not encourage the use of the government to help the needy. I just want to make sure that, as Christians, we leave a space for all economic or political perspectives, as long as those perspectives do not inherently contradict the message of Jesus’ teachings. The desire for small government is obviously not inherently contradictory to Jesus’ message.

        I certainly agree on your last point. However, let’s not forget the libertarians that would also defund the military industrial complex.

        1. And, of course, that is just my desire, that non one gets to claim a monopoly on religion, or Jesus, or Christianity, or Islam, etc. Though, I do enjoy the religious arguments and, obviously, think my current perspectives are right, hence my subscribing to them.

          1. Thomas, how dare you claim that your perspective is “right”? We don’t need any more of that modernist hate speech, throwing around terms like “true” and “right”, marginalizing those opinions that may not align well with the “facts”. Why don’t you go back to the first half of the twentieth century where you belong?

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