Is the phrase “the religious left” an oxymoron?

From Joseph C. Phillips, writing at Big Hollywood. (H/T ECM)


Not long ago I asked a black clergyman about his (and so many others) support for candidates that write and support policy inconsistent with the tenants of Christianity. He responded by asking me, “what are Christian beliefs?” His question was neither rhetorical nor was it an invitation for my definition. Sadly it was his serious contention that the “Bible is not a unitary document but a collection of books. Which one you choose to quote and live by is a result of interpretative choice.” Alas, his explanation seems inconsistent with a Christianity that worships a unified father, son and Holy Spirit; that accepts the bible as the inspired and living word of God; that views the individual books as part of a greater whole with a unity of theme and purpose and that believes the risen Christ is the fulfillment of ALL scripture. To hold that there are no true Christian beliefs just individual opinions–and all of those equally valid-leads me to guess he purchased his diploma cheaply and on-line.

Of course this pastor is only one of many claiming to be independent – choosing their candidates on “the basis of intellect, moral compass, life experiences, sensitivity to ethnic diversity and a commitment to expanding the blessings of liberty” and yet somehow always votes for a Democrat.

[…]The excuse is that the hypocritical religious right… are too busy talking about family values and not dealing with the broader moral issues of poverty, injustice and more recently healthcare. Significantly, this has led the religious left away from preaching virtue as the way in which God empowers individuals and towards locking arms with secular leftists that preach the administrative state as the anecdote to man’s falling. For the left, redemption is to be had not through personal sacrifice and struggle, but through the redistribution of resources; not through personal discipline but through mandates for equality. It is not enough to save our neighbor we must work to save the planet.

You can see which denominations voted for Obama in this graph from Pew Research. For the record, I am an ethnic evangelical Protestant.

16 thoughts on “Is the phrase “the religious left” an oxymoron?”

  1. I too am frustrated by the Leftism of some Christianity. We see the Catholic church supporting things like illegal immigration, Amnesty, the Green movement, and even abortion in some cases (or at least they are willing to ignore it’s place in their beliefs for political unity).

    Religious Jews often are completely Liberal, seemingly ignoring their religious tenets. They wish to give away Israel, or in the very least shrug at the idea of Israel being nuked by Iran.

    Those are just 2 examples, but you can see this in many religions. Either the religious are rabidly so, or they are complete sympathizers to modern day depravity.


  2. What a tiny number of black protestants that voted for McCain! I swear I must know them all through work, ministries and blogging!


  3. That’s a very interesting analysis, Wintery. I don’t know how you would know this, other than reading the newspapers or attending services.

    Been to any where they preach “income redistribution?” I mean, the true kind that Jesus encouraged?


    1. The Bible never encourages income redistribution by government. It encourages private, voluntary charity performed by individuals. Read Philipians 4:10-20, for example. Every person has to decide for themselves to give freely to charity to the best of their ability.

      Further more, every dollar taken from individuals by a secular government is a dollar less that can be used for Christian aims, like to help people to know God. Think about what Jesus says when the prostitute uses the perfume on his feet. His disciples (like you) say “sell the perfume and give it to the poor”. But Jesus says that it is better to spend the money on him, because we’ll always have the poor. That is why I would rather have my money to spend on evangelism to honor Jesus, and not give it away to the government. I am not interested in making people feel comfortable here and now on their way to Hell. I am interested in making people feel better here and now on their way to Heaven. If I’m doing charity for the poor, I’m doing as an identified Christian.

      Moreover, when asked about commandments, Jesus says that loving God is MORE IMPORTANT than loving your neighbor. One way of loving God is not to reinterpret the gospel to consist in doing “good deeds” in public in order to be liked by others. The gospel is exclusive and divisive. It’s better to love God by being faithful to the gospel and Jesus’ claims to be the exclusive path to salvation. Don’t reinterpret the religion into a way of getting happy feelings for yourself. That’s not the point of it. The point of it is to tell the truth, and then secondarily to share with others who are in distress. When I see someone in distress, I help. But providing taxpayer funded breast implants in a single-payer health care is not supported by the Bible. I can use that money for something else as a charitable individual, and even more so as a husband and father. The government cannot spend a dollar better than a Christian can spend a dollar.

      The object of giving money away is to have an impact for Christ, not to be seen as good by others and to have good feelings. Confiscating a neighbor’s money to get a taxpayer funded abortion is bad. It’s envious, it’s stealing and it’s covetous.


      1. Amen, like you, I think it’s important to give to charity that is identifiable to Christianity.

        I have been disappointed with an organisation that I have supported for more than a decade because they changed their name to hide the Christian part! I will be moving to another charity soon.


  4. To answer: yes.

    It strongly concerns me that so many who name the name of Christ consistently side with political leaders that affirm neither His Word nor His stance on issues like life, marriage, freedom, and the family.

    Jesus, help us all.


    1. People can call themselves anything they want, but that doesn’t make them Christians. There is such a thing as a Christian worldview and it requires objective morality.I’m sure that Bill Clinton thinks he is a Christian, and that we are non-Christians because we condemn his adultery. The fact that he opposes moral judgments doesn’t make him a Christian. Quite the opposite.


  5. Objective morality? Whose, exactly? There are Christians who support war and capital punishment but hate abortion. There are others who support abortion, but hate war and capital punishment. And then there are others who don’t support abortion, except in the case of saving the life of the mother, or if she has been the victim of a rape or incest or is very young. Yet the sixth commandment says “thou shalt not kill.” There is no objectivity unless you oppose all forms of killing: war, capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia. You may indeed do that, W. But I’m guessing you support the wars and capital punishment as most conservative Christians do.

    There are also Christians who preach about Jesus as their Lord and savior and spend all their time gossiping about the sins of everyone but their own brethren. Again: is anyone truly objective?

    I would say that the very existence of a political blog says that you cannot be objective. Your views are subjective, like everyone else’s, informed by your personal notion of what objectivity is.

    The truly objective person is the one who offers no opinion, because his/her thoughts are aligned perfectly with God, and worshipping God above all else, we need to nothing else to convince the world. We are in the closet of prayer, letting our hearts attest to our worldview, which is His and His alone.


    1. Except that judging is constant in the New Testament, for those who consider the New Testament authoritative.

      For example, take 1 Corinthians, which is an indisputable, early source, written by an eyewitness to the resurrection, Paul.

      He writes in 1 Cor 6:9-11:

      9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
      10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
      11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

      And a little later in 1 Cor 6:18-20:

      18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
      19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
      20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

      Oh, Lordy? How did that get in there?

      I do not think that Christians should focus on global warming (i.e. – communism and population control), abortion, same-sex marriage and animal rights because we “have that in common with non-Christians” although it’s not Biblical, and then ignore Matthew 5, Matthew 15:19-20, Acts 15:29, Hebrews 13:4 and Romans 1, etc. That’s my view.

      I am just saying what is right and wrong in general, according to the Bible, not setting myself up as any kind of example, although I am chaste. I would definitely not say that my thoughts are innocent, so I would not boast. All of these sins, mental and physical, are harmful.


  6. PS: Being a sinner didn’t disqualify David or Paul. David had Uriah the Hittite killed and had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba. Saul slaughtered Christians. By your “obective” sense of morality, neither were “Christians.” Yet both were redeemed.

    Sure, Bill Clinton is an easy target, but how are you to know what his path is? Isn’t that between him and God?


    1. Did David sin when he committed adultery? Did God punish him? Should we all commit adultery so that we can be like David? Do you believe that sex outside of marriage is a sin?

      No one is talking about Bill Clinton’s salvation. (He isn’t saved though at this time, in my opinion) I am talking about whether what he did was a sin. It is a sin. And in general, sinning should be avoided. And especially attacking those who tell you not to sin, which he did. When you attack those who tell you about your sin, it shows ZERO repentance. Bill isn’t sorry that he sinned. He’s sorry he got caught.


  7. In answer to your questions:
    1) Yes, David sinned, and yes, God punished him.
    2) No one should commit adultery to be like anyone else. I’m not sure why you ask the question, but no. No one should commit adultery. Period.
    3) Do I believe sex outside marriage is a sin? Sure. But in a quieter way than you do. It’s not something I get on a soap box about. It more governs how I live my life than how I look at (or down on) others.
    4) Did Bill Clinton sin? Yep. And plenty of Christian conservatives. But I don’t see you stringing them up. What about Newt Gingrich? John McCain? Strom Thurmond? They all cheated on their wives. Their sins are the same as David’s. He repented. Who are you to judge whether or not they have? And why is Clinton’s sin so much more “unrepentable” than any of theirs? Moreover, why do you care?


    1. Can you condemn a sin like adultery without attacking Christians in the next breath and thereby undermining the concept of sin by saying everyone does it and therefore no one should judge? Jesus and Paul got on a soap box about fornication and adultery. They were not moderate on the issue. They judged those sins as evil and urged people away from it. Paul says that no one who does these things inherits the Kingdom of God. Are you disagreeing?

      I think the difference between us is that I want to tell the truth about God’s character and our sin. I don’t want to get along with non-Christians if it means leaving God’s concerns out. I’d rather be alone and not be liked by non-Christians. And I think that’s Biblical. My job isn’t to make non-Christians feel better about themselves because they recycle, and then have them end up separated from God for eternity. I believe in Hell. I care because that’s where people go when they think that sin is no big deal and that Christ is not needed as an atonement for sin.


  8. I don’t disagree with it, Wintery. I condemn adultery. But I don’t have a blog about it.

    And I notice you talk about Paul, but not Saul. That’s all I’m saying. You can talk about everyone being sinful, but Saul and Paul, though the same person, were not the same man. One became the other. Perhaps the difference between us it that I am interested in Saul’s transformation from sinner to follower of Christ and healer. And I think we are all cut from that cloth. The judging aspect–Christ judged but he also healed. He wasn’t just a critic. If that was his schtick, he wouldn’t have raised anyone from the dead. And Paul wouldn’t be the man he became.

    David, too, after his punishment, went on to be a great King. What does that tell us? Transformation, dude. You may not care about that, but you should.


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