Coming Out of the Closet

Not that way, ya pervert!  Not that there’s anything wrong with that (right, babe?).  No, I’m talking about politically and religiously.  This has been brewing for quite a while, but today, I finally admitted it: I’m a liberal.  I can you hear now, “So, you’re a liberal.  What’s the big deal?”  You don’t understand; 25 years ago, I was a dedicated, Republican Cold Warrior and a dyed-in-the-wool Reagan conservative.  Now, listening to the Republicans speak makes my skin crawl.  What the hell happened?

I’m not going into my full political history right now.  I’ll just say the seeds this change was sown in the 90’s; they sprouted during the Bush years and reached full bloom lately with the rise of the Tea Party and Glenn Beck.  While those events provided the impetus for the change, the real motivator was the fact that I really began to study the Bible and learn about my faith.  To steal a line from a commenter on the Stuff Christians Like blog said today, my “mind simply cannot fathom how someone can be a Christian and not think that everyone has the right to means-tested food, shelter, education and healthcare.”  I really liked that.  I will say I’m still not a big fan of big government or government assistance programs, but I don’t see welfare queens on every corner and every homeless panhandler isn’t trying to get over on me. 

In the SCL blog I referenced above, Rachel Evans (one of favorite writers guesting on SCL) pointed out some ways that Progressive Christians show their progressive bent.  I couldn’t really identify them, so I thought up some of my own.

  • Fox News makes me itch.  Not only Fox, but Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and every other “conservative” pundit on the air, the web or in print.  These people aren’t conservative; they’re shills for the Republicans.  Even Beck (maybe especially Beck), who claims to be a Libertarian. 
  • I’ve taken Fair-trade to a new level.  Starbucks?  Pshhht, they’re pretenders.  I have friend who has direct connections with growers.  He gets raw beans, roasts them himself and passes on them to others at cost.  Two advantages to this: 1) I get to look down on all you Starbuck’s drinkers and 2) while it’s not a half-caf, soy mocha latte, it’s way cheaper and I’m kind of a tight wad sometimes.
  • Agreeing with Jim Wallis and Bono.   There was a time when, while I loved U2 the band, I thought Bono was a tool.   And, Jim Wallis, had I known of him then, would’ve been a damn commie.  Now, while I think both can get a little carried away at times, I find myself agreeing with more and more of what they say.
  • I actually wrote a post called “Social Justice is a Code Word”.  Again, there was a time when I would’ve screamed “COMMUNISM!!!” at this idea.  Now, I not only like it, I embrace it enough to go on record. 

Those are some of the ways my liberalism is coming to the surface.  I’m not quite a full-blown, card-carrying liber…, ur, progressive yet.  Here are a few ways I’m still holding out on.

  • I can’t stand NPRMy God, it’s so boring!!!  Molly Shannon and Anna Gasteyer used to do a skit on SNL called “Delicious Dish” which was supposed to be a parody of an NPR show.  They were so monotonous and boring it was hilarious.  The only problem was it wasn’t so much a parody as an imitation.  A damn good one, too.
  • I refuse to buy any Apple products.  I don’t know if this really a liberal thing, but all my more liberal friends and acquaintances think Steve Jobs sits at the right hand of God, so I’m counting it.  I just don’t like Apple.  They’re overpriced toys and Jobs is a jerky control freak and I don’t like Apple.  Nothing redeeming to say here.  Did I say I really don’t like these guys?
  • I’m not that big a fan of Sojourners magazine.  I want to be.  I want to be so into it that I have a subscription.  But, I don’t.  They just don’t move me.  Sorry, Jim

Looking at these lists, I’m really kind of a lukewarm liberal.  But, don’t think that means I’m going to back slide.  No, the conservative side of Christianity has never really fit me.  I think the Gospel is good news for everybody, everywhere; regardless who you sleep with, where you live or what you believe.