It really is gratifying to know that there are conservative Christians out there with integrity. It gives me hope that we can find common ground, that some of them are critical thinkers instead of brain-washed zombies (Oops! Did I say that out loud?).
This week, over 200 students and faculty at Brigham Young University protested Dick Cheney’s upcoming commencement speech at the school. Apparently, they are asserting that he is not a good role model for today’s youth because he lied about the WMDs in Iraq in order to support going to war.
I am increasingly heartened by the fact that more and more conservative Christians are starting to think. They are starting to realize that they have been used as a political football. There are many who are starting to realize that there are more important issues than the ones that divide the nation. There are many moral issues on which all of us can unite and agree.
David Kuo is the perfect example. In his book Tempting Faith, Kuo speaks out about the hypocrisy of the Bush Administration and its lack of commitment to end poverty in this country. He was a White House insider working with President Bush on “faith-based initiatives,” and reports in his book that Republicans were really only interested in working with Christians in order to out law abortion rights and civil rights for queers. Kuo’s priority is economic justice, and he articulated an experience of being ignored, lied to, and promises not being fulfilled.
I think that most intelligent and truly compassionate people at the end of the day can recognize that it is important that a family have food on the table, that a homeless man have a warm and safe bed and an opportunity to go to rehab, that an illiterate adult learn how to read, that senior citizens who live alone be visited, that large corporations be held accountable for the pollution they cause in the communities where they have factories, that we all take responsibility to leave a lighter foot print on the planet so that it will be here for our children tomorrow.
There are issues about which people will likely always disagree, those being about abortion and homosexuality. It is interesting that these very divisive issues are about very private and personal matters. I think that perhaps as Christians, whether progressive or conservative, if we focus on the issues that effect all of us in the same way, finding common moral ground will be easier and our priorities clearer.
This may be a total pipe dream. I run from conservative Christians. I don’t know how to talk to them. They scare me. Really. They freak me out. I admit, I’m rather intolerant, and maybe even prejudiced. But I am interested in finding common ground. I’m committed to learning about what informs conservative Christian politics and seeing where there may be intersections. It’s my faith, too, and perhaps part of my effort to reclaim it will involve an effort to understand more about Christians whose politics are so different from my own.