Is the Left the New Christian Right?

Jason Micheli —  August 18, 2017 — 4 Comments

I’ve invited some friends and colleagues to share their thoughts about Charlottesville, race, and our political discourse here on the blog over the coming days.

I thought I’d use the blog to create space for differing perspectives tempered by patience and hospitality- what I seldom see in our self-selected social media echo chambers, especially at this (rightly) heated cultural moment.

That my friend did not feel comfortable sharing his name with his reflection underscores, I think, the damage we so often do in our online fury.

This is from E:

“A few thoughts based on some recent events but, more importantly, based some of the commentary I’ve seen.

For obvious reasons, I’d be censored for saying this to anyone but you, in private, a friend. I think there has to be, in general, less self-righteouss fury on the left, not over this incident in particular (all should go for it, here) but in general.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that the left, especially those who are white, upper, middle-class, have tried to co-opt these 400 years of oppression toward especially African Americans and Native Americans (but, in general, minorities or any new immigrant group in general) in any which way they can, usually funneling it into their own myopic agendas concerning other “oppressed” groups.

I wonder if we need fewer white people posting things on Facebook, exuding this pseudo-fury and self-congratulatory fervor, and more reconciling themselves to a very real history in and through the Euchrarist and the bravery Eucharist calls for in the world: to love and reconcile ourselves to all our neighbors.

In this case, there must be an invitation toward reconciliation as we cannot reconcile in the same mode that we oppressed:

Through demand.

Here’s what I think might be important: let’s listen for once.

After all, it’s mostly my white, upper-class friends who insist on their world-views with the whitest of male attitudes (the worst name you can call someone on the left right now):

with a desire to conquer and dominate those who disagree genuinely.

There’s the double irony in the left’s demand that white people should shut up in that the demand insists on talking the whole time and reframing the issue around an image of looking progressive.

I’d also add that, in the name of progress, we enslaved, saving “sub-human animals” from themselves–a very real way that progressives of one era thought. We did the same with Native Americans. In other words, I’m a little suspicious of anything done in the name of progress, at least with the unbridled moralisms in which such agendas are pursued today.

If I haven’t been offensive enough-

I also have a feeling that the left is the new Christian right.

The left is the new Christian right in its willingness to censor and despise for its narrowly moralistic worldview. Hence, I have to write you, a fellow truth-seeker and conversation partner–one who I know can converse with me on these points rather than merely get angry–in private so that I don’t get ostracized by a group of people that I sincerely disagree with and, nonetheless love, like at one and the same time.

Can the contemporary progressive, leftist, or liberal offer me the same?

I fear not.”

Jason Micheli


4 responses to Is the Left the New Christian Right?

  1. Here is my response to many on all sides of the issue: The Great “I Am” Incarnate
    By Bill Foster
    Jesus was no politician.
    He refused to be defined by or confined to the arena of popular public opinion, or ballots cast in polling places. He wouldn’t allow labels like “liberal,” “moderate” or “conservative” to be applied to his life and ministry like some kind of bumper sticker proclamation or words on a sign carried at protest rallies.
    Instead, He was the great “I Am” incarnate. A mixture of pure holiness and human brokenness — Emmanuel … God with us in flesh and blood.
    He was and is the ultimate renaissance man from an earlier era. The renewal and revival Jesus brought and continues to bring was not one of art and literature, but instead was a lasting eternal awakening and transformation of mind and soul that spilled over into life itself and survives the ages.
    His message was and is the same for oppressed peasants in the fields as it was for the wealthy rulers in the palaces and the religious leaders in the temples of worship. It was the same message shouted out by the prophet John in the wilderness … “repent and believe.”
    When it comes to knowing and experiencing the lasting peace of healing, wholeness and emotional, mental, physical and spiritual restoration, Jesus was and is an “equal opportunity provider” who transcends the narrow confines of political allegiance and alliance. His message was the same for rich and poor, “liberal,” “moderate” or “conservative” … “independent,” “Democrat,” or “Republican.”
    Jesus wasn’t surrounded by a cabinet of advisors, political spin doctors, or fundraising experts. Instead He was the friend and mentor to those who responded to the reality ofhis lasting life-sustaining message. His “inner circle” of believers came from all walks of life … fishermen, tax collectors, shepherds and others. His “base” and audience was anyone who would hear and respond to His message.
    The fact that Jesus was not political and was the personification of a much more enduring and eternal truth, is what got him killed. His death is the tragic human side of the story mired in the politics of the day.
    Jesus irritated, annoyed, and angered both the political and the religious leaders to such an extent that they no longer could tolerate what he taught and lived, because it became a threat to their power and authority.
    However, Jesus didn’t remain dead, that is the joyous divine side of the plan and plot of the story.
    The reality of Jesus’ restorative and tranformative power survived the assaults upon it by the worldy power brokers of his day and we are still recipients of the truth of that power that continues to enter into the brokenness of our human story today.
    It’s a power that has the potential and promise to close the gaps of pain, suffering, hatred and division promoted within the realm of political brokenness.
    To follow Jesus now is the same as it has always been … to step into a old/new spiritual renaissance led by the “great I Am” the Master transformation agent Himself … Jesus the Christ.

  2. So far the left has yelled, demanded and judged a lot, but I have yet to see any domestic terrorism, for lack of a better word, committed in the name of broadly left-wing agendas. It could happen, but so far the “I’m-gonna-make-my-politics-loud-and-clear” shooters have been representing what I see as issues dear to the American right:
    the right to bear arms, pride in our Christian/European heritage, protection of American values from outsiders, suspicion of feminism, etc.
    That makes this post a little hard to swallow even as I appreciate that demanding things doesn’t lead to reconcilliation. I don’t think “progress” is a Christian thing at all and I affirm that at times it’s just violence dressed in a business suit or a lab coat. How about a positive statement? Confession IS part of the Christian language of reconciliation. What needs to be confessed about driving trucks into protestors? What aspects of our culture enabled Dylann Roof? It’s easy and vague to say that “both sides have their issues” or “left wing is the new right wing” as a way of trying to set up a stalemate based on equivalency. Unfortunately, in the wake of what has been happenning recently, this implies that you think the often-times demanding tone of progressive Christian speech is just as bad as murder.

    It would be more truthful say that the speech of Christians of both political persuasions has sadly implied that we ought to be playing a zero sum game for control over this nation, and sympathizers of the right wing, not necessarily Christians, tend to follow through to the extreme. I think that the very character of the argument helps to legitimate domestic terrorism, but its important not to miss the fact that in the current context, this particular form of violence-as-speech is rising out of the ideological projects of the American right, rather than the left. (That is to say nothing of abortions or drone strikes, which are poorly justified violent projects of the left).

  3. Hate wears jackboots and hate can wear Birkenstocks, too.
    There is no substitute for the gospel which goes to the root of all things, straight through the heart. Does that mean we do not have laws, that we do not seek justice?
    These exist to restrain evil and to promote good.
    Still, there is a higher calling issued by Jesus and it may well place us in-between rather than either side of any issue.

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