Bigotry won’t cure bigotry

I wrote on this concept 6 years ago, you can read it here. It is brief. I learned this from my Grandpa who once told me that the left will tell you who they are by how they criticize you. This has been extremely true in the last week of our country. From the president calling Republicans fascists here, to the governor of NY saying conservatives should get out of town here, there is explicit bigotry going on. How does this connect with my point? Growing up in a left of center town, the accusation I heard from teachers and others growing up is that republicans, especially conservatives, are closed minded bigots. This last week demonstrates quite the opposite.

Why bring this up?!

A friend once said that every side has their fundamentalists. Leftism is essentially liberal fundamentalism. The poison of fundamentalism is the drive for unattainable purity leveraged for one’s own advancement, the complete silencing of any opposition even by friends, and the delusion of holding the moral high ground. Leftists of today would very much be like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. As I’ve called out issues with Christian fundamentalism, it is only fair to call it out elsewhere. Why? It is a Gospel issue.

People matter

The evil of bigotry is that it defines a person as having no value for whatever reason. This is why bigotry cannot solve bigotry, why anti-racism cannot solve racism. We grew up with the proverb that two wrongs do not make a right, or of two evils, choose neither. To treat one with bigotry is to see them as less than human. This does not end well in human history. People matter because they are created in God’s image regardless of their problems.

Silence is violence

I do not think silence is violence, but there are times when one needs to speak up. I currently reside in a “red state” for the first time in my adult life. In talking with people who swung to a right of center viewpoint from a left of center viewpoint the most often repeated phrase I hear is how open minded and accepting conservatives are. But living in a blue collar, red state for the first time in my adult life, I didn’t get the depth of such comments. Nor did I get the depth of the pain felt by the “working class.” This pain coming more to the forefront with the latest college debt discussion. We cannot function as a country if we hate half of the country.

How far is too far?

We understand and can tell how far is too far on the right, but how far is too far on the left? I would submit that once we are at the place of hate, we have gone way beyond the too far point. This is a massive sin issue that clergy should be calling out, but we are often silent under the guise of not wanting to be polarizing via politics. The left hates tens of millions of people. That is a problem, and as clergy we are tasked with calling people to repent.

Jesus gave us the answer

Jesus gave us the answer on how to solve many of these issues in Romans 12. To summarize, he calls us to be humble, to love, and to remember that vengeance is His, He will repay. The better way is the path of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. This takes seeing people as valuable and, to the best of our ability, to live at peace with all. The current state of the left is the poler opposite of this teaching. It needs to be called out. As Peter said in the first sermon of the church, “Repent… turn to God… save yourselves from this crooked generation.” What will not cure our issues is being bigoted towards half the country.

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