Wednesday, 11 March 2015

I'm a Christian Therefore I'm a Liberal

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that most religious people are conservative and support right-wing parties. For instance, 80% of white evangelical protestant voters supported the Republican Party in the 2014 US presidential elections. In a 2006 study, research showed that most UK Anglicans remain firmly on the right. I also experience this in my own Church community where almost the entire congregation supports the Conservative Party of Canada. These conservative views, often called family values, include opposition to the right to same-sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia.

The part that frustrates me the most is that it has become expected or even required from a Christian to be conservative. Christians with liberal views are outnumbered and sometimes accused of veering from the true teachings of the Bible. I have to argue that they are very wrong. I believe that not only Christians can be liberal... but rather that they should be liberal!

Let’s look at euthanasia. Most would agree that euthanasia is considered a sin in the Christian faith, as well as most religions. As a Christian, I also believe that euthanasia is wrong. Nevertheless, it's very important to make a clear distinction between what someone might deem as right or wrong vs. the right to freedom of choice, belief and religion. I have the right to believe that euthanasia is morally or religiously wrong… but that doesn't mean in any way that others don’t have the right to do that very thing that I consider very wrong!

We must also not forget that no individual or belief system holds a monopoly over the truth… I might think that euthanasia is wrong, others might think otherwise… Why should my opinion be considered more right than theirs?

What I find very remarkable is that Jesus Christ Himself advocated for the separation of Church and State and supported the freedom of choice. And yes… this even includes the freedom to sin. Jesus didn't coerce anyone to following any of His teachings. Here are some examples:

  • Separation of Church and State – "...Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." (Mark 12:17)
  • Freedom of choice – "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful..." (1 Cor 10:23)
  • Jesus reprimanded his disciples when they wanted to call down fire from heaven on the village that didn't welcome Jesus. (Luke 9:51-56)
  • Jesus spoke about His wish to gather the people of Jerusalem to believe in Him, but they weren't willing. (Matthew 23:37)

Someone might say, “That’s fine! We’ll put this into a vote, and let the vote decide. I’ll vote against it… another might vote for it… and so on.” But that’s not enough! By doing so, minorities will be deprived from their rights and freedoms. There are many examples in history were minorities’ rights were suppressed. It’s our duty to support the rights and freedoms of minorities.

So I have to argue that Christians don’t have to support euthanasia, but must support people’s right to euthanasia. The maximum that you can do is to pray for them and try to convince them against it. But in the end, it’s their choice. The same applies to other issues such as same-sex marriage. You have the right to believe that the sacrament of marriage is between a Christian man and a Christian woman and that they become one in Christ. But homosexuals have the right to demand same-sex marriage even if you think that it’s wrong!