Beyond Polarization

    People often say, "God is not a democrat or republican". This is a welcome change from a few years ago, when people often claimed that a Christian could only vote for a particular political party, or face the wrath of God.

    But it is not enough. That statement does not adequately deal with the depth of feeling on each side of the issue.

    Conservatives, for example, feel that liberal policies are blatantly immoral. They steal from one group to distribute to another, they advocate the death of children, etc. Opposition to the "liberals", then, is not just a political preference, but a deeply held ethical belief.

    On the other hand, liberals protest that conservatives have gutted the gospel. Jesus' statements about the poor are ignored by conservatives in favor of their wealthy constituents. Opposition to the "conservatives", then, is an attempt to deliver divine justice.

    Both are right and wrong in this. Liberals bring the realization that law does not equal ethics; whether to outlaw abortion is a different ethical question than whether abortion is good. This is something the conservatives have yet to realize. Conservatives bring the realization that the "means" are just as important as the "ends"; that every means of helping the poor is not equally right.

    There is a lot that each needs to learn from the other, as old party lines are transcended, and new social and political realities begin to form.

    What insights can you bring from your traditions?