Bible-thumping reactionary lefties r us

Somebody is reading my column. Other than you, I mean. I couldn’t believe it either at first, but it’s true. Christians on an internet messageboard say I’m too liberal, that I don’t give conservatives (or Conservatives) a fair hearing and that I only push a leftist agenda. I don’t mind admitting to you that that hurt. My copy of Das Kapital is still slightly soggy from the abundance of tears shed upon it, my Che Guevara t-shirt irrevocably torn and ash-stained from the rending it received during a particularly rough tooth-gnash. Honestly, where do people get these ideas from? Funnily enough, last week’s news reflected the left-right divide, in the form of an interview on the BBC with the founder of Conservapedia, an evangelical Christian alternative to the collaborative internet encyclopaedia, Wikipedia.

Let me put my cards on the table: I think the Wikipedia concept (articles are written and edited by anyone who thinks they know about the subject) is like cheating on an exam by copying a random stranger’s work. It’s cool and it’s easy, but it might get you punched in the face and laughed at by teachers.

But it’s in philosophy rather than reliability where Conservapedia takes issue with its older bother. Wikipedia does not use the terms AD or BC for historical dates. It uses non-American spelling and some entries are critical of (for some very selective reason) American policy in the Philippines. The liberal within me (have you seen Alien? It’s a lot like that) wants to poke fun. Instead, for balance’s sake, I did some research.

I checked Conservapedia for information on some Christian bands. Matt Redman, Graham Kendrick, DC Talk, The OC Supertones, and a bunch of others had no listings at all. They all appeared in Wikipedia and they all had pages of information dedicated to them, none of it anti-Christian. More telling was the Conservapedia entry about Wikipedia, which said that its administrators , not being American, are ‘extraordinarily stupid and should not be allowed to access such sites, or indeed the internet at all.’ To me that says a lot.

But of course, I would say that. I’m a liberal. I looked the term up in Conservapedia. Apparently, I believe in gun control, equal gender rights, distributing wealth from the rich to the poor, rehabilitating criminals, taxes to pay for medical care and public school, protection of endangered species, disarmament and reduced military spending. Guilty. But I also apparently support abortion and the prohibition of prayer in schools, and that just isn’t true. Labels such as liberal and conservative are fun for the sake of comedy and useful political shorthand, but they should not define us.

If my belief that Jesus is the only way to be saved (to the exclusion of other religions), my exclusivist right and wrong morality or my perception that much of the media is in fact prejudiced against an absolutist faith such as mine get me expelled from the lefty club, so be it. And if believing that the poor of the world need more help, that an economic system based of greed and self-interest will not help them and that we cannot expect non-Christians to behave by Christian standards makes me fail the evangelical litmus test, I don’t mind being called a pinko. I think I’m with Edward R Murrow in the film Good Night and Good Luck, where he responds to a question about his journalistic neutrality, saying: ‘I simply cannot accept that there are, on every story, two equal and logical sides to an argument.’ In a world where hundreds of thousands are dying without Jesus because of poverty, ignorance and injustice, left and right are less important than just standing up.

(this column is from the Baptist Times issue of 14 March 2007. To Buzby and the other guys on the message board– I really do love you guys and I don’t mean to make you angry. We’re gonna be in heaven together, so we might as well get along. That said, thanks for keeping me focused and questioning my own bias. And thanks for making me think about the left-right divide this week. God Bless you guys! keep talking!) 


4 Responses

  1. Great post. You make great points regarding politics and faith. God bless, brother.

  2. You might find that a few militant secular atheists also read this blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: