Friends of Padre Steve’s World
Another little introduction to me for those who may be new to my writings and this site. Somewhere along the path from being a lifelong conservatism to a moderate I got labeled as a liberal, which in much of our society is a dirty word. At one time this upset me, especially at the beginning where I tried vainly to cling to some vestiges of conservatism while moving steadily left.
I got labeled with the “L” Word. no, not the Lesbian one, the other less socially acceptable one, the Liberal label…and to tell the truth though I consider myself somewhat moderate I actually fall very much on the Liberal side of the political and religious spectrum.
It actually surprised me when I figured it out. To tell the truth I don’t know how it happened. I cheered the demise of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Mike Dukakis and even Al Gore. I listened to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz and other Right Wing talkers as much as I could. Back in 2006 years ago I was still defending “W” against what I thought were unfair assaults from the left, and I enjoyed liberal bashing, I thought it was fun.
But a funny thing happened between 2004 and now, I think it was a place called Iraq, where I began to question the unquestionable questions of conservative orthodoxy in a number of forums. I became one of those nasty liberals.
I think being a moderate, for those who really are moderates, is really a tricky thing. Back when I was in seminary during the pre-Fundamentalist takeover of Southwestern Baptist Seminary I remember hearing a big name Fundamentalist preacher say that “middle of the road moderates were only good to be run over.” One of my professors who would be a casualty of the takeover of the seminary said that for many in the Southern Baptist Convention of the time that “Liberal means anyone to the left of me.”
Now I confess, unlike a lot of people who get more conservative as they get older, that when they get older I have become more liberal and progressive and openly so, and that has come at some personal cost. When I worked up the guts to openly state that I questioned political conservative orthodoxy almost five years ago I got thrown out of the church that I was ordained.
As a Liberal here are some of the things that I believe:
I believe in free speech and the right to it even for those whose causes I disagree. In fact I have defended that right for over 32 years as a military officer. That being said, I do prefer that people not be hateful when they shout off their mouth. Strong opinions are one thing, being hateful, rude and disrespectful is another.
I believe that racism is still alive and well and that Jim Crow lives, thus the job of the Civil Rights movement is not done. The fact that the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and that some states, especially in the South, but not excluding Republican controlled states like Michigan are doing their damnedest to make it difficult for blacks, the elderly, the poor, students and other minorities who might vote for Democrats cannot vote, shows me that Jim Crow is not dead.
I believe that gays and lesbians should have the same right to marriage and civil rights that heterosexuals have and I rejoiced at the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergfell v. Hodges. Likewise I believe that those in public office who refuse to carry out the law should not hold their positions. I understand this because as a military officer for over 32 years I am sworn to defend the Constitution and uphold the laws of the land for all people, even those that I may disagree with.
I believe that the bankers and the Wall Street people who practically destroyed the economy back in late 2008 should be in jail.
I believe that multinational corporations that enjoy the benefits of all this country offers and that the taxpayers provide should pay their fair share of taxes instead of being allowed to make their money here and shelter it offshore.
I believe that the environment matters and that we should do all that we can to protect it.
I believe that we should heavily invest in our infrastructure, health care systems and public education.
I believe that the poor, minorities, the elderly and others with no power need the help and protection of the government from predatory businesses, banks and others that would seek to impoverish them even more.
I believe that there is a place for strong organized labor to protect the rights of people who either produce the goods or provide the services that make others rich and this nation prosperous.
I believe that the leaders of the Bush administration who took us to war in Iraq are war criminals and would have hung at Nuremberg if Justice Robert Jackson had had them in the dock. As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom I believe that they are in large part the most responsible of the current chaos in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State.
I believe that we need to take a hard look at our foreign policy and as Ulysses S Grant told us:
“As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation, in the quarrels between different nations or between governments and their subjects. Our course should always be in conformity with strict justice and law, international and local.”
I believe that Fox News lies when it calls itself “fair and balanced” and that much of what it airs is nothing more than political propaganda designed to help its political allies and keep people riled up against that black man in the White House.
I believe that the crass social Darwinism of the followers of Ayn Rand is evil and needs to be called what it is and condemned by those who call themselves Christians.
Likewise, speaking of Christians I believe that many American Christians have sold their faith to political hacks that call themselves pastors or religious leaders while pocketing the money of their followers laughing all the way to the bank.
I do not believe that the United States was founded as a “Christian” nation, too many of the founders made that clear.
I believe that we as a society have a responsibility to care for the least, the lost and the lonely.
I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter.
If that makes me a liberal so be it. I will wear the label with pride.
While I am okay with people that disagree with me and will support their right to do so because it is a free country, I won’t be bullied by anyone.
Have a wonderful day.