Christianity – Faith By Choice

Mary - Palm Beach County, Florida
Entered on October 4, 2008

I am sometimes grieved, but more often baffled by believers who support a political party based on the “issue of choice for abortion”, or “morals”. Are we reading the same Bible? I am by any reasonable account a fundamentalist in my beliefs. I worship in a congregation which observes, embraces, cultivates, if not compels adherence to the most restrictive interpretation and application of Biblical principles to daily life living.

No – lipstick; not on a pit bull, or on a pig! Many of us were raised in this congregation, but I embraced this lifestyle as an adult. We count among our most beloved friends, a prominent Jewish family, who endowed a scholarship fund in the names of their family matriarch and a church member who once served the family as a maid.

So why do I support a liberal agenda, while “conservative Pro Life” leaders herald “Republicanism”, as the only option for a Christian? It would be easy to dismiss their radicalism as bigotry; in much the same way as did Senator John McCain when he described the Religious Right as, “Agents of Intolerance”. They capture headlines, empty lives, and guilt ridden consciences, but mainly political power by offering the redemption of Republican Radicalism. And once attained, the use of that political power and influence peddling is virtually indistinguishable from the people and policies they derail as morally inferior. I believe that the Religious Right will negotiate and compromise to advance their political agenda. Intolerant, they are not; in fact, upon closer observation, these political coverts are chameleons. Yes, I dare say it. But the facts support it. When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King employed the power of a prayerful people to promote civil rights, the Southern Baptist and other Religious Rights groups denounced his actions by decrying that “citizens should obey the laws of the land”. In the 1970’s when women demanded equality, the Religious Right responded that “a women’s place was in her house – – not the U S House (of Representatives), Remember Phyllis Schafley. Schafley travelled the globe denouncing feminism as anti Christian. I believe that most women then and now work outside of their homes to meet economic necessities, rather than for social or political reasons. Remember when the ‘morally unfit”, that is, homosexuals, unwed mothers and multiple spouses belonged in the closet, or at least out of the sight of this “Pro Family – Moral Majority” crowd. But then voting base shifted left, the daughter of Dick Cheney, and now almost everyone associated with Governor Sarah Palin has changed all of that. As recently, as 2007, John McCain voted against a measure that would have insured equal pay for women! Well after this election passes, I and I suspect most true Christians will remain agents of intolerance. However, my intolerance is Biblically inspired and it is directed toward my personal behavior. In other words, my beliefs require that I maintain sexual purity, live a life of moral integrity, support, defend and pray for the government (the King, God never wanted for Israel); and if it be possible to live peaceably with all mankind. That means I must live at peace with people of different faiths, sexual orientation, hypocrites and abortion supporters.

Yes, I believe that life begins at the moment of conception, even in cases of rape and incest. But my Christian faith diminishes expectation of others. But it raises the bar for my personal and spiritual accountability. As a fundamentalist Judeo-Christian, I believe that only through the power of God can a life become so transformed that one desires and strives to live as commanded. As a consequence, I do not have a moral litmus test for others. Rather I accept “Choice”, “Free Will”, the most basic tenement of the Christian faith. “Whosoever will come after me, let him …follow me?” “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

God allows me the choice to accept, or reject Him. God allows me to obey or disobey Him. Can I as a mere follower, impose a different, or a higher standard on an unbelieving world? I think not. I came to faith by choice, not by force. And I am practicing Christian by choice.