Friday, October 21, 2011

In Jesus, Did Liberalism and Conservatism Perfectly Combine?

The question is of course provoked by Herman Cain's famous article. If you've not already read it, I recommend reading this commentary first, and reading it with Zaid Jilani's comment in mind.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/herman-cain-says-jesus-was-a-perfect-conservative-who-was-condemned-by-a-liberal-court/

Dittos Zaid Jilani.

Actually, the case can be made that Jesus provided a perfect example for doing several things that may be considered liberal, conservative, both, or neither.

He was not primarily political. He was not directly concerned with overthrowing the existing government, although it was undeniably oppressive. His concern was with transformations that would, if successful, have made the existing government less oppressive. Instead of changing laws, He would have made people more concerned with obeying the laws in the spirit in which they were written. Instead of changing the names of the people in office, He would have improved the people in office.

This approach can fairly be said to embody what's best in both liberal and conservative political thought. All political parties, in and beyond the United States, have always agreed that it would be a good thing if people wanted to do good. Political parties have differed because people think different measures are more likely to help good people do good, and to make it harder for bad people to do harm.

I think, in his article, Pizza Man was showing a sense of humor (and people may disagree on whether his topic was appropriate). He was, after all, wishing people a merry Christmas. We all know what merriment sounds like. My personal preference would be to give this article a merry ho-ho-ho and get on with the inevitable analysis and debate of whether Cain's domestic financial proposition has a chance of working. Go ahead, math people out there, and convince me.

But I would like to suggest--in the spirit of possibly inappropriate merriment--that Jesus didn't do a routine job, tramped around with a few buddies (sometimes a mixed-sex crowd, too) living on handouts from friends, and counted on catching a fish that had swallowed a coin to pay His taxes. Was that even liberal? Way out, friends. That was beatnik!

Jesus never limited Himself to one political or philosophical party. He was for everyone.

(For those who may be wondering, I would like very much to post these reactions to Blaze articles as comments below the articles, and have inadvertently created two different Blaze accounts...but since I work on public-access computers that block cookies, the Blaze software blocks my comments.)