Monday, August 16, 2021

Was Jesus a Liberal or Conservative?


Was Jesus a liberal or conservative? Each will answer in the way each sees the world and select from the many words and deeds of Jesus to bolster their already formed opinion. It was very clear that he was opposed both by the conservatives and liberals of his day: Pharisees and Sadducees. They both joined together in killing him.

Jesus was for truth and that is not easily categorized as left or right, progressive or traditional, presented often in the media as an ideological conflict.  

The conservatives see the liberals as lacking in spirituality, morality, respect for tradition, and common sense while liberals see the conservatives as lacking compassion, understanding of justice, and being filled with bigotry and selfishness. This type of stereotyping is of no help in working for the common good of society.

It is often easy to put the liberals under one heading and the conservatives in another but that is not reality. We have the ultra-liberal, the liberal, the moderate, the conservative, the ultra-conservative, and countless degrees of adherence and adjectives that describe each position.

Besides these divisions we have: rich and poor, religions, philosophies, political positions, etc. A priest writing for a diocesan weekly bulletin wants to examine the left and right divisions which is one of the most divisive in our present world society and in Korea.

He goes back to the French Revolution where the parliament had the revolutionary party on the left and the ones supporting the king on the right. The present distinctions are not so easily made. He sees the left emphasizing government intervention to achieve economic equality and progress while the conservatives fight for freedom in economics and order in society.

However, when we add ultra to each of these divisions the criticism and divisions intensify. In a small landmass like Korea, school relationships, regional and blood relationships added to the political divisions makes the opposition more pronounced. We can't say this is the majority but a minority that talks as if they are the majority.

It is not easy to say what is true or false. However, it is necessary to emphasize that acceptance and compromise are necessary if the common good is to be in some way realized—especially the case here in Korea with the North-South Divide.

Therefore, we, who believe in and follow the Lord, are members of his team, who understand, forgive, and accept others, rather than slandering and pushing them away. We are the first to extend our hand in friendship, hoping and working for a new beginning.

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