The Leech of Liberal Christianity is Dying

In a recent piece for the New York Times, Ross Douthat made several interesting observations about the imminent death of liberal Christianity, specifically the Episcopal Church. He points out the rather counterintuitive—yet consistently proven—fact that the more concessions the Church has made to the social whims and fancies of political liberals (currently in the form of social justice and homosexual marriage), the more irrelevant it has become. Douthat writes:

Yet instead of attracting a younger, more open-minded demographic with these changes, the Episcopal Church’s dying has proceeded apace. Last week, while the church’s House of Bishops was approving a rite to bless same-sex unions, Episcopalian church attendance figures for 2000-10 circulated in the religion blogosphere. They showed something between a decline and a collapse: In the last decade, average Sunday attendance dropped 23 percent, and not a single Episcopal diocese in the country saw churchgoing increase.

I’m not sure why anyone is really surprised by this; perhaps Douthat is simply pretending to be for his (mostly) liberal New York Times audience. Liberalism, as a general rule, doesn’t create anything. Like a leech, liberalism—whether political, religious, or otherwise—feeds off of what is already in existence. Without a host, liberalism cannot survive on its own. Liberalism is negative in the sense that it is always declaring what it does not believe, but has a much more difficult time declaring what it does. Try this sometime: ask your politically or religious (they’re usually the same people anyway) liberal co-worker what he believes about any number of topics and before he completes his second sentence he will be bashing conservative ideals. In other words, he will flip the conversation from being one of discussing his own ideals to one of degrading the ideals of his opponent.

As a liberal himself, at least religiously, Douthat has completely bought into one of the very few positive statements that liberalism likes to use to describe itself: the “helping our fellow man” line. Douthat describes it thusly: “The defining idea of liberal Christianity — that faith should spur social reform as well as personal conversion — has been an immensely positive force in our national life. No one should wish for its extinction, or for a world where Christianity becomes the exclusive property of the political right.” Notice even Douthat can’t resist equating religious liberalism with political liberalism by taking a swipe at conservatives (the dreaded “political right” of Douthat’s quotation). If Douthat—and all other liberals with him—is to be believed, religious conservatives do not believe that faith should spur social reform as well as personal conversion; this is complete and utter nonsense.

For any liberals who happen to be reading this, please take note of this: Religious and political conservatives are not against social reform. The fact that I even need to put it into print is beyond ridiculous. There is no conservative that is even claiming this to be true. The primary difference between liberals and conservatives is not the necessity of social reform, but the funding of social reform. Liberals believe the civil government should be the primary funding and acting agent; conservatives believe that citizens should be the primary funding and acting agents. In fact, the Old and New Testaments are quite clear that the domain of “social reform” belongs to the community of faith (i.e. the local church), not to the government. Caring for the poor, widows, orphans, the sick and needy, and others in need is not a task of the civil government, it is a task of neighbors and individuals working together. Social reform is meaningless when it is only done under the compulsion of civil government.

Douthat seems to understand this. Near the end of his article he writes: “Today, by contrast, the leaders of the Episcopal Church and similar bodies often don’t seem to be offering anything you can’t already get from a purely secular liberalism.” Exactly. And this is because the liberal mainline churches have become the exclusive property of the political left. If Americans want an indication about what direction liberal politicians will take the country, they only need look at the liberal churches of America.








Comments

comments

Posted in Christianity, Politics Tagged with: , , , , ,
  • Michael G.

    Liberalism and Christianity cannot co-exist. They will cancel each other out. The sooner the better.

  • Sama

    And it will continue to decrease. When you leave Jesus’ teachings behind, you will be left behind.

  • PG

    We went looking for a new church home about 2003 having become disillusioned with
    the church my wife had been raised in as they became more liberal and the largest donors removed the minister who
    believed in what scripture said and not what some wanted it to say.

    When we arrived at our new home it was a vibrant group with
    every age group represented, a large youth group, another that was the newly
    married or soon to be married, families and the older generation which was the
    anchor, several retired ministers attended which gave us a depth not seen in
    many churches. As the LA diocese pushed the liberal agenda we saw Sunday
    attendance drop from several hundred to less than 75. They sent clergy teaching
    at seminaries to reeducate us to no avail. At on meeting a retired minister and
    his wife thanked me for articulating our opposition to the changes being made
    asking where I had went to school telling
    them that my upbringing had been strong
    and my teachers wise God having watched
    over me to learn these things.

    We recently had a call from one of the older couples
    asking us to return, the problem is that the damage is done, so many have left
    never to return that short of starting all over again under the umbrella of new
    leadership which the diocese won’t support. God has already spoken as he has
    guided his faithful to like minded parishioners believing in the true word of
    God. It is the Episcopal church’s loss not ours

  • 13862520

    Michael Savage was right; “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder”, and we are all suffering because of it because they want all of us to pay for every hairbrained, immoral scheme they can dream up. Destroy each other and leave the rest of us alone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-R-Carreiro-Sr/100000561837094 Joseph R Carreiro Sr

    All Religions are search modes to finding what you individually looking for and if everyone used Religion as such most people would get along.For the Atheist they could all opt out and then they would be happy to live life as they wished.Then all would be covered.It is the interpretations of all Religions that cause all the problems.Think about it.No Religion is worse than the other or no Religion is better than the other.This solves many problems.Think hard.

  • The Brigadier

    I left the Episcopal Church four years ago. The Anglican Church has picked up many of the Episcopal refugees. I tried the Lutheran Church, the church of my father, but no sooner did I attend several of their services, they announced they were backing homosexual marriages. Bye bye Lutherans, hello Anglicans.

  • AD Roberts

    Charity is an individual thing. The Good Samaritan did not go get the government or the church to help the wounded man. He DID IT HIMSELF. And the liberal churches still have not figured out that Christianity is personal. The church is the gathering of the believers. But the individual believers do GOD’s work.
    Liberal churches are also described in Revelations. They are the Church of Laodecia. They are repulsive to God and real Christians

  • Noni77

    Vladimir Lenin said that Communism NEEDS Capitalism (to feed off of). Liberalism is merely Communism-lite, meant to indoctrinate the feeble-minded into sacrificing their lives to the “cause” of casting away their (and our) freedoms and birthright to a wanna-be dictator class.

  • pat duran

    Amen !!! it’s the local community who can take care of those in need. I Volunteer at the local faith based food pantry weekly during the summer, we taking care and serving those who need assistance in our town. The various churches have ministries to help those in need. it starts in your own town and not the feds.

  • WASHINGTONISMYHERO

    Maybe the Left-leaning churches can help advance Communism here and then find out how Communists deal with organized religion after they’re in charge. Could we get someone in the church to read Russian history?

  • http://twitter.com/danophillip I am nice. If U R.

    I did not like the whole idea of liberals being leeches. You bash them for not having their own ideas, and for bashing conservatives but you do the same.
    As far as Social reform, I have met many a conservative who say private social reform is stupid. One time, me and my church had a picnic for some homeless, a conservative talk show host in Denver, equated to what we doing to “Throwing some food at the animals.” I also know many conservatives that have a deep hatred of anything Fair Trade. Fair Trade is completely privately funded and has nothing to do with the government.
    As a liberal, I really do not care where the social reform comes from or funded. As long as it is done. I think if Churches were more focused on this mission, then many of them wouldn’t empty out as the core membership gets old, and we wouldn’t need as much government aid. Unfortunately our nation’s value of materialism has really done a number on the church.