The Liberal Christian™ is an ecumenical blog authored by Dr. Tom Rodriguez. To participate, click on the blue link titled “COMMENTS” immediatley below the appropriate posting and fill in a screen name and your email address.
Now, you may be wondering why anyone would want to start a blog and call it “The Liberal Christian Blog.” Believe me, I asked myself the same thing. Afterall, doesn’t the word “liberal” carry so many negative connotations in the U.S. today? The answer is yes, of course. However, I don’t believe this is entirely fair. So how did the word liberal become a term of abuse in our country?
The movement within history, known as the Enlightenment, was a time when philosophy, and thus reason, became a major pathway toward increased intellectual understanding. This was followed by the Scientific Revolution with its many inroads into how Medieval Europeans understood their world. This then led to the Modern period. Prior to the Scientific Revolution though, the Roman Catholic Church, in collaboration with various nobles, exercised absolute control over all learning and religious belief. If people dared to contradict Church doctrine, a group of religious courts, known as Inquisitions, could find them guilty of heresy. People could lose their very lives as a result – sometimes by burning alive! Because of these and other abuses by the Church and the Nobility, people began to a revolt against the Church and power of Kings. The French Revolution was a direct result of these abuses as intellectuals desired more democratic types of government. Unfortunately to bring down the powers of their day, the French Revolutionists committed many atrocities against the Church. This intellectual movement toward liberty and equality became known as Liberalism. It resulted in the French republic. Subsequently with regard to Church doctrine, liberal intellectuals began to apply the scientific method to studying the Bible. This, of course, resulted in the toppling of the hegemony of the Church and separation of Church and State in many countries. Unfortunately, in the U.S. there grew a backlash movement against academics and Liberalism by many Christians especially those known as Evangelicals and Fundamentalists. Alas it seems that we have not yet been able to move beyond this Conservative backlash with the Republican party aligning itself with Conservative Evangelists and Fundamentalists. This led to the presidential election of Ronald Reagan, and most recently, Donald Trump. It also led to an antiscience movement that threatens the Earth’s ecology!
Despite the bad mouthing of liberals and their problems in the U.S., we need to take back the use of the word “liberal” and its historical definition. I believe that there needs to be something to counterbalance the Church. This something is science. I believe that theocracy has been tried and led to subjugation and oppression of people. I believe in the separation of church and state. I stand for liberty and the equality of all people – Black, White, Hispanic, Indian, Oriental, rich, poor, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight, young and old!!! I believe in reasoning and science; but most importantly, I also believe in the Triune God- the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus I am a liberal Christian, and I am proud to call myself both, liberal and Christian.