Todd Akin really put his foot in his mouth this past week when he said that at the center of liberalism is a hatred of God. He has touched a nerve and it’s going to be hard to put the lid back on Pandora’s box. Liberal religious people have been stepped on too many times to be silent any longer, and we have organizations like Faith in Public Life (www.faithinpubliclife.org) ready to stand with local clergy and support us in taking back our voice in the public sphere.
Akin’s statement focused on the editing out of the words “one nation under God” on NBC. I grow increasingly frustrated when things like which words are included in the pledge of allegiance or whether prayer is permitted in schools become litmus tests by the right for whether this nation is respecting and reflecting its Judeo-Christian roots. How simplistic. How easy then to be faithful.
How about implementing policies on social programs like medicare that reflect Jesus’ teaching that “as you do to the least of these you to do me”? or welfare policy that reflects “If a man asks for your shirt, you should give him your coat as well.”
What if policy on immigration reform reflected Paul’s teaching that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
What if policy on penal reform put at its center Jesus’ admonition that “You should forgive seventy times seven.”
What a different country this would be.
Here’s my letter to Rep. Akin,
Dear Representative Akin,
When you stated in a recent interview that all liberals hate God, you seriously insulted many people in your constituency. No doubt you thought it would make little difference. Liberals are unlikely to vote for you and you likely thought you could score some pretty big points with your base, especially as you eye a possible move up to the Senate.
In your statement you shared that liberals try to turn the state into God. Actually, it seems like conservatives do a pretty good job of that themselves. When conservatives support judges who legislate from the bench, they are turning the state into the God they believe in. When you supported a constitutional amendment in the state of Missouri to ban same sex marriage, you turned the state into a vehicle for the kind of God you have chosen to worship.
For you to say that liberals hate God means you know very little about liberals, and sadly enough, you also seem to know very little about God and his son Jesus, who said that “as you do to the least of these, you do unto me.” I wish conservatives like you would take that charge more seriously when you seek to implement budget cuts that hurt the most vulnerable in our state. It is my faith and my moral values as a religious person that call me to challenge you this way.
Just because we religious liberals are unlikely to vote for you does not mean that you have no moral obligation to represent us fairly in all you say and do, and to treat us with respect and dignity. Do not misuse the privilege and power that you have been granted as our elected representative.
Sincerely Rev. Krista Taves.
Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel, Ellisville MO