Nowadays the word Liberal is often used as a pejorative. Heck, I often use it that way myself. I am a moderate, and probably spend about 40% of the time cursing the idiocy of the Left and 60% complaining and worried about the Right (It is too bad there are not more real conservative minds in the Conservative camp these days.). Of the two the Conservatives tend to scare me a bit more but the Leftists in total power would be just as bad, in their own way. But, the actions of the radicals on either side do not condemn an entitlement school of thought. This should be remembered by pundits on both sides in this age of attack politics.
Lately a radically Conservative group has taken over almost all the political voice of conservative American Christianity. They have used their pulpit to propound, and pound in, their own view of history and how Christianity has influenced the development of the United States as a nation. They are not actually lying about the influence of the churches. The problem is that they have forgotten from just where in the Church all that influence came. Yes, it was those damn liberals every time!
In American history, every time the religious culture had a substantial positive impact on changes in society those influences came from Liberal churches, not Conservative ones.
The Conservative Churches in every case have held the line with the status quo through history whether it was regarding the Revolution, slavery, child labor, workers rights, racial equality or now, gay rights. Yet these same Conservative Churches of today want to shine their halo with the contributions of the Liberal Churches of the past.
This activity is not unique to Christianity by any means. A Radical Conservative Jew will spend much energy telling you about Judaism's amazing contributions to Western society but, will not see that his brand of thinking never produced any of it. Find any Conservative Imam and you will find a man eager to convince you that Islam has been an aggressively positive contributor to civilization over the centuries. But remember him that his blind Conservative philosophy again had nothing to do with those periods of (heretical and liberal) Islamic glory he polishes up for you to admire, and he may take offense.
In each case, when religious and political power intermingle, progress comes when the Church is Liberal and tolerant, but only stagnation and decay when the Church is Conservative. It should be noted that Conservative religious thought can have a great influence on society, but that influence seems to be chiefly negative. Witness the defense of slavery and the instances against child labor laws and minority civil rights laws taken up by many so-called God following people. Witness the attempts at the blind conversion of any peoples of other religions that are under the influence of the politicized religion.
Conservatism is highly successful at keeping the wheels of a society turning. There is a true value most times in maintaining most of the status quo. But Conservative thought has no track record of being able to grease those wheels or provide a creative inspiration for the people who are pushing the cart of civilization. It certainly does not allow flaws in the system to be changed without a fight.
Without a Liberal element in society, one with enough of a voice to smack the bosses on the head now and then to moderate their actions, society is nothing but a slave camp destined to fade into the dust of history.
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