Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

I’m a Liberal and I’m a Patriot who Loves God… Deal with It!

I think this topic is becoming a regular 4th of July weekend tradition of mine, mainly because I have had it with the idea that unless someone is a Fox News watching, gun toting Tea-Party Republican they are not a “Real American”.  Beyond the fact that such definitions of “Real American” often do not include anyone who is not white.  Beyond the fact that such definitions of “Real American” often do not include anyone who lives in a city.  Beyond the fact that such definitions of “Real American” often do not include anyone who is not a Christian.  Beyond the fact that such definitions of “Real American” often do not include anyone with a higher education degree.  Beyond the fact that such definitions of “Real American” often are decided along ideological lines.

Beyond all of this and so much more, and am sick unto death of being told that I am not a Patriot, that I am not a “Real American” because I am a Liberal.  In fact, because I am a liberal, I have been told (both in person and through the airwaves) that I am a Communist Terrorist who hates both America and God…

That hating God part was added this week by Missouri Congressman Rep. Todd Akin, in an interview with the President of the Family Research Council.

I thought about singling out Rep. Akin in this article, and making this be about him… but the reality is it is not about him at all.  He and his comments are not some aberration, not someone who mis-spoke in a passionate moment…  No, his comments represent a whole segment of the American population who have come to believe that they are the only Real Americans, that they are the only people who love God, and who have elevated their own opinions to the level of being the standard not just for Christianity, not just for our Country, but for humanity as a whole.

And quite frankly I’m sick of it.  Yes… I’m more than a little pissed off.  I’m not “defensive”… I’m righteously indignant… and yes, this is part of what I am preaching on this Sunday, on the front lawn of the church, by the main road, with a very loud Public Address System.  Because I’m done allowing others to define my patriotism by my liberal politics or my liberal religious faith.

There is one piece of the argument around Rep. Akin’s comments that I will accept some responsibility for… Rep. Akin obviously has no idea what it means to be a liberal.  That’s okay, I get that.  Most liberals don’t have a clear understanding what it means to be a liberal.  If they did, they might realize that liberalism and progressivism are not synonyms… rather they are very different political movements.  I’m not a progressive.  I’m a liberal.  And I’m an American.

I will take responsibility for teaching what it means to be a Liberal.  Such is the real purpose of the sermon on the lawn this Sunday.

I’m an American who has served over 10 years in the U.S. Military (so far).  I have deployed multiple times in defense of this country.  I came back to the military after becoming a clergy-member not because I had to, but because I wanted to.  I fly the American Flag, I love my country, and I accepted at an early age that I might die in defense of it.  I am an Eagle Scout.  I am the son, grandson, and great-grandson of American War Veterans.  I can touch each of the war memorials in Washington D.C. and name the ancestors that fought in those wars. I have walked the fields of Arlington National Cemetery for days taking photos of those who served from my liberal religious tradition.

I love God.  I see the presence and spirit of God all around me, each and every day of my life.  I do my best to follow in the teachings and to preach in the tradition of Jesus of Nazareth.  And because of that, I will find forgiveness for Rep. Akin sometime soon… it just may take a few more days.

And I am a Liberal.  Deal with it.

Yours in faith,

Rev. David


Oh, and on a final note… is anyone else as deeply amused as I am by the fact that Rep. Michelle Bachmann keeps citing early American Unitarians as her example of the “Founding Fathers”?  Namely John Adams and John Quincy Adams?  Her campaign for President keeps making me smile… almost as if it is some art project designed to appeal to my odd and twisted sense of humor.

10 Thoughts on “I’m a Liberal and I’m a Patriot who Loves God… Deal with It!

  1. Amen,

    As for Michelle Bachmann, and Sara Palin for that matter, every time they demonstrate their lack of knowledge of our history I can not stop my thoughts from progressing straight to the ongoing attack on our public education funding and our teachers. I guess it makes sense… why would you need an education if you can be that ignorant and still be a candidate for the presidency?

  2. “I’m a Liberal and I’m a Patriot who Loves God… Deal with It!”

    While I realize that your somewhat “in your face” blog post title is aimed at Rep. Todd Akin and other like-minded Republicans I can’t help but point out that there are a good number of Unitarian Universalists who can’t deal with it. . .

    Hopefully I need not point out what part of It they can’t deal with.

  3. Wish I could be there to hear you preach on the lawn. Give them the good word, dear colleague.

    (Michelle Bachmann is kind of scary, though I did see one column that described her as Mitt Romney’s dream opponent!)

  4. Good perspective. I’ve been on the other side of this sort of thing as a conservative Marine who also happens to be a Unitarian Universalist and an artist. Believe me when I tell you, Liberals can be just as closed minded and mean spirited as any right winger can be. I have had fellow UUs, because I support the fiscally responsible and smaller government Tea Party movement and watch Fox News, accuse me of being a racist and a moron.

  5. It’s so nice to find a blog from another religious person that is standing up to conservative believers. I sometimes feel so sad that so many people of faith can be so diametrically opposed to different beliefs and can still call themselves loving anythings.

    But then faith can take you down unexpected paths…. I never expected to find myself a Buddhist. 🙂

  6. Robert Brown on Monday July 4, 2011 at 22:08 +0000 said:

    I think your post WAS an attack. I think many who claim to be one side or the other actually have no clue about politics.
    I also spent many years in the military and have a father, grandfather and greatgrandfather who fought in American wars.
    I am also a minister. I am a moderate conservative. I do believe in social programs but I also believe there should be a planned end to one’s dependence on government aid, not a lifetime.
    And in response to Jean Ramlow, America spends more money per student in their primary school years than any other industrialized nation and yet our schools keep getting worse. Jean, you seem to think highly of yourself, maybe you can help the nation out with ideas. Throwing money at the problem isn’t working…..

  7. Michael,

    I would say that anyone who is “closed minded” by definition can not be a Liberal… at least not in the sense that I mean it. A core part of Liberal Methodology is the realization and practice that all of the things you “believe” can only be provisional. They must always be tested, and changed when necessary. Now, if you are suggesting that there are alot of fundamentalists on the left, that I certainly agree with.

    For me, the twinned pole of liberalism is fundamentalism… not conservativism. It is entirely possible to have a liberal methodology and hold conservative viewpoints. I know, I did it for awhile (and in some areas I still do).

    Simply put, I am tired of my patriotism being automatically questioned because I am a liberal… and Robert… if that feels like an attack to you, then you need to get out more.

    Yours in faith,

    Rev. David

  8. reconciler2004 on Friday July 8, 2011 at 20:39 +0000 said:

    Rev. David: Forgive me for asking this here, but found no other way to ask you ! You mention using a communion service from the 1800’s in one of your services with several other clergy/denimonations present. Can you tell me where to find that service/words. Would like to look at it and see how we might use it. Thanks much. reconciler2004@yahoo.com

    PS- I am THRILLED to come across your site- I just removed myself from the UUlist –UUTheology Discussion group. It was not what I was looking for and this is more what I sought. Thank you !

  9. Laura Bartlett said –

    “I sometimes feel so sad that so many people of faith can be so diametrically opposed to different beliefs and can still call themselves loving anythings.”

    *That* lament is entirely applicable to intolerant and abusive, to say nothing of outrageously hypocritical. . . Unitarian Universalists, including but by no means limited to “less than perfect” Unitarian Universalist clergy and top level UUA administrators.

  10. Robin,

    It is true that all people are “less than perfect”… and you know you are skating the line of my comment approval policy at Celestial Lands with that one….

    Yet, I decided to approve this one because, even with your rather clear opinions about UU’ism (which I don’t agree with, but respect your right in holding them and expressing them through your own blog) there is a valuable point you point to.

    We Unitarian Universalists, including myself, have a tendency towards the self-righteous. We must constantly remember the call to humility… not to be so humble as to be walked on by the likes of Congressman Akin, but enough to remember our own fallibility. Enough to remember that the doubt we claim to cherish applies just as much to our own assumptions as it does to others.

    Unitarian Universalists have done things that are intolerant and abusive at times, both past and present. While I do not believe that such defines our Liberal Religious Movement, we also cannot turn a blind eye to such. That is not the path towards wholeness or holiness.

    Yours in faith,

    Rev. David

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