Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Christian Disagreements

Frank Pastore's latest article, "Should Christians Argue Politics?" successful knocks down the straw man he has set up for himself. He and I agree that Christians have a responsibility to discus political issues, in a respectful manner.
Perhaps many Christians think arguing is bad because they can’t distinguish between a person and their ideas. Even for themselves, they can take it personally when someone is arguing against their ideas. But not arguing does make me a nice person. And the fact that I do argue about consequential things does not make me unloving. Nice people can be wrong, and mean people can be right. I can criticize a person’s ideas without criticizing the person. The challenge is to communicate my disagreement—to argue—in such a way that the person understands I disagree with their ideas, not them personally.
So there it is. And I whole heartedly agree with Pastore here.

But what Pastore skips happily over is the fact that many of his colleagues in conservative punditry do not believe that a person could be a believing Christian and a Liberal. They don't believe that someone could be a good person and a Liberal (best they can offer is a wrongheaded and uninformed, if good hearted). And they have said so repeatedly (I was thinking of hunting up some choice quotes by Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh, but I'm depressed enough already). It is difficult to have a discussion of politics with someone who believes that by virtue of your political affiliation or political philosophy you are intrinsically a bad person.

For discussion or debate to be meaningful, both parties have to acknowledge that the other side might be right; otherwise what you are engaged in is either a sales-pitch or a sermon.

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