I recently watched an interview with “sir” Charles Barkley the former NBA basketball player. He was endorsing the campaign of Mr. Obama and cutting ties with the Republicans he had been thought to be affiliated with. All this means absolutely nothing to me, except he used a phrase that has really bothered me. He said all conservatives were “fake Christians”. When pressed as to what he meant, he used the typical line that he was pro-choice and pro-gay marriage and that those who oppose those positions were “fake Christians” because they were guilty of “judging” others.
The implications of this remark are very interesting. If a conservative is a “fake Christian”, then logically a “real Christian” must be a liberal. If a “fake Christian” is such because of believing abortion and gay marriage are wrong; then logically a “real Christian” believes abortion should be the preferred form of birth control and that men should be married to men and women to women. I just wanted to get this all straight before attempting to understand it’s what it means.
I have no idea if this term “fake Christians” was invented by Mr. Barkley or whether it is used extensively among people who despise conservative Christians as a whole. But, I do know that the chasm that separates liberal and conservative Christianity is as wide as the Grand Canyon. Huge denominational splits have occurred as a result of the infighting over “social” issues. The bottom line to the conflict comes down to one concept—judging/liberty.
Certainly there are places in the Bible that prohibit believers from judging others. “Judge not, lest thou also be judged” is about as clear as is possible. But, in other places God is perfectly clear as to which behaviors are not to be tolerated. The first chapter of Romans is very tough on the “gay rights” crowd as well as numerous other outward “sins of the flesh”. So it is not right to say there is no judgment against certain things God deems as sin.
Over the past few years, there has been a relentless attempt by liberal Christians to promote liberty as the right of people to do as they please without “religious constraints”. Liberal Christian denominations basically turn their head when confronted with the very same social issues that make conservative Christian denomination’s hair on their neck stand straight on end. To one group certain issues are “non-issues” for they deal with personal preference and individuals exercising personal liberty. For other groups, the exact same issues are cause for crusades to expose and eliminate such behavior.
I hate labels being placed on people, groups and beliefs. I believe it is slightly short of absurd to only classify people as conservative or liberal. I understand there are true liberals and conservatives; but the vast majority of people are somewhere in between. To label such people as “independents” is not literally true. An independent may be fiercely liberal in certain beliefs yet a strict conservative in others.
A conservative Christian obviously has very “legalistic” beliefs concerning what is right and wrong. This is because their belief system is based on the literal interpretation of the Bible. Although not all conservative Christians are “fundamentalists”, they all share the fundamental belief that there God sets forth a system for the administration of justice that includes what is right and wrong behavior. A conservative Christian is usually one who knows what the Bible says about matters and believes the Bible is the final authority on all matters.
A liberal Christian has very “lenient” beliefs regarding moral issues. Because their belief system is not rigidly tied to the literal interpretation of the Bible, there is far more latitude to allow certain behavior under the pretense of “individual rights”. A perfect case in point is how many liberal denominations allow gays to be priests, whereas the conservative ones would never allow such a thing in a million years. A liberal Christian believes the Bible is to read and taught, but not necessarily believed to the infallible “Word of God” and final authority on all matters.
I suppose, to a liberal Christian or a non-Christian, the conservative Christian beliefs regarding gay marriage, abortion, etc. would be considered as infringing upon individual rights. I guess I can see how the term “fake Christian” could be used to describe the adamant conviction on the part of conservative Christians on these matters. But, to call every conservative a “fake Christian” is so stupid it never deserved to be called a “news story”.
There are many conservatives who are not Christian. They simply hold to a belief system that happens to reflect the one held by Christians who are conservative. Thus, the entire pretense for the silly statement is wrong unless the point was to say that all conservatives ARE LIKE fake Christians. I don’t want to keep harping on this, but generalized statements by ignorant people will always be full of holes when it comes to logic.
I believe the vast majority of us Christians defy labeling. Call us “independent Christians” or “unaffiliated Christians” or whatever you want, but do not put a label on people like me who are fundamentally conservative but yet radically liberal in certain matters. I believe abortion is wrong and should not be legal. But, I will not go join a protest around a clinic or attend a rally against it. I believe gay marriage is wrong, because I believe the whole subject of homosexuality is wrong. But, I will not become “homophobic” or physically, mentally or verbally abuse someone if they are gay.
I am judged every day of my life by various people. I cannot do anything about how others feel about my beliefs regarding subjects. All I can do is hold fast to what I believe the Bible says about matters and live accordingly. I have huge problems with many conservative denominations due to “legalism” and hypocrisy issues. I have huge problems with many conservative Christians because they refuse to manifest charity and ARE very judgmental in their attitudes towards “sinners”.
I have major problems with most liberal denominations because of their lack of belief in the Bible as the revealed Word and will of God. I have major problems with liberal Christians who dress up and attend church on Sunday and live like the devil the rest of the week. Yet, I admire liberal Christians willingness to share and give to others. I view myself as a “liberal Christian” on matters of service and charity, and a conservative Christian on matters of doctrine and “moral issues”.
There you have it, Sir Charles. Which label are you going to place on me? Am I a “fake Christian” or a “fake non-Christian?” Since I am both conservative and liberal, does that make me “bi-Christian?” Am I a “fake liberal” because I don’t believe everything liberals say? Am I a “fake conservative” because I dare hold some liberal beliefs? Labels are simply methods of classifying people. The problem is, some people defy classification. Some people, in fact I believe the real people, cannot be put in a category and classified as anything other than being REAL.
Mr. Barkley; good luck in your planned run for governor of Alabama in 2014. I am sure your stance on conservatives being fake Christians will go over real big in one of the most conservative states of the union. I am sure the most Christian state of all will love to have you come and rip their faith up one side and down another. Stick to what you were fairly good at—basketball, and leave politics and even speaking to those who avoid coming up with phrases which are wrong and flat out stupid.