Political labels and Other Fun Stuff

I never have liked those silly political labels, such as: libertarian, liberal, conservative, person with stupid belief, etc… Ok, I made up that last one! I can say that I started out as a young Republican, though not officially, my extended family was republican and social conservatism was the backbone of their philosophy. I went along with it, because that’s the environment that I grew up in and I believed that everyone grew up that way. Naivety is something most children experience; their life must be the same as everyone else.

Sometime during first grade, the other kids singled me out because I chose to be loyal to my best friend. The popular kids no longer deemed me worthy of being normal. I began to hate normality. I labeled myself as weird and rebelled against normality. Being my own activist, I started to question what I once considered to be normal. I mention all this, because I believe this is where my social conservatism began to crumble and my perspective started to shift. I wasn’t very a fan of adult politics, it was playground politics, where Republican and Democrat are never mentioned.

This was also a small part of the reason that I left Christianity. It’s ironic, because Christianity was helpful in my childhood. It was the example of Jesus Christ that taught me how to endure the bullying for about six long years, until it was over. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have been ok without religion, it was just what I had at the time.

The church I grew up in was what I would label as a socially conservative church. Most church members were Republicans and most thought that gay people chose to live a life that was chastised by orthodox Christians. Some of the congregation would use the line, “love the sinner not the sin,” when speaking about homosexuality. This implied that being gay is a sin, something that I do not agree with. I don’t understand how someone decides who or what they are attracted to.

It was during my high school years when a spark ignited a revolution within my mind. I began to try to pull apart the logic of believing that a person chooses to be gay or strait. It couldn’t withstand my logic test. In my opinion, based on academic study and life experience, is that sexuality is predetermined based on DNA and the brain. Science is beginning to support this conclusion and it looks like we will soon find the “gay gene.”

After many days of struggling over the fact that orthodox Christians believe that homosexuality is “wrong” and heterosexuality is “correct”, I rejected this old belief. I had read Leviticus, where it’s supposed to tell you why being gay is bad, and I felt that the chapter was vague. So, I decided that my upbringing in the social conservative philosophy had a tragic flaw.

I think this was a major catalyst in changing my personal philosophy on life. I began to distance myself from my religion until I finally abandoned it. There were other issues that contributed it, so it wasn’t just that suddenly I didn’t like what social conservatives thought about gay people nor did I blame all of Christianity for it. But, it did contribute to me questioning my church and political influences. Eventually, I became an atheist/agnostic. It can be a bit confusing as they tend to overlap. I suppose it would be simple just to say that I no longer belief in God.

I went from that social conservative child  into a non-partisan voter. It reminds me of a time when I was still working for BlockBuster Video many years ago and I had a customer who began to talk politics with me, because I mentioned I liked the actor Tim Robins. She said he was liberal, but I’m not sure about that. She asked what my political afflication was and I said I was more moderate or centrist, she was inclined to tell me that someday I’d be a conservative. I guess she was wrong, at least so far. What really bothered me about that experience was how confident she was that I would someday move to her political philosophy. To me, needed to validate her position so badly that she must believe that I would “come to my senses.”

This is my larger point about politics. I call myself a “progressive” now and even though I don’t call my self liberal, I probably have some liberal views. Heck, who doesn’t support liberty? It’s the same root word. But, this is the problem with labels of any kind. We spend so much time labeling and classifying everything. It’s how our brains remember information, so it’s a good system. However, we forget that people don’t usually fit labels. When I talk about myself, I’m more then a man who is a self-published author, who likes video games, who is unemployed, a student, and votes for the Democrat most of the time. And yet, this is how people usually describe themselves. The housewife who takes care of the kids or the accountant who goes to church on Sundays. That’s just one part of who a person really is.

Seldom are we able to learn about a person, how they feel, what is important to them, what they were like as a child, or what they believe in. Instead, we label them based on little information or snap judgments. Having one view that is supported by liberals, for example, doesn’t make that person a liberal. Just as being a fiscal conservative doesn’t mean that person is a social conservative. Quick judgements of people can get us into trouble or prevent us from having relationships.

My final point is this: What our country needs the most right now is a spirit of compassion for each other, regardless of what their beliefs. We need mutual respect. Sometimes I think politics is too much like a high school popularity contest. This needs to end. There have been Republicans and Democrats who worked together! Where are all the moderate Republicans when you need them?

In this difficult time, we need to come together. We must compromise, not on principle, but to move forward we need to make deals. We can find common ground and give up a little bit of what we want if it means putting this country back on track. As it was once said, united we stand, divided we fall.

3 thoughts on “Political labels and Other Fun Stuff

  1. I'd be most interested in knowing exactly what inspired this post. It reads like a chance to explain, perhaps sparking from a run-in with someone who holds these views or is obsessed with confining things to strict labels?

    Regarding Leviticus, those are not the verses I would point out as being the most important ones explaining that practicing homosexuality is a sin (at least, directly. Paul writes about the subject, and refers to the Greek version of those verses, though). The difference between Jewish and Christian is that Christians live under a new covenant through Jesus, which is why I wouldn't point you to Leviticus, anyway, as that is part of the Mosaic law. Makes much more sense to, instead, point out what Paul says about it in Romans. I only mentioned it, though, because I'm a bit confused how you interpreted Leviticus as vague, though… it's pretty direct.

    Also, though from a Christian point of view, both atheists and agnostics are incorrect, in semantic terms, they're very different. Atheism is a faith-based belief that there is NO God, while agnosticism does not take such a firm stance.

    Finally, I did find it somewhat amusing that in the beginning you stated your strong dislike for labels, yet use them throughout 🙂 I know you know they have their place… I just thought it was funny. A necessary evil, almost, haha. That's why I think it'd be interesting to know what set this post into motion, because it does come across like a reaction.

    Great to see personal things on here, though :).

  2. Hehe yes, though I don't like labels, sadly we all use them. Even me! I felt like posting this after I saw Penn Jillette was on Real Time, with Bill maher and he considers himself to be an atheist. He doesn't believe in God, but he admits that he doesn't know for sure that God exists or not. So, I felt that I could relate to that position as I feel the same way. I think that makes me both an atheist and agnostic.

    I didn't know about Paul mentioning anything about homosexuality in the bible, but that is interesting. That was never brought up by my church, that I can recall. Regardless, it wouldn't change my current position of homosexuality.

    This blog post was fun and it relates to my next video blog, a little bit.

    1. You should use the Reply button, so folks know you've replied 🙂

      I get it now.. your usage of "atheist/agnostic" just confused me, seeming to infer with the forward slash that the two are interchangeable (which you even alluded to) when you apparently meant "an agnostic atheist".

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