Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Bleeding-Heart Liberals"

It may not come a surprise when I say that my political views have always been fairly liberal. I admit that at first, it was largely because I was young and naïve and had taken the words "be nice" a little more seriously than most people do, without really thinking about what they really meant. When I got a little older and (I hope) a bit wiser, I retained my liberal outlook—not so much because I was still naïve, because life had definitely knocked me around a bit by then, but because I'd independently come to the conclusion that compassion, kindness, justice, respect for the environment and a helping hand to those who need it were most likely much more positive than stinginess, "I got mine" and anything even remotely related to trickle-down economics (which rarely work out well for anyone but the people from whom the wealth is supposed to "trickle down"). Apparently my dislike of injustice and greed make me a "bleeding-heart liberal".

Gods, I hate that term. It's a phrase that's often used to condemn and dismiss anyone who has even a vaguely non-conservative view of the world. It's the "bitch" of the political world—lob that label at anyone, and it supposedly invalidates everything that they stand for because everybody knows that bleeding-heart liberals are too sentimental for anyone's good, so nobody should listen to them.

But you know what? Whenever anyone calls me by that loathsome term, I wear the badge proudly, because although I hate the phrase itself, it means that I've somehow managed to choose a viewpoint that shows compassion.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

—1 Corinthians: 1-13, New International Version

1 comment:

  1. Jesus was probably the first NT "Bleeding Heart Liberal" who in taking out the scroll of Isaiah, preached a sermon about social justice for the poor and oppressed, in the temple? He was following in the line of OT prophets like Amos and Micah who also cared for the poor and oppressed, women and immigrants.