There’s a common assertion about of those of us who occupy some space in the political or religious Left, by our critics across the aisle or the pew: We don’t love America like they do.
The contention is that we have less respect for our Government, our troops, our national security than they have; that our religious convictions are less sincere and our spiritual journeys less valid. Everything of ours is determined by them to be counterfeit by comparison.
Because of this, our resistance to the current President,
our opposition to what we deem to be the malfeasance of his Administration,
our pushback against its apparent disregard for the civil rights of marginalized communities,
our disgust at what we see as a distortion of the message of Jesus in the Church—
are all dismissed by them as evidence of our alleged rebellion against God and country.
With stunning regularity we’re chastised: our volume is always too great, our protests always improper, our tactics always inappropriate, our timing always wrong.
Can we do better than this, friends on the Right?
Can we stop pretending that a political party or religious tradition has the market cornered on national pride and earnest faith?
For just a minute—could you entertain the possibility that we care as much as you do?
There are few things less American, than insisting that for someone to be declared patriotic—he or she must be complementary of our leadership. That’s neither accurate, nor fair, nor acceptable. It’s also not something many of you consented to during a single second of Barack Obama’s eight-year tenure; when you continually proffered unrelenting attacks and incessant naysaying in the name of national loyalty and religious liberty. What for you then was bold opposition to tyranny—is now treated in our possession as corporate treason.
I’m sorry, but you don’t get to write our story for us.
We American Progressives, Liberals, and Left-leaning Moderates, love many of the things you do, as much as you do:
We love the Constitution—enough to demand that it be available to everyone and honored by everyone, especially those in our highest levels of leadership. No one is exempt from accountability or beyond critique. Not even a Republican President.
We love the men and women who serve our country—enough to insist that our leaders not be reckless or cavalier with their lives by irresponsibly inciting conflict in the world; by believing war should be our last resort, not our initial threat delivered in an impulsive, taunting, midnight Tweet.
We love the liberty we enjoy here—enough to be compassionate toward those who come here in fear and desperation; who brave all manner of hardship and loss to escape the kind of horrors we’ll never know—the kind that people don’t always have the luxury of waiting out.
We love the safety of our citizens—enough to ensure that all are protected from harm; regardless of skin color, religious affiliation, gender identity, sexual orientation, income level; whether these lives are threatened by terrorism—or by handguns, poverty, pollution, or even those entrusted with protecting them.
We love family—enough to fight for all of them; for those transcending traditional definitions, for every marriage defined by mutual love and commitment, for every home where children find protection and affection and belonging.
We love the freedoms forged into our nation from birth—of expression, religious affiliation, and personal autonomy, and we love them enough to demand that everyone has equal access to them without interference and without exception.
And we who claim faith love and treasure it, because we have reached our beliefs through the same careful, prayerful journey that yielded your own. We have studied as thoroughly, listened as intently, and walked as faithful as you have. Our spirituality means as much to us as yours does to you.
I’m over being told I don’t care about my country or that I don’t respect our Government or that I don’t love God, simply because I don’t fit comfortably within your platform or your pulpit. Having said that, protecting humanity will always supersede some ornamental national allegiance. I am primarily for people, and against bigotry, discrimination, and violence assailing them—wherever those things come from. I will oppose those injustices loudly, even if this places me in direct conflict with our President, our political leadership, or the American Church. This is what true Liberty looks like.
Friend, you can disagree with me all you want. In fact, I welcome it. You can dispute my positions and challenge my conclusions, and you can tell me you don’t like the expression of my love for this country—until Jesus comes back or FoxNews uses facts, whichever comes first.
But please don’t tell me that I don’t love this country, or that this love is somehow inferior to your own, because that simply isn’t true.
In fact, I love America—enough not to let you or anyone else decide what patriotism looks like for me.
My voice, as much and your own—is the sound of freedom ringing.