Boxes are made for stuffing & labeling; people are made for accepting & loving.
Of late, I have realized that I'm being mushed, pushed, and unwillingly suffocated into a category of persons derogatorily labeled the 'Religious Right.' Something bothers me about all such labels and generalities; generalities that never leave room for the individual.
Here's the funny thing. I wrote this post 3 or 4 months ago but never got around to posting it. Today, I received my daily dose of Christianity Today and here is the main article "Phrase 'Religious Right' Misused, Conservatives Say." Hmmm. Maybe I should add my 2 cents here...
Yes, I'm absolutely, unabashedly a follower of Christ. Technically, that would make me 'religious.' Yes, I tend to be very conservative on many, but not all, political issues. Technically, that would make me 'right' on the political spectrum. However, the unpleasant label that society has crafted and assigned to me called 'religious right' carries much additional baggage that simply does not define me. Is everything about me encompassed in my choice of religion (last I checked the First Amendment is still intact) and my political leanings?? Not even close.
I'm a woman who feels passionately about the poor. According to those who slam the 'religious right,' I cannot care about the poor because I disagree with the over-the-top welfare system we've created. Wrong. I believe the church and her individual members (including me and mine) have failed to fulfill their responsibility to the poor and the government has thus had to step into a role it should not fill. I believe that we are created for work and that work gives dignity to a soul. From the work of a Mother in her home to the very important work of sanitation (actually the former and later sound very much alike to me), purpose-filled tasks dignify our days.
I'm a woman who feels passionately about children. According to those who slam the 'religious right,' I disregard children because my first choice is for a foster child to be placed in a family with a Daddy and Mommy. This is a very personal area for me. I speak on this issue from experience. Why does it offend the 'open-minded' among us that I believe in traditional family first. My opinion does not automatically mean I relegate other child-rearing options to a 2nd-class stature or an abomination. Not the case. Please give me the benefit of the doubt.
I am a woman who loves people. According to those who slam the 'religious right' I cannot love people because in my simple disagreement with lifestyle choices I appear to be 'judging' or 'hating' the person. Honestly, I cannot think of a single person that I hate. While I lament destructive choices (including my own), I love people and truly believe that people can change through a living, breathing relationship with Christ.
I am a woman who desires to freely worship my God. According to those who slam the 'religious right' my goal is to impose my religion on unwilling bystanders. Wrong. Yes, I'd love to spend a day telling you about how God has changed this self-centered, materialistic woman into something new and someone alive. And yet, I will never, ever force my faith on you. Never.
I am a woman who is happy to garden, laugh, book shop, paint, write, read, deeply love, teach my children, imagine and remember. So, while I technically might fit into your lovely description of the 'religious right', please remember that I am so much more than the label you attach. Please give me the benefit that you allow all others whom you actually applaud for trying everything under the sun. Please don't assume you 'know' me because of your labels or make comments about how smart I once was before I bought into this 'religious right' stuff.
And me, I'll just be peeling those labels right off, rolling them in little balls and playing paper football with them. Cheers.