and therefore must be a liberal.
Back in my seminary days, at what is now called Palmer Theological Seminary - which was then a pretty centrist American Baptist seminary, one of my profs said that it is not possible to be both Christian and a Republican. In part, he may have been trying to get a rise out of some of the students, but he did believe what he was saying. He was saying that the political stances of the conservative movement and the platform stances of the Republican Party were antithetical to Christian ethics. I have continuing connections with that professor and he would say that this is more true now than it was back in the 70's.
I read an article today in the Scientific American that says foundational that I think makes my profs statement even more true. The article shows that positive images carry more weight with liberals than conservatives or, to phrase it another way, that conservatives have a "bad is stronger than good bias." It is no wonder then, that the article quotes William F. Buckley who said that conservatism "stands athwart history, yelling "Stop." For conservatives, change is always for the worse and the future is only dark. For them, our role is to hang onto the past as tenaciously as we can because things are clearly falling apart.
This strikes me as the opposite of faith. If I truly trust in the power of a loving God, then how can I but see the future as positive? As a child, I had a plaque on my wall with a quote from the early missionary Adoniram Judson, "The future is as bright as the promises of God." If I believe that, how can I envision anything but a future of beauty and wonder and progress? Now, I know that many conservatives would respond that I cannot ignore the power of sin. Fine, I'll give them that. I have experienced the powers of sin and each day I read about it in the newspaper and see it on television and online. Sin is very, very real... and it is bigger than many of them would acknowledge as it wields power both in and through individuals and in and through larger societal systems. But, sin is not the final word. I also believe in the good news of Easter when the powers of sin and death are overcome by the power of God's love. I believe Paul when in Roman's he speaks of God's love which overcomes all negative powers in the universe. I believe the prophet Isaiah when he speaks for God, "look, I'm doing something new."
Standing astride history yelling "stop!" by definition means standing against the movement of God to a better future. Living with a basic orientation of "no" is a position of no faith rather than one of faith. So, again, I have faith... therefore I am a liberal.