"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Oppression Olympics and Victimization as a Virtue

During my freshman year in high school, I took a Civic's Class. The energetic teachers of the class, a young man in his first year of teaching and an older woman,  nurtured a seedling love for politics within me.

One day they asked the question, "Define what it means to be a liberal."

Forty years later, I still remember the discussion that ensued. Maybe my memory is clear because I could tell they had a fondness for my scholastic aptitude, and they called on me to answer their question. 

But I was stumped.

It was in the days of President Jimmy Carter, and my poor answer revolved around picking and choosing some things President Carter did that I heard people call "liberal politics" in the late 1970's. I gave a weak description of what I thought liberalism was.  I couldn't give a definition of what liberalism is.

The rebuttal my teachers gave me went like this: "You chose to define a liberal by his actions. You've not given us a definition of the word "liberal." The Patriots of the American Revolution were called "liberals" by the English Parliament in 1776, but today Americans deem 1776 American Patriots as "conservatives." One generation's liberal is another generation's conservative. Give us a definition."

After a flurry of back-and-forth, we eventually came to a definition of a liberal. 
"A liberal is one who believes in freedom." 
The root word of liberal is liberty. So a liberal is one who cherishes human freedom. The freedom to speak, the freedom to worship, the freedom to think, the freedom to live, and the freedom to pursue happiness as the individual pleases, as long as the pursuit of that personal freedom does not impinge on the freedom of others. 

Freedom is the key.

There seems to be a loss of true liberalism in America.

The political left is not liberal anymore. It is regressive in its pursuit of freedom. The regressive left is actually desiring to remove individual freedoms.

The regressive left categorizes people based upon victimization. They class groups of people into classifications of victimhood, and then remove personal liberties for people not in that class. The regressive left has created a modern Olympics of Oppression.

Victimization has become the highest virtue in American leftist culture. 

If you are a minority woman who believes in abortion, then you can march in the Women's March on Washington, D.C. But if you are a pro-life woman, you're barred from the freedom of marching and expressing your views, regardless of your color.

If you are a Muslim refugee from Syria whose been victimized by radicals, then you are given American freedom without restriction. But if you are an American Muslim who speaks out against radical Islamic terrorism, then you are called a bigot, and your freedom to speak out against radical Islamic terror is removed.

If you are a minority transgender person, then you are exalted onto the platform of freedom of expression and given your own bathroom, but if you are a straight person with children, then the regressive left seeks to repress you from expressing your views in public and wishes to force you to take your children into a transgendered bathroom. 

If you think like the regressive left on university campuses, you are bestowed individual freedom to speak, protest and lead. But even if you are a black woman (minority), and you think like an evangelical Christian, your freedom to speak, protest and lead on a university campus is removed.

Freedom is given to only the virtuous in the regressive left, and the greatest virtue in their way of thinking is victimization. 

At some point, America will wake up and see that a true, classical liberal believes in freedom for every individual, regardless of whether or not that individual is in a category of victimization.

One should never be given freedom of worship if one's intention is to hide guns, bombs, and terrorists in a house of worship. Your freedom of worship cannot impinge on the freedoms of others. 

Ironically, even some true classical liberals in America are waking up to the fact that their individual freedoms are being removed by the regressive left.  

For one of the few times in my life, I find myself agreeing with the New York Times
CLASSIC liberalism exalted tolerance, reflected in a line often attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”"On university campuses, that is sometimes updated to: 'I disapprove of what you say, so shut up.' Universities risk becoming liberal echo chambers and hostile environments for conservatives, and especially for evangelical Christians. As I see it, we (on university campuses) are hypocritical: We welcome people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us."
The regressive left has left liberalism. They've embraced a form of intolerance that is eroding the freedoms of individual Americans who do not think like them. I will fight for my regressive left friends to express their views freely, but when they plug their ears to hearing a value system different from their own, I will freely point out they've left liberalism and become intolerant.

Oppression olympics are games we Americans should never play.

25 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

Well said!!!

Christiane said...

”"On university campuses, that is sometimes updated to: 'I disapprove of what you say, so shut up.'

I think this happens when people are uncomfortable being open with those who see things differently. I think this happens when people no longer have respect for the ability of others to have a different perspective than their own.

But I think it crosses over the lines and labels of 'conservative' and 'liberal' and shows up among those who work very hard to prevent communication that is honest and respectful.

Steve Bannon who closely advises the President has told the media to 'shut up'. But that was not in a 'liberal' setting, no.

Our human weakness is never more evident than when we cannot respect the dignity of one another as human persons, as individuals. Fearfulness drives respect and dignity out the door. And as needs must, comes then 'the sound of silence' with its prophetic warning of resistance rising.

Don said...

Those are great insights, the so-called progressives are actually becoming regressive in many ways.

I see it as a political tug of war between those for stability and those for change. Most people know that we should not be so stable that we should never change, otherwise, we would still have states that allow slavery or prohibit so-called miscegenation. So SOME tension between stability and change is to be expected and even seen as good. The concern I have nowadays is that those for change seem to keep trying to outdo themselves and seek more and more change faster and faster, as at some point there is such a thing as too much change and everything built up just breaks down.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! One thing I struggle with in trying to evangelize is our culture of victimhood. So many do not see themselves as responsible for any of their actions, but rather as victims of this that or the other.

The only people Jesus saves is sinners. When an individual cannot admit even to themselves that they are anything but perfect, there is just no way to reach them.

Linda

Wade Burleson said...

Linda,

Agreed.

Jesus makes us "more than conquerors." I have a hard time understanding how even Christians see themselves as victims.

Dave Panzera said...

As it is classically defined I , am liberal. That would sound hysterical to my friends and those who know me best but it is true that in that classical sense one who loves and cherishes liberty is, in essence, liberal minded. Of course there is time and history which has replaced that meaning somewhat. A conservative wants for certain values to remain as they are the ones by modern day definition who believe in moral absolutes. It is why I no longer refer to all liberals in my discussion of politics but to the liberal progressive because some liberals have morals and believe in moral absolutes. The Liberal Progressive? Well, they are not classic liberals, not at all tolerant and more and more are gleeful to use state powers to force their world-view on all. If you do not believe this fine but I dare you to be Christian and not bake that gay wedding cake. You will quickly see that the liberal progressive has no compunction about the use of state power and authority to force you by the point of a gun (or arrest or jail or such) to bake that cake. Soon enough, had they won this last election, installed that juror on our supreme court they would have taken it to the next level. I have for 20 years been saying that the next level is blatant persecution of Christians to the point of jail for teaching that homosexuality is a sin. No, there is no freedom of religion because they would deem your religious resistance to their world view and lifestyle as hate and have legal code written to support their treatment of you for this "hate" its why they resort to those terms whenever and where ever they can. (Please reference the Chick-Fil-A attacks they tried a few years back)

In many ways, the modern day liberal is unfortunately stuck between a new rock (the liberal progressives that run their party now) and the hard place of not wanting to fully support the right because their moral absolutes are seen as too restrictive. For many, though, this last election proved that the liberal progressive wing controlling their positions of power within their party have become too un palatable to follow anymore and most likely stayed home or even voted for Donald Trump. They watched as elements within their own party fully rigged the primary process and had to lose their positions in the party when caught....they had to tolerate the likes of Anthony Wiener and others having done some of the most outrageous things yet getting a pass at election time. As a result of all this many Americans have just had it with them...30 governorships are now republican, many more state governments are controlled by GOP, they held the senate and house and won the presidency.

Make no mistake...GOP does not and never will equal GOD. I will never look at the GOP and say they are perfect, or holy or such a thing. I will look at every individual regardless of their affiliation and make my own judgments on their actions.

Christiane said...

I am horrified by what is happening to our country. I have contacts overseas who are also horrified. My family contains serving military people and it is their lives I now place first in my prayers for God to protect from the 'crazy' that has come. Thanks for letting me express this, Wade. Please pray that our military folk are cared for under the strong leadership of Gen. Mattis, who seems to be a sensible voice in the government now. I hope he does not resign or get fired. He seems stable.

Very worried for what is to come against the people who are most vulnerable in our country.

Tom Ross said...

Wade, I am so sorry that you have not understood that Liberty is not freedom. The liberty to choose to act in a certain manner is bestowed on us by the needs/controls of our society. To claim that we have “Religious Freedom” is not true because it is a “liberty” that is allowed within conditional constraints by the society in which we live.

Liberty as such does not cherish human “freedom” as you are suggesting, but rather is repressive of our ability to freely choose the means of how we worship and the practices of that religious worship. We are constrained by the “Law” of the liberties that people enjoy within their respective society if we comply with the respective laws of that “liberty.”

I consider that “liberty” is a physical constraint that we live within. When a judge tells a convicted person that he is removing his “freedom” by imprisoning him in a jail, his claim is not true because the reality is that the judge is removing only one or two of the convicted man’s liberties and not his “freedom.”.

On the other hand, I consider, that “freedom” is a spiritual constraint that we can chose to live within. It too has boundary conditions, but they are there to help us maintain our “freedom” because when we move outside of that boundary constraint we simply lose our “freedom” and if we realise that we are drifting towards the outside of the boundary constraints we can take corrective action to return to living once more in Freedom. If we do not take this corrective action, then we will suffer the consequences of “freely choosing” to live outside of the boundaries of that “Freedom.”

I can have the same “Freedom” in my country as in any other country or society in the world which is oppressive and restrictive in the liberties that I can enjoy. They cannot forcibly take my “Freedom” from me, but they can coerce me to freely give up my “freedom” subtly.

You made the claim that: - “So a liberal is one who cherishes human freedom. The freedom to speak, the freedom to worship, the freedom to think, the freedom to live, and the freedom to pursue happiness as the individual pleases, as long as the pursuit of that personal freedom does not impinge on the freedom of others.” In other words we can “freely choose” to live within the imposed Liberties. However, I would suggest that a liberal is one who wants constraints put on people so that complete anarchy does not take over the/their society. In other words it is repressive.

Today’s use of the word “Freedom” is “to be able to freely choose to do whatever we want no matter what the consequences are for other people,” which in a nut shell is anarchism. Liberals oppose anarchism and they use the “Law” to impose appropriate behaviour on all of the people within that society and we know that the Law will not save us from ourselves.

However, if people choose to live within the realms of the true “Freedom” that can be obtained through a genuine relationship with our Father God, by accepting His terms and conditions, then we will have that True “Freedom.” It is not by living “by or within the Law” that we have “true Freedom,” but by living within a “right spiritual relationship” with our Father God.

Liberalism may tickle our ears and sound good but the reality is that it will cause us to die {taamuwt} because of where we put our trust.

Shalom

ScottShaver said...

The most "vulnerable" people in the country right now are those who raise the voice of common sense against the open borders crowd. Like Christianne, I'm horrified that it takes the country dividing right down the middle before it can implement even the most basic measures for its own self-preservation. Let em kick and scream till the cows come home and keep moving forward to establish the integrity of U.S. Borders as well as its elections.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

Brilliant assessment of what is happening in this country as well as yours.

Apparently the Oxford Dictionary has included a new word quoted in NYT, "posttruth", an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”

A child of situation ethics.

Posttruth is often referred to in Australia as "newtruth". I recently read where university spokespersons here have said that all student are welcome, but if you want to have contrary opinions, don't come.

Christiane said...

Scott said, ' Like Christianne, I'm horrified that it takes the country dividing right down the middle before it can implement even the most basic measures for its own self-preservation.'

What frightens me is that after the finale of 'Make America Great Again', will we still have an America left? I'm worried for our values, which are greatly under attack from within. If it comes to a national registry of Muslims, I and many of my fellow parishioners will be signing on as 'Muslim' in solidarity with our countrymen who stand in harm's way. If nothing more, I will stand WITH them. But at least, that is something.

ScottShaver said...

Christiane: All I can say is that if you sign on as a "Muslim" as some twisted display of "Christian" compassion an Imam somewhere will still be treating u like an infidel. Their cultural and social mores call for lopping off heads first and asking questions as to finer points of belief later. I'm afraid you and I see two different Americas which embody two different and antithetical sets of values.

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Christiane said...

"ScottShaver said...

Christiane: All I can say is that if you sign on as a "Muslim" as some twisted display of "Christian" compassion ...."

Scott, if I were to stand beside my fellow Americans who might come to be persecuted for their faith, then I will consider my actions to be the most Christian thing I could do in witness to them of Who Our Lord is. There is something to be said for standing up to bullies. There is something to be said for taking the side of those who are persecuted unfairly. Showing 'respect' for those who worship differently is something that my Church has taught me to do. But if I were to do this, I would join a great tradition of Christians who took the part of the Jews in Nazi Germany ...... in Denmark, when the Nazis ordered all Jews to wear the Star of David, the King came out wearing a Star, and seeing this, his countrymen and women followed his lead.

I hate bullying. If I see it, I will do what there is in my power to stop it. That intervention is critical for the well-being of my soul. This is not something I expect you to understand, but there it is..... my kind call it 'Christian witness', yes. Foolish? Twisted? to some, yes, but the Muslims won't. And if any fundamentalist-evangelicals EVER want to connect with them, it might be good to stand by them in their suffering, and to reflect the love of Christ in doing so. The Jews in Denmark understood.

ScottShaver said...

In "standing up to bullies" Christiane, you seem to share their disdain for those who disagree. I'm no more a "fundamentalist evangelical" than you are a hijab-clad Muslim, regardless of whether you register as one or not.

Your point about Jews in Denmark might be well taken if the crowd in question we're talking about were in fact, Jews. They're not. And regardless of what you might think of those of us who support the sitting Potus, our country has done more for the immigrant, the "vulnerable" and the persecuted than any other nation on earth.

We've been doing it long before the quasi-religious liberal progressives began to try and convince us of what actually constitutes our "national values". Precisely the reason I mention a two different Americas with two different sets of antithetical values.

So you can register as "Muslim" and I'll register as a cold hard skeptic of the progressive religious left.

Guess we'll let God decide in the end which approach was Christian and which was not. Meanwhile, I'm prayerfully supporting the new president and shrugging off the weak and wobbly-kneed whining of his current detractors. The best medicine rarely taste good going down.

RRR said...

Hmmmm..given Wade's enlightenment with his definition of the "liberal" label, I'm not sure who is the more "liberal", Scott or Christiane.

The perversion of "labels" could be humorous were it not so foolish and such empty rhetoric. According to my personal definitions, I am VERY "gay" because I am full of the joy and happiness of being reconciled with my Creator God. That being the case, I am also VERY "queer" because I am very strange and freakish in terms of being compatible with the values and ideologies of the world. So many traditional meanings of words have been hi-jacked and given meanings that are the antithesis of the original definition. Like DC Talk says, "People say I'm strange, guess that makes me a stranger. My best friend was born in a manger"!

RRR said...

Okay, here's a case in point regarding the phenomenon of "word hi-jacking" by very "foolish" people:
According to the UK's "Telegraph News", "The British Medical Association has said pregnant women should not be called "expectant mothers" as it could offend transgender people.
Instead, they should call them "pregnant people" so as not to upset intersex and transgender men, the union has said."

The logic followed by these esteemed, highly educated people is that if you refer to pregnant women as being "expectant mothers", you might offend a person who has female genitals, female "XX" chromosomes, and is totally of the female gender biologically BUT actually claims to be A MAN IN A FEMALE'S BODY. Therefore, in today's world we can actually have "EXPECTANT FATHERS" who might feel shunned and overlooked if you only make reference to "Expectant Mothers"!

No, no, I am not kidding. Come on, people, have you literally gone entirely, ballistically insane?

Am I being non-Christian and non-compassionate in pointing out the total absurdity of the degree of foolishness in which this world has arrived? To accept such totally baseless logic without challenge is to be the most cruel of all responses.

It is like telling your child it is okay to smoke pot, text while driving, play in the street, run with scissors in your hand, get your forehead tattooed, throw lit matches in gasoline,"your purple hair looks lovely","No, the baby inside you is actually lifeless tissue". Tell the world around you that its destructive, corrosive behavior is healthy and Christlike and very "inclusive" thus Godly, and by the way, "A loving God would NEVER allow there to be a hell!"

Yes, Dad, as you always said, "All the crazy people ain't dead yet!"

RRR said...

Okay, okay, I am sorry. I made a mistake in the spirit in which I wrote the last couple of responses. I realize that my using such language and terminology would certainly be offensive to many, especially those in the categories mentioned.

It is a challenge to live Christlike in today's tumultuous world. It is hard to maintain the savor of being the salt God expects us to be. I realize that being salt with savor does not only mean being righteous, but seeking to portray the grace and love of God as well. Given the condition of the world, there are many victims of it who are tormented and who need to be received and accepted as I was when I came to Christ, in spite of my wretched sinfulness. God help me to always be loving and anxious to receive ANYONE seeking to know Christ.

Sorry.

ScottShaver said...

Good points RRR. And I wouldn't worry so much about being "offensive". Sometimes you have to go on offense to score points.

everette said...

Suppression of the truth is not unique to liberalism. Conservatism is also fond of suppression in order to maintain power. Just look at the Texas history textbooks, which minimize the horrific impact of slavery and segregation, denigrate recipients of Affirmative Action, but not, for example, the many (mostly white) undeserving recipients of legacy scholarships, pretend that the Civil War was about 'states rights' and not slavery, and otherwise distort American history to paint white people, especially white Southerners, in the most positive possible light. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/22/opinion/how-texas-teaches-history.html

Similarly, a recent proposed law in Arizona seeks to ban state universities from teaching courses about 'social justice'--again, they want to prohibit students from learning anything that might paint white people in a less-than-flattering light. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/13/arizona-schools-social-justice-courses-ban-bill.

I don't object to conservatives stating their positions--I actually agree with conservatives on many issues--but I find attempts to suppress the truth to be at least as egregiously offensive and common among conservatives as among liberals.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RRR said...

Everette,

Of course, you're right. Distorting, perverting or oppressing reality cannot exclusively be attributed to any person, ideological group, political group or religious group. As a matter of fact, don't you and I do that at times? I know I have. Most of the time, when I have, I am not even aware of my bias, racism, or whatever else is resulting in my having a perverted perspective of reality, which is God's way of looking at all things.

As I observe all factions portraying what you refer to as "suppression of truth", it causes me to realize that few people are even capable of having a legitimately objective assessment of "the truth" on issues and events. More often, we "own" our perspective, regardless of which way it is slanted or perverted, and get angry, to the point of hating, those who are slanted in an opposing manner.

Maybe it will help folks like you and me to begin discarding labels, like "conservative" and "liberal" and begin to simply identify those things that we have, or see, in common and not begin judging each other about our perspective on other matters. Don't know if that is practical or possible, but might be worth a try.

I like to watch the movie "The Christmas Story" every Christmas and love dark chocolate, do you?

RRR said...

"I am not even aware of my bias, racism, or whatever else is resulting in my having a perverted perspective of reality, which is God's way of looking at all things."

Of course, I intended to say that God is the only One who can perceive ALL things, people, events, issues, etc., in an utterly objective manner. Maybe that is a virtue that rubs off on us as we walk closer and closer to Him. We're certainly not going to argue others into our corner.

Anonymous said...

For those that like church history and learning about small sects, there are Baptists who are universalists and Calvinists at the same time. You can research the Primitive Baptist Universalists. There are some good books on them.

Linda

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