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Conservative and liberal values can meet in the middle

Though it often seems as if conservative and liberal values lie on completely opposite ends of the spectrum, they can meet in the middle for the greater good.

I grew up in a moderately conservative household, but, like many college students, I consider myself to be a tad more liberal than my forerunners. However, according to a political beliefs inventory I took during the last presidential election cycle, I am a perfect centrist.

As someone who stands in the middle of the political spectrum, I tend to evaluate individual issues rather than overall parties to determine where I stand. I believe that the “right” answer lies outside the two predetermined options.

As a nation, we observed the coming together of conservative and liberal values for the greater good in the recent Alabama Senate elections. In a state that’s long bled Republican red, a Democratic candidate took home the victory for the first time since 1992

Doug Jones’s close-call victory followed child molestation accusations against Republican candidate Roy Moore. For many Alabama voters, Jones’s stance on the issue of abortion contradicted their deeply held religious beliefs, but they chose to vote for the candidate whom they felt would best represent their state on Capitol Hill.

Through the 2017 Senate election, the Alabama voters made their choice for the greater good. Though Jones’s beliefs may conflict with their own, the people of Alabama did what was right for the nation by refusing to allow an accused sexual predator to serve in the federal government.

Stereotypically, conservative voters are thought to be strongly evangelical, while liberal voters are considered more socialistic in their beliefs. However, I would argue that the values a stereotypical conservative reads in the Bible align with some of the beliefs a liberal holds most dear. As a Christian, this is how my religious and political beliefs intersect.

In Matthew 25, Jesus describes separating the righteous from the unrighteous like a shepherd. In verses 34-36, He says, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’.”

When the unrighteous in the parable asked the King when they saw him in need, he replies in verse 40, “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

The King in this story is Jesus, and what “righteousness” comes down to is how you treat those who can do nothing for you. Because Jesus came to save those who could not save themselves, He taught His followers to treat other people with that same kind of unconditional love.

This is where conservative and liberal values can come together. Every political issue should be evaluated through the lens of unconditional love.

We are all each other has in the world, so, regardless of one’s religious or political beliefs, we should be doing everything we can to look out for the best interest of everyone.

Take the issue of abortion, for example. Regardless of the pro-choice/pro-life argument, there are still going to be women who seek abortions, and they’re going to find a way to get them. As it becomes harder to get an abortion in the United States, the health and safety risks these women may face also continue to rise. Therefore, it should be the responsibility of both lawmakers and voters to keep the welfare of these women in mind.

Another divisive issue is immigration. As people enter the United States in search of a better life, some voters believe it’s in the country’s best interest to keep them out. However, many immigrants flee war-torn countries or economic upheaval. If one was to consider these immigrants with the same love through which Jesus would have seen them, then the real issue becomes, once again, their welfare.

What political values boil down to is the value one places not only on his or her own life but also on the lives of other people. When voters set aside the politics of an issue and instead focus on the human life involved, the answer should be clear. Every choice we make should be for the greater good, even if we must be the ones to sacrifice.

Related Links:

Pew Research Center: Most Americans oppose churches choosing sides in elections

Relevant Magazine: What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees

The Atlantic: The Rise of the Christian Left in America 

New York Times Opinion: Is Trump a Blessing or Curse for Religious Conservatives?