Item description for An Evangelical on the Left by Anna Waldherr...
An Evangelical on the Left examines the place of faith in the public forum, focusing on the alliance between President George W. Bush and the political movement known as the Christian Right. Author Anna Waldherr is sharply critical of Bush Administration policies and ethics, making the case that Christian religious beliefs and Neo-Conservative political policy are fundamentally at odds. While biblical in outlook, An Evangelical on the Left addresses a variety of controversial topics with a fresh eye. These include abortion, poverty, homosexuality, racism, and the war in Iraq. Waldherr draws on historical references, legal precedents, economic analysis, and social commentary to make sense of the complex times in which we live. Seeking to bridge the divide between Left and Right, An Evangelical on the Left calls for tolerance and brotherhood. The book is uncompromising in relaying the Gospel message of love and forgiveness.
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Provocative, insightful and true! Jun 25, 2009
I just finished reading Anna Waldherr's An Evangelical on the Left. Ms. Waldherr has obviously done her research and is well grounded in sound biblical doctrine. Broken up into chapters such as "Separation of Church and State: Theocracy and Human Fallibility," "Idolatry," and "The Value of Life," Waldherr heads up each subject with both scriptural and secular quotes pertaining to the upcoming subjects.
Waldherr spends much time in Evangelical rightly criticizing the hawkish Bush Administration but also intrepidly covers subjects such as racism, homosexuality, stem-cell research, and terrorism.
Some might be surprised to learn that the Republican Party was founded with the goal of opposing the expansion of slavery (Lincoln was the first Republican President, after all), as well as fighting corruption and standing up for the middle class. Over the years, due to the Great Depression, wars, and other crises, the GOP handed the "party of the middle class" baton to the Democratic Party. Additionally, for the past quarter century or more, the GOP has become intrinsically entwined with (and many would say controlled by) the Christian Coalition. Not only does this alienate many would-be Republicans but it has, over the years, caused many an erstwhile Christian to mistakenly think that they have to vote Republican across the board.
Waldherr eloquently and persuasively argues that the Christian=Republican mindset is not only errant but unbiblical. For instance "What is not biblically mandated at all is an emphasis on capitalism which has corrupted much of the underlying belief system." Economical issues aside, many Christians feel we must legislate our own code of morality onto others. However, "nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus speak of conversion by force. We each of us must make a free will choice whether to accept the offer of salvation or not. No one can make the critical decision for us. Certainly no one can mandate it - this is an attempt to institutionalize so called traditional values." (We need look no further than Iran to see the consequences of living in a theocracy.)
As a result, many non-believers see us as smug and uncaring, two attributes I don't think could ever be applied to Jesus. Indeed, Jesus was socially liberal - He epitomized egalitarian values, social justice, tolerance, humility - Jesus was against the wealthy and powerful and legalistic religiosity (remember the Pharisees?). Jesus knew there was room for all of us under the umbrella of sound doctrine. Indeed, Waldherr reminds us that two of Jesus' 12 apostles were themselves at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Simon the Zealot was a member of a fanatically patriotic party, with the goal of complete freedom for the kingdom of Israel (any opposition to the nation's sovereignty was seen as an act of war, and any Jewish sympathy for their Roman oppressors was seen as an act of treason). Matthew on the other hand, was a tax collector on behalf of Rome - as such he worked for the political oppressor - in the opinion of his fellow Jews - Matthew was a traitor. So certainly if Jesus' apostles ranged from far right to far left, why do we, Christ's church, not accept those with whom Jesus would surely break bread?
Waldherr is very articulate and speaks wisely - indeed "as Christians, it is our privilege to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. Those lead us to Calvary, not the White House."
I highly recommend Waldherr's provocative but earnest An Evangelical on the Left. Even if you do not subscribe to Ms. Waldherr's viewpoint, you will learn more than you thought you did about political history and the nature of Christ according to scripture.