I’ve been thinking recently about why we have such intense divisions within humanity. I think I have part of the answer and it comes down to the way conservatives and non-conservatives (liberals, libertarians, anarchists) see themselves and others.
In my most recent prior post, I made the point that conservatives see rights as coming from a heritage, from a historical, special blessing reserved specifically for them. Liberals, libertarians, and others see rights as universal, as having been “endowed by their Creator”, as “inalienable”, and not dependent on racial, ethnic, or national heritage or background.
Because of this view of “rights”, conservatives are more likely to view themselves as members of an exclusive group (like “Americans” or “whites” or “evangelicals” or “Western Civilization”) and others as members of an excluded group (“Illegals” or “non-Christians” or “non-members” or “Islamo-fascists”). And while many liberals will do the same thing (“bigoted” or “politically-incorrect” or “heartless”), they see their group as much more fluid, with entrance not dependent on things like race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion (things that are difficult, if not impossible, to alter), but more determined by ways of thinking…things that can change with that trifecta of radicalism decried by Kirk in my first post: improving education, changing the developmental environment, and enacting better laws.
My question is: how do we see ourselves? The title of the post is a reference to a song by one of the few listenable LDS pop artists, Cherie Call. The line is: “Sometimes you see what Jesus sees when you look in the mirror.” Who do we see in that mirror, who are we, what is our primary allegiance and how do we arrange our allegiances?
These are questions that we all must ask ourselves as we interact with other people. They are also the questions we have to ask ourselves as we ponder political and social issues. One religious leader (and previous to his religious leadership, a very outspoken political thinker and writer) organized the allegiances thus: God, Family, Country. I would argue that this is absolutely right. However, I think my definition of family is different than his, and different than conservatives who think similarly.
Yes, we have an immediate family that has a higher allegiance and need for our attention and devotion than anyone or anything besides God. However, if God is our highest allegiance it stands to reason that His family should have a higher allegiance than country, primarily because for God and His salvation, there are no borders, no countries–and perhaps, for God, there is a truly a “brotherhood of man.”
I would argue that I am a member of God’s human family before I am an American, before I am a Caucasian, before I am part of any other group. I would argue that my allegiance to my family is thus higher than that to my country, and although I feel a deep gratitude and sense of allegiance to my country I feel that I must subjugate that allegiance to my allegiance to my human family and that when my country is behaving in such a way that violates my human family, I must protect my family’s interest first.
Most, if not all, religions believe that all human beings are creations of a Supreme Being. Christians proclaim loudly that God is the Creator and is “no respecter of persons” and that we are all, in some fundamental way, brothers and sisters here on the earth. However, most Christians or other religious groups seem to have lost that sense of allegiance to their human family. This I don’t understand except that in history, religions have been used by political elites who run countries to promote jingoism by abusing patriotism and to misalign allegiance for the country at the expense to the point of seeing human beings as the “other”, as “the enemy”, generating the xenophobia that has caused a vast majority of wars and is so rapidly accelerating the deterioration of human relations.
What I don’t comprehend is why secular humanists get this idea of a human family so much better than do religious people. Christians should lead out in arguing for the concept of a human family. I, for one, will not let “conservative Christians” speak for me, telling me to subjugate my allegiance to God’s human family to the whims of a political elite who govern a country. My allegiance will be to God, the Father and Creator of all humankind, to His Son Jesus Christ, Savior and Redeemer of all humankind, to my immediate family for whom I have been given primary stewardship, to my brothers and sisters, my human family throughout this world, and to my country while it promotes the ideas of freedom outlined thus: