Religion is a very important issue for me. I grew up in family that was both orthodox liberal and orthodox Catholic. The two sets of ideas were closely interrelated.
The general liberal belief at that time- the 60’s and 70’s- was that poor people were special, and a critical concern of society. Poor people were inherently good by virtue of being poor, and by virtue of suffering by being poor. They were like darling children, and so everything they did was lovable or excusable. Even if they did something serious, like killing someone, it was only because they were poor and oppressed, and the people who should really feel the shame and guilt were the middle-class and rich people who had caused them to be poor, by not giving them enough money.
From a religious viewpoint, this was explained by the fact that the poor were God’s true chosen people, that Jesus loved the poor above all others, and that it was evil to judge others- or at least poor people, judging middle-class and rich people was good and necessary.
I was taught I could never have any negative feelings, never have any sexual feelings, and if anyone hurt me I could not feel any anger towards them or ask for any justice. As a result of this kind of thinking, the country was in chaos in those years. There was a great deal of violent crime of extreme cruelty. The liberal idea was that because criminals, especially minority criminals, and even murderers, were really just misguided and oppressed poor children they should only be confined for a few years, go through a rehabilitation program, and be released. First degree murderers often got life sentences that amounted to seven years. Of course this did not work, and the criminals got out and harmed more people. There was a demand by the mass of white people for stricter laws, which were of course denounced as racist.
Racist or not, to contain the chaos criminals were imprisoned for longer and longer periods of time, and for the first time “three strikes” laws became common outside the South. Middle-class people lost sympathy for poor people, and eventually in the 90’s after years of talk, welfare reform was passed.
60’s liberalism, in both politics and Christianity, was dialed back a bit, but is largely institutionalized in America. Appeals courts and liberal lawyers are very concerned about the welfare of criminals.
As an intelligent, perceptive child this seemed insane to me. That a large portion of the population could be aggressively, arrogantly evil and get no judgment or condemnation, and that the real bad people were well-behaved, productive people like me was crazy. But this is what my parents thought, so what could I do? For a while I resigned myself. I could see I was going to have a pretty bad life, but I would just try to follow the religion and get my reward in the afterlife.
Then one day- I remember it quite clearly, standing on the lawn of the church Sunday morning after the service- I said to myself “No, this is not right, I don’t deserve to be treated like this.” I abandoned Catholicism at that point. I resolved however that one day I would read the Bible myself and see if what I had been taught was correct.
I was in a bookstore one day and found a translation of the New Testament by Richmond Lattimore, a Greek scholar who had done translations of Greek classics like the Iliad and Odyssey. I figured this would be a guy without an axe to grind, not trying to make it come out one way or another, just render it in English as best as possible.
What I found was that what I had been taught was grossly incorrect. Liberal Christianity is a gross distortion of the Bible, based on twisted interpretations of carefully selected passages. Even the part that liberal Christians depend most on- the Sermon on the Mount- means nothing close to what they claim it means.
To call liberal Christianity heretical I think is not too extreme. The entire liberal culture we have today is based on twisted, self-serving interpretations of the Bible going back to the Reformation. To be told over and over again as a child that you are evil and going to hell but the kids who hurt others are specially loved by Jesus is the worst form of child abuse. Criminals love the liberal Christianity because it allows them to shed their status as offenders of the social order and harmers of others and not only gain moral parity with professed Christians but moral superiority to those who do not profess Christianity.
Liberal Christianity is evil and insane. God is and cannot be evil and insane, so liberal Christianity is not from God but from evil men claiming to represent God. At least Communists have the decency to be atheists- well at least the atheist communists, Christian communists like Ignacio Ellacuria are quite capable of advocating terrorism and murder in God’s name, just like Moslems.