Kruzic: Liberal ideals, like Christian ideals, value all humans

Ahna Kruzic

Early last week, I saw advertisements around campus for a lecture entitled “Radical Marxist, Radical Feminist, Radical Love: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Social Justice.” Posters publicizing the event touted symbols that are quite familiar to me: the feminist and communist symbols, proudly displayed next to the title of the lecture. Because feminism and communism are often talked-about paradigms in the social-justice community, I had assumed the lecture would discuss how Mother Teresa had furthered the lecturer’s social-justice paradigm through Marxist and feminist principles.

Not surprisingly, the phrases “radical feminist”, “radical Marxist”, “radical love” and “social justice” caught my eye. Last Thursday, I gave in to my curiosity and decided to attend the lecture. Though not particularly religious, I looked forward to learning about the connection between Mother Teresa and four of my most intimate interests.

As lecturer Mary Poplin began to speak, I realized the lecture was not what I had anticipated. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. Instead of a lecture that touts feminism and Marxism as paths to social justice and equity, Poplin preached that feminism and Marxism were her identities prior to her Christian self. Poplin effectively pitted her former so-called left ideals against Christianity; she falsely gave the impression to the audience that feminism and Marxism were incompatible with radical love. For Poplin, it was through abandoning her feminist and Marxist paradigm that she supposedly found how to give and embody “radical love”. To her, “feminist” and “communist” were dirty identities that she overcame to become the loving Christian she is today.

Ms. Poplin has got it all wrong. In fact, it is my sheer love and concern for people that has motivated me as a feminist and Marxist to become a social-justice activist. As a feminist, I believe in the inherent value of all human beings. I believe sexism hurts both men and women by enforcing constricting and unnatural roles of femininity and masculinity. For example, because of sexism women are portrayed as mere sex objects in the media, and men oftentimes lose the opportunity to be actively involved in the caretaking of their children as a result of expectations of masculinity.

To me, it seems feminism embodies “radical love”. Other feminists and I work every day to further the notion that all individuals have value; the work of feminists inherently embodies radical love under the assumption that human beings deserve love and equity — regardless of sex, gender presentation, or sexual orientation.

As an atheist Marxist, I (to Poplin’s surprise) embody the ideals that she has touted as unique to Christianity and Christians such as Mother Teresa. As Poplin explained, Mother Teresa believed that the Christian God does not create poverty. According to Poplin, it is greed, lust and power that creates and sustains injustice; I wholeheartedly agree.

As a self-identifying Marxist, I can directly quote and agree with what Ms. Poplin has previously said: “Man creates poverty when he will not share.” Because of my radical love for human beings, I believe hierarchy, domination and an economic system based upon the exploitation of human life in the pursuit of profit is inherently wrong.

By pitting the so-called “liberal” political identities of “Marxist” and “feminist” against Christianity, Poplin has falsely advertised to Christians that liberals are dirty, anti-Christian, anti-love individuals. I am here to inform you and emphasize that liberals are not anti-god. In fact, it is the very leftist politics that embody Christian ideals.

Similar to liberal ideology, the Bible does not support greed and the collection of excessive wealth. In fact, the Bible details that greed and gluttony is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:10). Specifically, in the very first church, communist-like ideals were the dominant ideology. Acts 24:4 states that, “All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.” The Christian church, according to the Bible, believes in equality and the redistribution of wealth, not the accumulation of wealth. As Karl Marx would say, “from each according to his ability to each according to his need.”

Not unique to Mary Poplin, a rift has effectively been created amongst Christians and liberals. Many Christians believe liberals are essentially the anti-Christian and the anti-love. However, when examined more closely, it becomes obvious that liberal ideals are the very ideals that typify radical love and valuing of all human beings.

The Bible does not support the systems we currently live in that allow inequitable distribution of wealth and privilege to individuals based on sex, gender or ability; in fact, if you look at the Bible, it becomes obvious that Christians and liberals can agree that gluttony and greed are grave sins inherently in opposition to what Ms. Poplin would call “radical love” (Proverbs 28:7).