A voice on the other end of my office phone asked that question only minutes after I arrived at the Daily Mountain Eagle last Friday.
“I don’t consider myself a liberal” was my response.
A pleasant conversation about my column in that day’s paper followed that question.
I’m not so sure the conversation would have been as pleasant if I had answered that question differently.
If you didn’t read last week’s column, it was titled, “Jesus and the Chick-fil-A ordeal.” I received quite a few calls, emails, letters and social media messages regarding the column. Much of the feedback was positive, and there was also a fair share of people who took my ideas on the subject to task. I expected both.
What I didn’t really expect were the questions like “Are you a liberal?” or “What do conservative Christians think about this?”
Those kinds of questions shocked me, because there wasn’t anything remotely political (in my mind anyway) about what I had written.
While the topic of homosexual marriage may be a political issue, that wasn’t mentioned in my piece. I simply wrote about how Christians should love all people, and that love of humanity should be taken into account before we rush to take part in some boycott or appreciation day or anything else.
Last week’s column wasn’t a right or left thing. Last week’s column was my spirituality poured out on a page. There was much prayer on my part before, during and after the writing of that piece.
I would like to thank each person who sent a response to the column — whether it was positive, negative or indifferent. If you took time to call, email, text or write, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to share your thoughts with me.
While my thoughts may have not resonated with everyone who read them, there were many people who were touched by something they read in that piece.
It was worth catching some flack from some to hear stories from broken and hurting people who found a glimmer of hope through something I wrote. To those people, I was humbled by your encouraging words and received such a blessing from hearing your stories.
In my eyes, hurting people aren’t right or left. They aren’t conservative or liberal. They are people who are just begging for someone to meet them where they are and let them know that someone cares.
Everything doesn’t have to be right or left. People don’t even have to be right or left. I do not consider myself to be conservative or liberal. I consider myself to be apolitical. While I do partake in the election process by voting, it isn’t something that drives my life.
If I am being honest, my choices for political office are determined by my spirituality.
Does that mean I only vote for candidates from a particular political party? Certainly not.
Does that mean that I let one or two issues drive who I vote for? Certainly not.
It means that I vote for who I feel led to vote for. It’s that simple.
So don’t call me right. Don’t call me left. Just call me James.
James Phillips is Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.