Book Review: Left Right & Christ – by Lisa Sharon Harper and D.C. Innes

I’m a former hardcore Republican, turned Republican-leaning independent, turned Democrat-leaning independent, turned moderate registered Democrat (I’m in a closed primary state, so if I want to vote in primaries, I have to pick a side). So I appreciate views on both sides, because I’ve been everything along the political spectrum except an extreme liberal or libertarian.

Left Right & Christ got off to a bit of a slow start. The early chapters were a bit vague, thus lowering my expectations. But as the authors got into specific issues, the book delivered and was better than expected.

I was particularly impressed with Lisa Sharon Harper. Most liberal Christian books tend to be high on bleeding-heart liberalism, but light on comprehensive historical and economic facts. I expected Harper to deliver the same thing, but her writing is very well-supported with history. I learned some things from her I didn’t know, and, to me, that’s what books are all about. And even though I’m anti-abortion, I found her understanding of the political realities of this issue to be very helpful.

D.C. Innes writes well, but I was disappointed that such an extremist Republican was chosen to represent the conservative view (but that seems to be the case more and more these days). He says on page 73 that he opposes public schools and school-provided lunches as well as “government environmental protection” and “workplace safety standards.” He says later in the book He wants the Republicans to return to being the party of Reagan, but Reagan was nowhere near this extreme. I wish I could send Innes back 100 years in a time machines so he could experience first hand what a hell hole America was for the working class when there were no worker safety protections (8500 workers killed in the railroad industry alone in 1889) and no environmental protections (the Cuyahoga river caught on fire 13 times from 1868 to 1969, but never since the EPA started in 1971. Meanwhile, Bethlehem was so polluted, only sycamore trees could grow). This guy is not a Reagan Republican; he’s a Gilded Age Robber-Barron Republican. But that seems to be the direction today’s Republican Party has chosen, which is why I finally registered as a Democrat in 2012.

The book’s biggest weakness is that neither author has room to get into any issue in depth. There’s a lot more that could have been said. But it’s still a very worthwhile read. And best of all, it’s one you can recommend to your Christian friends without sounding like an extremist that’s just trying to promote one side of an issue.