Tuesday, March 14

Proslytizing

I ignored Amy Sullivan (though her piece last week stayed on my desktop all week), and then I ignored Steve Waldman (who was taken to task sufficiently by Digby and others). Then here comes Ogged and a link to this:
Yet I know that I’m in a long line of those who have stood up for justice: John Brown, Henry Ward Beecher, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mary Elizabeth Clark, Catherine Doherty, Mother Teresa, Walter Rauschenbusch, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Nanne Zweip, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and on, and on, and on. Christians have stood against slavery, discrimination, war, poverty, homelessness, hunger, unemployment, regressive taxation, and on, and on, and on, often well before the secular world cared about the issues. In spite of the church’s shining record of progressive issues, however, the Christian left’s contribution to mercy and justice has often been forgotten, perhaps because the right so often yells louder and pounds its fists harder.

Without chiming in on Agnes Bojaxhiu, whose main contribution to American politics was a partnership with Charles Keating, let's just say it's reasonable, if we expect the good deeds of Christians to be remembered as Christian acts, to accept the opposite when it comes along without complaining about "hostility to religion". Slaveholders and segregationists could quote the Bible with the best of 'em. The opening chapter of the story of Christianity in the New World is the closing chapter of Arawak history. By the time the (essentially Christian) Abolutionist movement gathered momentum in this country there were 350 years of some very unsavory history to overcome.

That's not to ask anyone to wear a hairshirt today, though you are free to volunteer, but apart from some rather dubious political advice for Democrats, it's really your problem how you live in a secular world, not mine.

Chris took me to task, rightly so, I think, in the comments at HFPSTwN for asking where the liberal Christian response has been to the right "yelling louder and pounding its fists harder." I understand, and appreciate, how frustrating it is that the religious right, and the anti-abortion Church, are part of the accepted media script, while the other side is muffled. But that problem didn't begin yesterday, and when there seems to be more concern about Christianity receiving tacit obeisance from the "secular left" than the continuing message of hate in Jesus' name, at least in some quarters, I think a lot of us are going to regard that as an issue.

4 comments:

D. Sidhe said...

I'm not entirely sure you should get singled out for special admiration for doing what you're *supposed* to be doing as a Christian, nor for doing exactly what the rest of the secular left does.
What is it the Christian liberals want? It seems to me that they're looking for recognition that they're progressive *because* they're not secular. Fine, okay.
But it doesn't entirely matter to me how you arrived at the proposition that injustice is wrong.

I suppose it's reasonable to not like to be linked with the nutjobs on the right, but shouldn't opposition to slavery, war, poverty, and regressive taxation be the *default* position of Christianity? And the default position of liberals?
I'm not going to stand here and spend my time applauding that someone is *not* an overprivileged asshole with no sense of empathy. I'd like to just assume that to be the case.

pebird said...

I would think that if someone purported to be part of your community and then proceeded to violate every basic value you held dear - you might be a little offended and make a bit of noise.

When the very basis of your community (religion) is intimately concerned with issues of morality, ethical conduct and the spirit - I would expect such a violation to be unbearable - that a huge protest that someone could possibly do this in your name and to your friends could not be tolerated.

I've gotten into a few on-line scuffles with purported liberal Christians (the liberal and Christian parts both purported) when I've questioned their commitment and passion.

How strong can your belief be if you let these perpetrators of evil take your religion's name?

I think they just do not want to fight, or are afraid, or just too busy - even as a secular liberal, I just can't find that very Christian.

harry near indy said...

pebird, i agree. liberal christians/christian liberals are too, too wimpy for my taste, and too, too close to the militant evangelical protestants for my taste, also.

field negro said...

Injustice is wrong period! It doesn't matter how you come to that understanding as long as you acknowledge it.

And could you tell me exactly what it means to be a wimpy christian? I mean what does a none wimpy christian do that's different from a wimpy christian?

The problem with christianity -and all religions for that matter- is that they tend to seperate humans into different groups. This is all fine until members of these groups become fundamentalist or literalist. These types of inividuals within these different belief systems think it's fine to blow up buildings,commit ethnic cleansing and acts of intimidation, and blow themselves up on buses.

I could go on and on. The crusades, the inquisition, all the problems in the world's hot spots can be traced to a fundamental belief that I am right and you are wrong, because my God is better than yours.