THREE AUTHORS OF RECENT BOOKS argue that many Christian conservatives, displaying arrogance that flows from their feelings of certainty about what their faith stands for, view anyone outside their narrow confines as faithless, weak or evil. As a result, the authors contend, many of these conservatives garble Jesus' message.
These books challenge the conservative Christian movement's alliance with rightwing politics. God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It by Jim Wallis (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), How the Republicans Stole Christmas: The Republican Party's Declared Monopoly on Religion and What Democrats Can Do to Take It Back by Bill Press (Doubleday, 2005) and Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster, 2005).
I was raised in the church, am married to a minister and keep faith at the center of my life. But many evangelical Christians would brand me as a "liberal" and therefore someone who distorts the faith. Why such a harsh judgment?
I happen to believe that if Jesus were walking today's city streets, he would be far less concerned about issues of personal morality and far more troubled by issues of social and economic injustice, such as the conditions that have caused so many people--most of them black--to become homeless. Jesus was outraged about poverty hut never said a word against homosexuals. In fact, when the good Lord said, "Blessed are the poor," I think he was reminding us of God's priorities.
You wouldn't know that, judging from the hue and cry from the religious right. They've done such a good job of projecting their point of view that they've developed tremendous political clout in the form of the Republican Party.
The latest evidence of their success is that despite the mounting hostility among black Americans toward President Bush, which was much in evidence at the nationally televised funeral of Coretta Scott King, a small but significant number of black pastors are urging congregants to join white evangelical Christians and other Republicans at voting booths. Some black voters have complied.
Feed the Poor
Most of these black religious leaders are not hesitant to explain where they stand on the issues. For instance, they join white religious conservatives in the backing of a national ban on same-sex marriages. While I disagree with this stance, I respectfully concede their right to their religious interpretations. I do feel that it is incumbent upon black...