|Charles Reed has a spot on editorial in Common Dreams about what has become of the church in this country. I'm posting the whole thing below, just because I can. Thoughts?|
Organized religion in America plays a peculiar role in relation to politics. Instead of being a prophetic voice on behalf of the poor, the powerless and the marginalized, it has become more often an apologist for the corporate rich. (Hat Tip: Jesus Politics)
Why is this? Clergymen and other religious leaders need to ponder this question.
America is probably the most religious country in the industrial world. Religion is openly acknowledged as a powerful force in government and politics. But just how is that power being manifested in the public square?
America is ruled by a secular right-wing political and economic ideology. It was not elected by the people, and it has never enjoyed majority support from the people. It is, however, supported by a significant majority of Christians.
The secular ruling ideology is convinced that Jesus Christ was wrong when he said you can't serve both God and money. With the support of most Christians, it practices the secular economic values of the Russian-born atheist Ayn Rand-the gospel of greed.
Our government nurtures the interests of business corporations. But it turns a blind eye and deaf ear toward the needs and interests of ordinary people. The secular corporate media helps facilitate this.
We now have the most corrupt, dishonest, and mean-spirited government in our history. Its performance in people programs is the worst in the industrial world. The world's richest country is at or near the bottom in things like: minimum wage, vacation time, paternity leave, poverty rate, illiteracy rate, crime rate, prison rate, access to healthcare, access to legal services, access to decent housing, access to public transportation, and access to higher education.
We are the safest and securest nation on earth. Yet our government rules by fear. We have the most aggressive, militaristic and nationalistic foreign policy in the world. Our government spends more on military arms than the rest of the world combined.
Our government now openly defies international law, invading other countries in violation of the UN Charter, and torturing prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention. Our foreign policy is based on military force, intimidation and exploitation.
The secular ruling ideology would collapse without the support of its religious base. Since it reflects Nihilistic and relativistic values that are the antithesis of Christian values, why do Christians support it?
The Christian values tell us to love our enemies, love our neighbors as ourselves, and do unto others as we would have them do unto us. The secular ruling ideology, on the other hand, cultivates hate, fear, violence, greed and exploitation.
Corporate money has corrupted most every institution in America-especially government. It has also corrupted the church.
Washington is lined with corporate-funded foundations and think tanks to convince government that corporations need more money and people need less. In line with that, neoconservatives created the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD) in 1982.
The IRD actively undermines ethical and humanitarian values in mainline Christian churches. It seeks to cultivate divisive personal issues like abortion and homosexuality. Despite its name, it appears to have no concern for either religion or democracy.
The church has done a poor job of teaching Christian social values over the last 30 years.
The polls now show that, the more often people go to church, the more they support the anti-Christian goals and values of the secular ruling ideology.
Who would have dreamed that Christians would support military invasions to build a secular corporate empire-an empire to rule the world by force? We are now reaping the results of that ideology: large scale death, destruction and division at home and around the world.
In the words of Martin Luther King, "We've got some difficult days ahead." As the curtain begins to descend on the ugliest chapter in American history, the question will inevitably be asked, "Where was the church?"