Sunday, 11 December 2016

First Things: Can the Religious Right be Saved?

First Things: Can the Religious Right be Saved?

by Russell D. Moore

"We still face racism and nativism and anti-Semitism. The religious right, if it wishes to be genuinely religious, must work toward justice and reconciliation, regardless of whether that means a rebuke to those who are our allies on other issues. White Christians, after all, are not part of the majority culture and never have been, unless they define their primary culture as that of the United States of America. If, instead, my first identity is part of the global Body of Christ, then white middle-class Americans are a tiny sliver indeed.

Moreover, the driving force of Christian orthodoxy and spiritual energy today is not white. If made up of only Western Europeans and North Americans, the Roman Catholic Church would be the United Church of Christ, with better real estate. But there are the Africans and the Asians. The United Methodist Church is pulling back, erratically, toward orthodoxy, largely due to African Methodists who hold more closely to the supernatural vision of the Bible than their American or European counterparts. And where is the evangelistic energy within Evangelicals? With immigrant churches, whether Dominican or Cambodian or Nigerian or Iranian.

A religious conservatism that takes seriously the multiethnic nature of the Church will be different, in many ways, from the one we have inherited. We will not agree on the optimal size of government or the economic good of tax cuts or the death penalty. Black and Hispanic religious conservatives will expect their white allies to address issues too often seen as “Democratic” by their constituencies—such as racial bias in sentencing. The same is true in reverse. Non-white religious conservatives will need to confront their constituencies on issues thought to be “Republican,” such as abortion and religious freedom. We all may not have the same solutions for poverty, but we will be those for whom addressing poverty is a priority. We may not all agree on the way to fix the immigration system, but we will all agree on the dignity and humanity of immigrants themselves. That’s all to the better. It will strengthen the movement, because it frees us from being just another partisan interest group."

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