Monday, March 27, 2006

The religious middle is dwindling?

Something I'd appreciate some commentary on, and *not* just from people in Ohio, is the cover story in this week's edition of The Other Paper. It's about The Dwindling Religious Middle.

Particularly this part...
But to Pastor Rogers, issues like poverty and homelessness are why churches should stay out of politics.

"Politics has distracted us from the job," he said. "It's distracted us from what we're called to do. Politics is polarizing. You can't do effective work when you're polarized."

"These religious groups spend time and energy proving their political points while ignoring the horrible wrongs all around them. If you took the money spent on campaigns, that would be a lot of food to feed the hungry."

"That just bothers me," he said with a sigh. "It's a basic human flaw. We really insist on being right, don't we?"

Rogers is actively involved in the Free Store, which provides basic household items to those in need, regardless of religious backgrounds or political perspectives.

"No one bothers talking or arguing about politics there," he said. "The political-religious battle in the newspaper is less important when you're clothing a single mother and her children, keeping the family in a warm apartment."

I have started my own response to the article, but haven't had a chance to finish it yet. One thing people should be aware of is the fact that the We Believe group, which is mentioned in the article, is about uniting *diverse religious voices*. The point is to get away from issues that are polarizing and find issues that appeal to our common values that we can work together on. And when the minister says that people have tried to get him to be more political, while I don't know this for sure, I think he might be saying that people have pursuaded him to join B.R.E.A.D., a 10 year old organization made up of some of the same people as We Believe, and focussing on social justice issues on which a broad range of faith perspectives can agree.

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