Celebrating a faith "Superstar': 10-12-11
America's religious puzzle: 10-14-11

Christians take to the streets: 10-13-11


Some of the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters were surprised, it's reported, to see a group of Christians show up in support of the movement.

Seems odd to me that there's surprise about this. Who, after all, led the protests in the civil rights movement? Mostly Christians. Who has been prominent in anti-abortion protests? Mostly Christians, although in that case they are Christians who probably weren't too active in civil rights matters and who probably won't be seen supporting the Occupy Wall Street folks.

The Christian faith, after all, calls its followers to be engaged in the issues of the day and to view those issues through the lens of faith.

The problem, obvious to all, is that some Christians come to conclusions completely opposite from the conclusions about those issues drawn by other Christians. Go figure.

There actually are many reasons Christians are not in lockstep when it comes to political issues. They range from the different ways they read scripture to the occasional confusion between religion and patriotism. Patriotism and religion are two pretty different things, but not everyone seems to know that. In addition, of course, people often simply reflect the culture around them without taking much time to discern whether their Christian faith might have something to say in opposition to -- or at least clarification of -- what's happening in that culture.

All of this reminds me of a sign that Duke theologian Stanley Hauerwas once told me he keeps in his office. It offers, he said, what a calls a "modest proposal," which is that "Christians should stop killing Christians."

Oh, what a crazy, radical notion. I bet I could find a bunch of Christians who'd be willing to organize a protest against that idea.

(The photo here today is by the Associated Press and can be found at the Huffington Post site to which I've linked you in the first paragraph above.)

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I found it odd and telling that when Iran's supreme leader, a religious cleric, responded to the news about Iran directing an assassination plot against a Saudi diplomat in the U.S., he pointed to the "Occupy Wall Street" movement as evidence that the West is in decline.  The Iran plot news, he said, was just the U.S. government's way of distracting people from the dissatisfaction. The reality is that historically Iran's population has been pro-Western in sympathy and that many of the Iranian people chafe under the rule by theological thugs coupled with political whack jobs. Indeed, notice in the story to which I've linked you a quote from a top member of Parliament there blaming "an American-Zionist plot." This is not-very-hidden code language for the antisemitism Iran's goofy president, a Holocaust denier, regularly displays. In fact, Iran has long been much more of a threat to Western interests than Iraq ever was.


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