Monday, May 23, 2016

Quote for Day: "Liberal Christians Often Pay Lip Service to Many Politically Radical Christian Thinkers and Activists While Lining Up Behind the Political and Economic Forces That They Fought Against"

At Religion Dispatches, Daniel José Camacho responds to a recent article at the same venue by Ruth Graham which argues that liberal Christians could, if they so chose, position themselves to retrieve the designation "party of God" under Hillary Clinton's leadership: Camacho demurs for the following reasons,

Liberal Christians often pay lip service to many politically radical Christian thinkers and activists while lining up behind the political and economic forces that they fought against. Therefore, the martyrdom of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero can be remembered even as the same [U.S.-backed] military forces that killed Romero continue to wreak havoc today under bipartisanship support. Likewise, many can praise popular, grassroots movements such as Black Lives Matter while ultimately siding with elitist, antidemocratic stances like the one taken by Andrew Sullivan. The individual queer identity of a Latin American liberation theologian like Marcella Althaus-Reid can be celebrated. But her critical words about economic development and heterosexual ideology sustaining capitalism are rather distasteful for our times, times in which philanthropic foundations can be saviors and breaking up a few big banks is pie-in-the-sky.

And I agree: liberal Christians often pay lip service to radical socioeconomic and political analysis, without ever intending to pay any price beyond lip service. They and their churches cannot do so, when they are so uncritically embedded in socioeconomic and political structures which make it impossible for them to do anything except talk — not walk.

Walking would require a price. And I see few churches throughout the U.S. who are very interested in walking and price-paying right now, no matter how prettily they talk about matters of race, gender, sexual orientation, poverty, militarism, the destruction of the environment, the control of everything by the 1%, the danger that American war-mongering poses to the entire planet, the exploitation of labor and the destruction of labor unions, the shockingly high incarceration rates in this nation that began to spike during the presidency of Mrs. Clinton's husband, etc.

The photo of Daniel José Camacho is from the website of Calvin College's Chimes publication.

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