Thursday, October 15, 2009

What, There is More to Religion than What the Religious Right Tells Us?

Bob Edgar. Middle Church: Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006.

The author observes that many people do not see their spiritual values as being connected to political issues. Thus they do not vocalize their values during political discussions. This allows the Religious Right to receive most of the attention. Thus, the views of the Religious Right are overrepresented as the views of the religious communities.

Edgar observes the Bible mentions peace or poverty over 2,000 times, homosexuality twice, and makes no mention of abortion. He wonders how the Religious Right then places emphasis when speaking on behalf of the religious community that homosexuality and abortion are their main concerns.

Edgar, a minister who admits that church can be boring, believes God speaks to everyone in a manner that can be heard. He believes that “if we listen, we can hear the divine in the words of people like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, or William Sloane Coffin.” He states that America is divided into “two churches”, one that brings faith through love, and the other from the Religious Right that brings faith through fear. While Jesus taught people to love their neighbors, he fears that some politicians have co-opted the Religious Right movement for their own political goals which are not the goals of love that Jesus taught.

Edgar sees global warming as fulfillment of Revelation in how the world can be destroyed. He is proud that he wrote the Community Right to Know Law regarding informing people of toxic chemicals stored in the neighborhoods when Edgar was a member of Congress.

Edgar objects to those who used the name of Jesus to support the war in Iraq. He states Jesus would reject a preemptive, and not defensive, war where many innocent civilians are killed. He also sadly notes no Western country ever admitted that genocide was happening while it was happening. Edgar argues that Jesus, as well as other religions, all teach that “there is nothing more realistic than hope.”


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