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Interesting article in the Guardian on religion and politics brought to my attention by Jonny Baker: act justly. Nice to get an alternative point of view from the typical argument I've frequently encountered that if your're Christian in NZ you... [Read More]

Comments

josh

amazing! i just scanned through the curriculum for act justly and am going to reccomend it for study in our church small groups.

and that quote from the guardian is just stunning. The local leftist free press in Toronto loves to harp on the religious right, and seems to want to sink the whole ship... non-stop attack and affront. making friends? genius.

hopefulamphibian

"the Church of England is being colonised by homophobic evangelicals with broad smiles and loads of PR savvy". So say Fraser & Whyte. I'm sorry, but this isn't good enough! Many/most evangelical Anglicans I know are on the 'left' side of politics and committed to social justice. Christian Voice, for example, are in no way representative of the evangelical wing of the church - much as they might claim to be. I simply cannot see how this kind of article promotes the gospel when it makes snide and inaccurate remarks about a large section of the Body of Christ. You'd be hardpressed to find any mainstream evangelical columnist in this country making such dismissive and inaccurate comments about liberal catholics. Sorry, Jonny - rant over... very irritated.

jonny

wow! you read it different to me. i guess what i liked was finding a positive suggestion of relationship between the political left and christians rather than the usual broad brush sniping. i simply glanced over that part of the article without a second glance - it is a ridiculous sentence i agree!

hopefulamphibian

I agree about that positive suggestion and it is good to have a reminder of the heritage of the Christian left. It's simply that I think Jim Wallis (Sojourners) in the States is modelling a much better way of deconstructing the assumption that Christianity=rightwing politics, one that is not afraid to speak out but remains generous in approach (and thus vulnerable to criticism from both right and left).

Timothy Wright

Won't happen here. As for Jim Wallis, he is only upset that his brand of Jesus is the one without any political clout. If he had the ability to mobilise the vote the way the Right do, he would so happy and looking down on the Right Wingers.

Tim

rivertribemike

Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater! Yes, the article is a little insensitive to Anglicans, but personally I'm encouraged by it. We are still very much in era where the term, "Christian Left" is regarded as an oxymoron and where the fundamentalists in this country (Australia), by de-emphasising their theology and doing some clever marketing, are franchising their mega-churches world-wide, eg, CCC and Hillsong, whose style, ironically, is being called "emergent". I've had enough of a state of play where "personal development" and "wealth building for Jesus" are whipping any real concern for the poor...

example 1: read this article i found at tallskinnykiwi that really captures this ethos for me: http://www.ajc.com/search/content/auto/epaper/editions/saturday/gwinnett_24b3fdd38290220810c1.html

example 2: The abstinence campaign of the Christian Right in the US and spearheaded by Aussie Christian singer Rebecca St. James, through the publishing of books on the issue and facilitating the formation of girls' abstinence focus groups nationwide has now seen this program become Federal Government policy. (RSJ has participated with the Whitehouse in formulating it's abstinence policy) This policy has been seized upon by Bush and used to cut billions from funding of Aids relief organisations who do not promote abstinence alone as means of avoiding HIV/AIDS, a move descibed as "lunacy" by AIDS organisations in a recent isssue of The Economist, and one which will put at risk the lives of millions of people, largely located in developing nations. The christian left needs to raise it's voice here and begin to stand with the poor.
It may mean that we don't just target our politicians, but also those on the Christian Right who promote these ideas. If you want to express your concern over this, (or over her outspoken support for the invasion of Iraq) here's the email address for Rebecca's manager: brian@rsjames.com or management@rsjames.com
I didn't get a response and i have toured with Rebecca, (we watched the first bombs fall on Iraq from a tornado shelter in Alabama whilst on tour with her) but if enough people write...

Sorry to get "linky", i hope you don't mind.
Thanks Jonny for alerting me to Make Poverty History- rivertribe's largely secular audience will be hearing about this very soon.

Fernando Gros

Well my initial thoughts also went towards Jim Wallis. His recent book tries to guide a course of "moral reawakening" for a religious left, but really it is just an updated version of the arguments he pushed in the Soul of Politics.

What I felt extremely uncomfortable about in the Guardian article was the way it bought into the american polar view of politics (either right or left). It would be very unhelpful for people in the UK (or Australia) to buy into this. A commitment to a "left" agenda on quality of life and poverty does not automatically mean a commitment to a left agenda on other issues. It's also worth remembering the way the Bush agenda in the US has coralled those who want a conservative social agenda into also voting for a radical economic agenda as well.

Where I suspect politics ceases to representitive of a Christian position on both the right and the left, is when it insists on the this kind of "either/or" duality.

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