As I was reading your September issue, I was surprised to find myself feeling angry. Generally speaking, I like you people, so I was puzzled at first by my reaction.
Ive figured it out now. It started with the first line of Jim Wallis "Hearts & Minds" column: "Many of us feel that our faith has been stolen, and its time to take it back." It is a dangerous thing to think that we own our faith, instead of our faith owning us. My faith is not a possession that can be stolen, fought over, or given away. God has me. I do not have God, and that distinction is far more than semantics.
Mixed in with the stories of people doing courageous things in Sudan, Israel, and Palestine, there seems to be a certain thread of the same siege mentality that you (rightly) criticize in the Religious Rightthat feeling of being misunderstood and on the defensive. I grew up in that world. While there were a number of good-hearted, sincere, loving people in that world, one of the reasons I no longer live there is that I dont want to be afraid anymore. I dont like it when anyone tries to motivate me with bogeymen or a fear of some coming apocalypse.
I dont care for many of the positions espoused by those who identify themselves as members of the Religious Right, or the way in which many espouse them, but I dont think theyre destroying America or Jesus. America has weathered worse, and God is perfectly capable of self-defense. I question whether the Religious Right is as monolithic or as powerful as they seem to be portrayed in the pages of your magazine.
Los Angeles, California