I think Christians have to do organizing, because it helps us to broaden whatever kind of tunnel vision some of our own traditions unwittingly produce in this fundamentalist age. I often tell my congregation that organizing, justice work, is essential for Christian discipleship, because it helps our heart become less wicked. It puts you in relationship and conversation with both systems and individuals that you may need to learn from, or you may need to help transform. I think organizing is critically important in that way.
Gabriel: How do we navigate the differences between faith based and secular organizing?
Gomez: There is some power in faith based organizing. I saw 13 or 14 ministers and rabbis show up at the Oakland Airport, and hold an action, literally did a sit down around deportation, and the police did not mess with them at all. And so, I think that there's power in that. There's power in saying we are God's people and we have chosen to participate in an action, on whatever issue it is. It says if you touch us, know that what you're actually doing is you are touching the people of God. And so, I do think that it's a strategy.
But I find it very ironic when I see people of the cloth who are fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people, knowing that the Bible is often used as the deterrent to actually accepting LGBTQ people. And yet we need that, right? If we're ever going to change the face of what is good and holy, we need those people. We need those people to have our backs.
Jewish wisdom reminds us that we can’t be daunted by the world’s grief, but instead we are required to respond to it by acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly. We’re not obligated to complete the work of transformation, but we’re never free to abandon it, either.
The racist attacks spiked again after 9/11, particularly because Americans did not know about the Sikh religion and conflated the unique Sikh appearance with popular stereotypes of what terrorists look like.
Ramirez: I think like what you said, it's taking the side of the broken, the beaten, and the defeated. It’s knowing that when you say, “You just gotta lift yourself up by the bootstraps,” that not everybody has boots to be lifted up by. Justice looks like that. It looks like taking the side of the one being accused, the one being pummeled, not even just today, but throughout history because there are whole people groups who have been pummeled. Justice looks like giving people a taste of a true Jesus. Jesus would go to the woman at the well even if all of culture said not to, even if people looked down on him, even if it might have been bad for his reputation, that’s what he did. So often we like to tell good stories and take pictures of refugees and orphans somewhere else, but we very much like to ignore the causes that we should be fighting for here. For me, that's what justice looks like.
The vote comes in the wake of the church breaking ties with the Church of Scotland due to its more liberal attitude to same-sex relationships, as it moves closer to allowing clergy to marry same-sex couples.
Like Torrey, Korean Christians who support reunification see it as a political and religious goal. And although it’s an uphill struggle, they believe with faith anything is possible.
“He’s placed on an emphasis on women’s role in the church that is fast being questioned, even in the confines of the present-day convention, as that letter signed by women asking for something to be done attests,” Leonard said. “These were not moderate, liberal women. These were women who came of age in the SBC and who challenged his particular theology of marriage and spouse abuse.”
It is noteworthy that congressional chaplains do not demographically represent the American public, and quite strikingly so. Every congressional chaplain since 1789 has been a Christian man, and of those nearly all have been Protestant. Only one, the current Senate chaplain, Rev. Barry Black, has been a person of color. The only time that Muslim and Hindu chaplains have delivered prayers was as one-time guest clergy. It’s the same for women.
I just met with the three children of Martin Luther King Jr. on a number of occasions over a two-year period and eventually they decided themselves to resolve their differences, which had existed only in court with lawsuits against each other.
“I think it’s important that we do not let the interest in Black Panther go without harnessing that moment to transform it from just a cultural movement into a sustained movement,” he said.
Courts have generally rejected challenges to “See You at the Pole” events, in which students who want to pray gather at their school’s flagpole outside of class time. And the Supreme Court has generally upheld student-led prayer as long as it is not compulsory or organized by school officials.
Another issue that we know: In a number of states, pregnant women, when they give birth in the midst of their sentences, they’re forced to be shackled to a gurney in the midst of their delivery process. We know being born into that stress-induced state has irreversible cognitive impacts on the child, but we still haven’t changed the law in light of that.
“I am sure the largest currency used on the black market, for [buying] haram things, is the U.S. dollar. So if the question of a currency being haram is what it is used for, the dollar would be the most haram,” Sabree said. “Just because a tool is used for something haram, doesn’t mean the tool is haram.”
Black youth get tired of seeing negative depictions of people of their own race in movies, said Gary, who wore a yellow and brown African dress to the movie showing. “When we found out that this was going to be an epic tale that actually was written by black writers, costumes designed by black costume designers, we were just, like, ‘We have to go see it.'"
Too often, Parker said, teachers have placed Christian crosses and Bible verses on school walls, prayed aloud in classrooms and said things like, “The answer to all your big questions is God.”
“When I see the aftermath of what’s happening in Florida, I thank God for your faith here,” said Pomeroy. “I am just thankful that we chose to lift up God, rather than man. Pray for those who are truly involved, not all the secondary people that are getting the noise on TV.”
The Winter Games have attracted teams of Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons also abound, each group sharing the gospel in its own way. The United Christian Churches of Korea, a coalition of 144 local congregations, is helping foreign mission groups to arrange housing and ministry sites and learn about Korean culture.
“Look, if you want to be a racist old grandpa, you can be a racist old grandpa,” Johnson said. “But you cannot serve in public office. It’s wrong. I mean, everyone has the right to free speech, but you don’t have the freedom of the consequences of your free speech, right?”