When the historic legislative milestone of the Voting Rights Act finally passed in 1965, I was still a young teenager. Until then, black people in America didn't have the right to vote. And until the Civil Rights Act passed the previous year in 1964, black Americans had to drink from separate drinking fountains, eat at separate lunch counters, ride at the back of buses, and watch movies only from the balconies of theaters. Then there was all the violence. I remember a civil rights worker [...]
Samuel Huntington, the Harvard political scientist and the author of The Clash of Civilizations, contends that unless things change, we are facing an era marked by religious wars.
Just about every military struggle between 1945 and 1995 was over political-economic ideologies. This was true of revolutions in Latin America and Southeast Asia led by Leninists and Maoists trying to establish Communist regimes, or by the CIA endeavoring to overthrow governments that [...]
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What's at issue in the SBC, and in the larger evangelical community (and, we could add, in the mainline and Roman Catholic communities as well), isn't whether faith is political. Nobody (or almost nobody) is arguing for dropping the second half of the great commandment -- so that "loving God" is about faith and is central, but "loving neighbor" is about politics [...]
A recent New York Times story, "Taking Their Faith, but Not Their Politics, to the People," highlights the challenge faced by followers of Christ who seek to integrate their faith with all aspects of life, including political life in a democracy. The article suggests to me a question that we should raise more frequently when people [...]
They call him a lion. John McCain, on Tuesday, called him the "last lion in the Senate … because he remains the single most effective member of the Senate." I've always liked lions. I have a beautiful painting of a South African lion on the wall of our living room at home. My boys think it is Aslan, the lion of Narnia, of whom Mr. Beaver said, "'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."
The nation got a shock this week. Edward Kennedy, the lion who has been in [...]
Four years ago, Call to Renewal conducted a 12-day "Rolling to Overcome Poverty" bus tour to say that poverty was a religious and electoral issue. Despite our best efforts, the word was rarely spoken in either campaign, or in the presidential debates. This year, it's already different.
On Wednesday, John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama, which, of course, made headlines across the country. But at the Grand Rapids, Michigan, rally where the two men spoke, something even more important [...]
The church has a serious image problem. A recent book, unChristian, by Barna pollster David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons reveals much about how Millennials, the emerging generation - both those inside and around the church - view Christianity. The results weren't good. An overwhelming majority of young people view Christians as hypocritical, too judgmental, too focused on the afterlife, and too political in the worst sense of the word. And that image is often particularly true of [...]
Over the last several days, I watched Rev. Jeremiah Wright in discussions of faith, theology, history, and culture on television. The three-plus hours I devoted to PBS and CNN amounted to some of the most sophisticated and thoughtful programming on American culture and racial issues that any news station has offered in recent years. And, for those who really listened to Rev. Wright, he moved from [...]
No two events in this political season stand in starker contrast than last night's ABC Democratic debate and last Sunday's CNN Compassion Forum.
Rather unbelievably, ABC anchors used 50 minutes of airtime attacking Democratic candidates on tabloid issues, including a line of questioning from George Stephanopoulos lifted from right-wing pundit Sean Hannity. Almost as an afterthought, the final questions turned toward actual issues including the economy and war. The ABC Web [...]
Last evening, I was privileged to be one of the religious leaders asked to participate in the Compassion Forum, sponsored by Faith in Public Life and broadcast by CNN from Messiah College. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama participated; Sen. John McCain declined.
The religious leaders asked questions of real substance, focusing on difficult and important policy choices. We are not so much interested in the personal testimonies [...]