Religion and the global backlash

Have you ever heard someone blame religion for all the armed conflicts in the world? It’s an easy accusation to make, at least until you look deeper to see the financial, ethnic, even racial motivations underlying the violent and oppressive actions throughout history.

Karl Marx may have called religion the opiate of the people, but he also saw economic inequalities as the real oppressor. Labor inequities were only the tip of that iceberg. For once, you can call me a Marxist, at least on that count.

As a member of a historic Peace Church denomination (a grouping that also includes Mennonites, Brethren, and Amish), I can view the wider Christian stream from a critical perspective that acknowledges the many ways faith communities get co-opted by what is often called the World in earlier pronouncements or Empire in corners of our own – even seduced by the vast range of secular idols. What emerges is corrupted and even false religion, not even of a godly scope.

That perspective can provide for a long examination, one far too broad for a mere blog post.

Nevertheless, in the face of the rising stream of intolerant and often violent social and political backlash across America and Europe, especially, I sense that the anger and hatred are fueled by a post-Christian mindset, one that is ultimately materialistic, divisive, and nihilistic.

In contrast, what I’ve often found in radical faith across traditions is an alternative of hope, humility, justice, and love. Repeatedly, progressive social, political, and economic reformers have had religious roots and support. It’s not an even history, and one that is too often countered by reactionary forces, but I wonder how else the world might turn back the growing darkness without people drawn together in deep spiritual faith and discipline.

The continuing marginalization of religion – especially radical religion, like that I espouse – is one more means of inhibiting any challenge to the few who are reaping the vast benefits of the ongoing social breakdown for their own personal gain.

Where do you find refuge, renewal, and opportunities for social progress?

 

SAP BIG MONEY IN THE BUD

There’s one way to stop those nasty campaign attack ads. Vote FOR the candidate they’re attacking. Remember, there’s a reason the Big Money’s paying for the commercials – and they’re expecting you to repay them. Nip their greed in the bud.

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The operative word here, by the way, is nasty. Watch for smear labels that tell you nothing in factual detail.

And be aware, a candidate intent on attacking the rival without upholding his or her own record and thought-out position should be held in great suspicion.

We’re watching a race here in New Hampshire where one candidate is accusing her opponent of failing to achieve changes that she herself stands against. The implication, of course, is that the negative candidate sides with issues that she, in fact, would thwart. I prefer to play straight, rather than twisted like this. You can guess who I’m voting for.

Any examples along these lines in your own districts and states?

SELF-DEFENSE IN THE POLITICAL ARENA

There’s one way to stop those nasty campaign attack ads. Vote FOR the candidate they’re attacking. You can bet it’s the better choice.

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At least that’s what I wrote before Trump entered the picture. How do you categorize any ad against a nasty candidate?

Still, I want to hear positive, detailed programs from candidates across the board, not half-truth smears on the opponent.