Thursday, May 05, 2005

George Will on religion in America

Though I rarely concur with George Will, his assessment in his latest commentary on the current state of politics and religion seems particularly incisive and critical. His warning that American Christians should not confuse actual persecution with the relative annoyances some Christians face in the country today is a decidedly needed corrective:
"Some Christians should practice the magnanimity of the strong rather than cultivate the grievances of the weak. But many Christians are joining today's scramble for the status of victims. There is much lamentation about various 'assaults' on 'people of faith.' Christians are indeed experiencing some petty insults and indignities concerning things such as restrictions on school Christmas observances. But their persecution complex is unbecoming because it is unrealistic."
I would go even a step further and suggest that the so-called "assaults on people of faith" as a whole are political concoctions intended to raise the ire and fear of conservative believers. The red herrings of gay marriage and prayer in school serve to distract much-needed attention and scrutiny away from issues much closer to the heart of the faith Jesus taught. Hunger, war, and poverty still thrive among us on a local as well as international level, yet much of the Christian right cannot overcome their political myopia over issues of little consequence like a granite monument of the Ten Commandments or the thought of two men choosing to live as one. Have we lost sight of the truly radical edge of the gospel of Christ?