Christianity could address political chaos
It is a rare occasion that I agree with Michael Coren but I do think he is bang on in this Toronto Star article, Perfect time for the church to show leadership. In it, he argues that in the political chaos we see arising both south of us and across the Atlantic, might be addressed by a Christianity focused on social justice issues.
The liberal Christian church has focused on social and economic justice issues for decades, beginning with the social gospel movement at the turn of the last century. Those interests expanded over the decades to include race, gender, environmental, sexual, and gender identity justice issues as well. Indeed, my United Church of Canada has been a leader in every one of those areas and I’m proud of the work we’ve bravely undertaken over our history.
Late in the game
But it is late in the game and mainline churches are dying. Those intent on focusing on beliefs rather than the values proclaimed by the life of Christianity’s “eponymous founder, who would have seen the current tide of anger, retreat, hysteria and blame as the hellish product it is,” are able to engage fewer and fewer in the work they once championed in the halls of power. The mitigating effect they had on our social norms has mostly disappeared. And we are watching the effects of that disappearance play out for us in viral youtube videos of Americans shouting they voted for Trump as they spew xenophobic slurs, the common citizen’s equivalent to the shocking appointments of racist, homophobic, misogynist, evangelical fundamentalists to some of America’s most powerful posts.
Christianity most certainly had a role to play in these debacles of democracy gone wrong but it will be scored on the wrong side of history’s ledger. At least I hope it will. After all, most history is written by the victors and, in the immediate future at least, I don’t think those Coren and I are rooting for are going to be doing much writing.