Making the Connection Between Faith & Issues

The other day I was scrolling through a social media site when I saw a posting from a friend with whom I grew up. My friend wasn’t particularly religious during my friend’s childhood. In the last 25 years or so, my friend has become increasingly religious.

What caught my eye was the nature of my friend’s post. The post expressed concern about the redistribution of wealth: taking money away from good, hard-working folks; and giving it to those less deserving. (Cue the ominous music and cut the lights).

Here’s what struck me about the post.

So many folks who go to great lengths to talk about their faith VERY publicly as Christians, spend almost all of their time and energy talking about two issues – and two issues alone: abortion and homosexuality. More specifically, they tend to talk publicly about a specific position on each of those two issues (i.e. a “good” Christian vehemently opposes a women’s right to choose and the extension of human rights protections for LGBTQI people). That’s about all they talk about.

It would seem, however, that our Christian faith calls us to engage a host of other issues. I wondered, for instance, if my friend who was so morally outraged by the notion of redistributing wealth from the “haves” to the “have nots” had read Acts 2:45 that, in describing one of the earliest Christian communities, said, “They sold property and possession to give to anyone who had need” (NIV). I could only imagine how my friend would react if my friend’s pastor preached THAT text!

All of this got me to thinking about the many, many, many other issues that those who are so quick to pronounce their faith publicly are utterly silent about: things like immigration policy, environmental policy, public health policy relating to gun-violence, policies regarding affordable housing and health care …. The list of issues is nearly endless.

This leads me to ask you – my readers – two questions.

Why do you think some are so incredibly selective about the issues to which they apply their faith? And more importantly, what could we do to encourage people of faith to talk about other issues and how their faith informs their positions on those matters?

About Pastor Craig

I'm a 54-year-old who lives in Los Angeles, CA with his black Labrador Retriever named Max. I'm an ordained clergy person in the United Church of Christ. My passions include spirituality, politics, and sports (Go Houston teams, go!). I use my blog to start conversations rather than merely spout my perspectives and opinions. I hope you'll post a question, comment, or observation for me to respond - so we can get the conversation started!
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2 Responses to Making the Connection Between Faith & Issues

  1. Andrea Frazer says:

    I think there are a lot of people that are wealthy enough for or simpleminded enough to lump everything they’ve been told about issues in one box. One need not worry about the poor if they are not an immigrant or growing up in the projects. When one does not have to fight for their life to be protected they do not need to worry about gender issues. It’s hard to ask questions because it means you might not have the answers yourself. It’s easy to rely on what you want to see in any given text to make your point. As I type this I am at a Christian Writers Conference. I I am teaching and the last time I did teach here I was forcing myself to see things through a very strict lense. I don’t do view Scripture like that anymore and I see how close minded others can be about the subjects that I am open about. That I’m willing to question. I think the only way to change it is to not change it but to live it and let people see a model of what asking questions and living with uncertainty ( but always grounded and love) looks like.

  2. Beverly Marshall Saling says:

    Most people prefer to discuss morality primarily in the context of things that make them feel righteous, especially as compared to others. If their morality says having an abortion or being LGBTQIA is wrong and they happen to be straight cis men, then hey, those are safe topics to focus on because they were never going to do either of those things anyway. Talking about the morality of feeding the hungry or housing the homeless or welcoming the stranger is more fraught with peril because it comes with the possibility of being asked to do something they might find difficult or uncomfortable or that would require them to sacrifice something. Easier to focus on stuff that they’re already doing “right” and that doesn’t ask them to change at all.

    Atheists are no more immune to this mentality than people of faith. It’s always been far harder for humans to see and engage with the places where we ourselves could do better than where the problems are all other people’s fault and responsibility.

    Honestly the only way I know to inspire people to discuss moral issues that come with personal work to do is to role-model that. If I welcome being told how I could do better and seek out ways to personally contribute, I earn the right to ask “What hard things does your morality ask you to do or sacrifice to solve this problem?”

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