I was raised in a relatively liberal Methodist congregation. Heck, we didn’t even do Advent, much less Lent, and since I spent four years in the youth choir, I think I would have noticed those beautiful candles if we did. And I suspect that I’m not the only one who didn’t grow up in a congregation that held the belief that “we have to keep other people from sinning so God won’t punish all of us.”
What did we hear when New Orleans was devastated? Pat Robertson descending prophet like from above to announce that Katrina was God’s judgment on the city for its sins. Although he’s been strangely quiet about Texas. I mean the state is beyond bone dry and the fires have been burning for months. Come on Pat, either bad luck happens to the best of cities and states or Texas has some serious ‘splainin’ to do.
We keep hearing the mantra “individual liberty.” But that liberty only goes so far. It seems to be the liberty to convince people to buy what I want to sell them is protected. The liberty to privatize every square inch of the country and exploit it to the limit under the manta of “drill baby, drill.” Or the liberty to exploit every resource to the limit even though it robs our children’s future. The old Lakota had it right when they said that “we don’t own the earth, we borrow it from our children.”
However that liberty doesn’t seem to extend to personal or private actions that some faith groups call sins. Abortion, gay marriage, being gay, even interracial marriage until a few years ago are sins in some faith groups and are to be prevented at all costs. Yes, abortion ends a potential human life. But, war, pollution, bigotry, hate, poverty, and injustice can create a world where that life may not be worth living. And it seems that where creating a world with less war, clean air and water, and some measure of justice interferes with the right to make a buck no matter how, the buck wins almost every time.