Thursday, May 11, 2006


"Where are the activist priests and ministers who took strong stands during the Vietnam War and hit the streets with their protests?" asks Helen Thomas of the San Francisco Chronicle, in the current most regularly e-mailed mirror article on Common Dreams. Aside from her curious assumption that people of faith are all clericalised, it's a good question. And a look at the National Council of Churches' website, or CPT, or Sojo.Net, or Christian Alliance for Progress... or a host of other alternative media outlets would provide the answer. The problem is, progressive Christians (whether evangelical, Catholic, ecumenical or whatever) just don't make news. And then media pundits who rarely stray outside the mainstream assume that nothing is going on. That isn't to say, of course, that there isn't truth in what she goes on to write. Most clergy probably are holed up in the assumptions of God Bless America. But there are an awful lot who aren't. Writes Thomas: "Three years into the war against Iraq, the silence of the clergy is deafening, despite US abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and a reported American policy of shipping detainees to secret prisons abroad where, presumably, they can be tortured. There are US chaplains of many faiths serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, ministering to the men and women in uniform and reaching out to local religious leaders in both countries.
But here at home, the clergy seems to be in the same boat as the news media and most members of Congress: they are victims of the post-September 11 syndrome that equates any criticism of US policy with lack of patriotism."
Look a bit further, Helen...

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