Friday, July 13, 2007

Where Are All The Moderate Christians?

"Where are all the moderate Muslims?"

"How can they let all this terrorism go on?"

"When the mainstream believers fail to repudiate the violent radicals, how can we believe their religion isn't violent?"


Questions like these come up quite often, especially after violent Muslim radicals attack.

They also come up whenever alleged terror plots are foiled, and even after announcements of FBI-inspired "plots" that never could have hurt anyone.

But who repudiates the violent Christians?

Self-proclaimed "true believers" are waging actual wars in multiple foreign countries -- real wars in which real people really do get killed -- not just once in a while but every day! Who stands up and denounces them?

Is Jerry Falwell's "Blow them all away in the name of the Lord" a moderate position?

Do American Christians endorse Ann Coulter's slightly less genocidal approach: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Or are there any moderate Christians to speak of? ... and to speak out!

This is a call to Christian Clergy of Conscience:
The columnist Helen Thomas has recently referred to the "deafening silence" of the Church with regard to the enormities of the Bush administration. She refers to a sad fact which the Church must answer for. It is true that denominational heads, bishops, and pastors here and there have been vocal in their public opposition to the extraordinary brutality and injustice fostered by our executive branch, but their testimony only makes the general silence of parish clergy more obvious and troubling.

This petition offers the opportunity to the ordained leaders of the Church to speak in their role as citizens. By signing this petition, no clergyperson can reasonably be charged with "preaching politics." Nor can he or she be accused of "speaking for the Church." We speak not from the authority of our office, but from the right and responsibility of citizenship.

Our immediate goal is to publish this petition, with the list of signatories grouped by denomination, in the NEW YORK TIMES.

The petition solicits the signatures of Christian clergy ONLY; i.e., those who have been ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the mainline denominations of the Protestant tradition.
The "mainline" Protestants include Baptists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and the United Church, among others -- well over 15 million Americans, if Wikipedia is a guide.

The group, Christian Clergy For Impeachment, is looking for 2200 moderate American Christian clerics to stand up for what they believe in ... to plunk $25 on the table and sign the following petition:


We who subscribe to this petition do not do so as an act of defiance, but as those who exercise a means of government provided for and protected by the Constitution of our nation. Nor do we subscribe to this petition as those who speak for any Christian community other than the one formed by this initiative. Nor do we give testimony as those who represent the Christian Church in any official capacity. Rather, in our subscription to this petition we do make our personal confession and appeal as citizens whose vocation is the ordained ministry of the Church in its historic dimension.


That the Executive Branch of our government, in the persons of George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney,

1. by their unrestrained assertion of prerogative, and through the manipulation of administrative agencies, has perverted the function of our tripartite government, aggrandized power in the Executive Branch and curtailed the function of the Legislative Branch to make laws that constitute the public interest;

2. through unlawful means, has betrayed the requirements of truthful administration;

3. through means violent, inhumane, and deceitful has wrought fear, disorder, and destruction abroad and caused the contempt of the world to be brought against the United States, the agent of this havoc;

4. in its insistence on dominance and security rather than peace, and by fostering a culture of weapons and violence, has caused death and crippling injury to many thousands of people, leaving vast misery and alienation in its pilgrimage of war;

5. in its willful negligence of human life, human rights, human laws, and human resources has assaulted the basis of society --- the justice, freedom, and peace on which society depends for life and vitality;

6. has betrayed the trust of its people and forfeited their confidence that it can govern ably in matters critical to the welfare of the world.


We grieve over the impoverished condition of our nation, and acknowledge that as citizens of democratic government, we share the responsibility for this degradation even when we call, as we do, for articles of impeachment to be brought against George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney.
I too grieve over the impoverished condition of the nation, especially the moral and ethical impoverishment, but I grieve even more for the damage this impoverished and degraded nation is doing to the world.

Wow. Christian Clergy For Impeachment. I never thought I'd see the day. And I'd sign their petition in an instant if I could. But they won't have me.

I realize that very few of my readers are ordained and therefore most will be ineligible to sign it. But I thought you might just know somebody ... and email is quick and easy ... hint, hint!