Saturday, February 13, 2010

Religion and class

Some more quotes from my class reading that resonate with my unending concern about UUism (and religion in general) and class, and war:

Harvey Cox: "the characterization made a few years back by Philip Scharper that ‘most of the theologians -- Protestant and Catholic -- who have had such a heavy influence on American theologians and American theology have tended to be, almost by definition, members of tile upper-middle class, indeed forming something of an intellectual elite’ (Catholic Mind, April 1976, p. 18). This is a problem that even the most skillful editorial selection cannot avoid. Why?

He goes on to talk about privilege and economics allowing for leisure to study...

“Religion has very often been nothing more than the superfluous consecration of some situation or action which was neither judged nor transformed by this consecration. Religion has consecrated the feudal order and its own participation in it without transcending it. Religion has consecrated nationalism without transforming it. Religion has consecrated democracy without judging it. Religion has consecrated war and arms of war without using its spiritual arms against war. Religion has consecrated peace and the security of peace without disturbing this security with its spiritual threat. Religion has consecrated the bourgeois ideal of family and property without judging it and has consecrated systems of exploitation of men by men without transcending them; on the contrary, it has used them for its own benefit.The first word, therefore, to be spoken by religion to the people of our time must be a word spoken against religion. It is the word the old Jewish prophets spoke against the priestly and royal and pseudo-prophetic guardians of their national religion, who consecrated distorted institutions and distorted politics without judging them.

 So how can people of faith, or people of no faith, who engage in social justice work, stand up and speak? What is it about religion that allows us to hide behind it without living into the values it espouses?

Tillich: "The same word must be spoken today about our religious institutions and politics. Will religion in this country, in this moment of history, simply follow the trend of events, the way public opinion runs, the direction in which the makers of public opinion want us to move? Will religion, after it has consecrated a self-complacent and egoistic enthusiasm for peace, consecrate self-intoxication with war? Will religion in our situation transcend our situation or not?” (Tillich, “The Word of Religion,” The Protestant Era).

Interesting, especially given our offensive in Afghanistan today. Just War. Is it an oxymoron?

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