Saturday, July 24, 2004
Preacher to the Convention.
Last month, we mulled over who might represent religion at the Democratic National Convention. Today, I have part of the answer: The Rev. James A. Forbes Jr, minister of the famous Riverside Church in Manhattan. Rich Barlow interviews him in today's Boston Globe, where Forbes answers the question every pundit has pondered this year:
Q. Regular churchgoers overwhelmingly vote Republican. What does that suggest about the two political parties?
A. In my sermon, I may call people to read Isaiah 58. In it, we get evidence that religion can express itself in two directions. One is personal piety, reflected in church attendance and public display of one's religious identification. Another aspect is the prophetic critique. In [Isaiah], it's almost as if God would say, forget about how often you go to church, forget about how many times you pray; what I want you to do is feed the hungry, take the homeless into your homes, care for those who are incarcerated. In Matthew 25, the issue is, when I was hungry, you didn't feed me, when I was poor and naked, you didn't clothe me.
The polls will give the impression that folks are more religious on the basis of how much they go to church. I'm a pastor; I want folks to come. But the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights are rooted in a call for justice. Otherwise, people will punch their cards — "See, I went [to church] 12 times." But you did not provide resources for [the needy].
("Convention preacher offers US views" [huh?], Rich Barlow, Boston Globe 7.24.04)
Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 24 July 2004 at 11:44 AM