It’s past time
This is an unprecedented opportunity for some faith leaders to step into the gap left by the political collapse of courageous leadership across this nation and sadly, centered in Washington. It is an understatement to say that vast numbers of Christian citizens have been appalled at the fawning reverence of some evangelical Christian leaders who have supported, defended, enabled and failed both the Christian faith and the larger national population as prophetic keepers of the Gospel and of moral integrity at this time by bowing the knee before this president and his morally bankrupt party.
Having said that, in the vacuum created by this massive fail of balanced visionary leadership there is a group of faith leaders who understand how this country has failed significant persons who carry citizenship often in name only. Excluded from the relative safety of living in America, freely participating in a just and inclusive society free from the sins of the past and moving the nation toward a more fair, just, and safe place for all. They understand the scourge of poverty, of a criminal justice system that seems to favor the incarceration of people of color over non-people of color, who also feel the pain of too many black men or women dying needlessly at the hands of law enforcement. Yet these faith leaders also understand what a perilous time it is for those in law enforcement and the daily challenges they face in more dangerous society where there is an endless stream of weapons of war leeching into our communities rendering every burg unsafe for any.
I am unaware of any of these faith leaders modeling their faith, social ethic after Martin Luther King Jr., but more like modeling their faith, virtue, and compassion after Jesus. That is the key difference between the fawning clergy and the faithful Gospel ministers.
All of this is to say, these men and women have “come to the kingdom for such a time as this!”(Esther 4:14) The leadership of MLKJr was a moral leadership born of a confidence in his calling from his savior, and the grieving heart of God. He did not need violence but rather peaceful, compliant demonstrations often leading to mass arrests. However, no matter how often he was jailed, his message continued. With his death, there was no one to rise up and lead.
That does not have to be no longer true. People of faith who carry the same calling, the same savior and grieve over the same things that grieve the heart of God have a unique opportunity. Not spoiled by the corruptions and temptations of power, but rather propelled by the moral imperatives of Scripture, these faith leaders can join hands publicly with faith leaders of color and with great solidarity and confidence in the God who is able to do exceeding more than we can ask or imagine, liberate all prisoners of poverty, injustice, lack of opportunity and hopelessness.
It is time, past time for leadership from religious leaders to step up and lead out. That is what makes America America. We are not a Christian nation, but Christians in America have historically shaped and influenced the values, liberties, and direction of this nation. We can do it again — the right way.