Theology class

By PHOENIX LETTERS  |  June 29, 2010

The civil-rights movement of the 1950s and '60s and the Vietnam War protests would not have been nearly as successful without the principled involvement of many religious groups and individuals. Tax a church for funding homophobic legislative efforts and you will also find yourself taxing churches who join the Pride march to endorse gay marriage.

I have no solution to the genuine problem posed by Mr. Inglis, except to remember the old adage that the best solution to free speech is more free speech.

James Bodge
Somerville, Massachusetts

THEOLOGY CLASS

Although I thoroughly appreciate you exposing the bigotry and actions counter to the loving teachings of Jesus of Nazareth within certain "Christian" groups, I felt that your article in the most recent Phoenix unfairly generalized various conservative sects of Christianity with Christians in America as a whole. This erroneous synecdoche was both myopic and damaging to the many evangelical (and non-evangelical) Christians like myself who have been working for GLBTQ rights and inclusion — both in public and private spheres — for years. Rosemary Radford Ruether, James Cone, Coretta Scott King, and the Episcopal Church (Anglican in America) are among the more prominent figures who fully endorse gay rights, and all are Christian.

I want clarify some rudimentary points of theology that further tinted the perception of Christ- followers in your article:

1. Mormons are not Christians because they deny central doctrines of Christianity, including the deity of Christ, salvation by grace, and the bodily resurrection of Christ. Christians have to believe that Jesus is God.

2. An evangelic model of theology is, "in major doctrines, unity; in non-essential doctrines, liberty; and in all things, charity." Women's/gay rights and birth control, swearing, drinking, etc. are non-essentials in Christianity. Though Focus on the Family from Colorado Springs may consider themselves "evangelical," they are really "fundamentalists" because of their conservative and hateful voices against gays, women, and "alternative" hetero-gendered couples.

3. From its inception, Christianity has liberated slaves, women, children, the disabled, and even the castrated (see Mt. 19:12) from their position as second-rate citizens, and has, through its radical championing of celibacy in the early church, saved many women from mortality in childbirth and provided a means for women to be freed from patriarchal control. Christians (most notably in the black church) have also been at the forefront of the civil rights movement.

Toward the conclusion of your article, the interview with Roger Keller helped to show the way in which Christians ought to behave, but often don't, yet the tone of the article, and the images (which may or may not have been approved by yourself) came off exactly the way that you shunned Christians for acting — judgmental and moralistic.

Cristina Richie
Pastor, Episcopal Church, Diocese of Massachusetts
Professor, World Religions and Ethics, Newbury College, Brookline, Massachusetts

THE END OF AMERICA

"Catholics, Mormons, and evangelicals have united to fight gay rights, women's choice, and other progressive causes," in your words. Some might find your choice to label them progressive as retrogressive. Our Supreme Court is our only refuge, and that is under attack — look at the illegal takeover of GM. Our nation is being polarized. The Court will soon consist of three Jews and a racist Puerto Rican versus four conservatives and one swing vote.

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