Chuck Currie highlights an evangelical group who called the flooding of New Orleans God's judgment. This may seem extreme or even unheard of as a claim, but as I was tabling for our campus ministry at my school I had an evangelical pastor come up and tell me the same thing. It was one of the only things he's ever said which has left me stunned, tongue tied, as is...can you be a decent, not moral, just a decent human being?
Or has religion operated in one's life to twist the soul so as to not recognize tragedy and suffering when it happens? It's a situation like this that makes me think that more often than we'd like, various forms of Christianity can be destructive, soul destroying, a trap that takes you far away from God..not because of this or that doctrine, but because it disconnects you from other people and their lives and suffering.
A study shows that if you go to church you're far more likely to support the war in Iraq and Bush's foreign policy. The report notes "frequent attendance at religious services has become a proxy for support of U.S. foreign policy". Why? "The actively religious U.S. public tends to see the world in terms of good and evil, holds its own values in the highest moral esteem, and feels ready to make whatever sacrifices are required to combat what they perceive as evil"
A number of elements in this report are troubling. Manichaeism has replaced the claims of the western monotheistic tradition which says that the poor, the destitute, those outside of the range of our compassion, other nations are part of God's world. The trust in our own values replaces a recognition that God is calling, challenging us to have higher more inclusive values. Militarism replaces the call for the peacable kingdom. And religion becomes the justifier of our disconnectedness not a call to reconciliation and a wider community.