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Also to be remembered negatively in 2011 was the Religious Left’s discomfort and distress over the U.S. killing of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. Traditional Christianity has long taught that the state is divinely ordained not for wealth redistribution or environmental regulation or indoctrination in multicultural diversity. Rather the state is divinely ordained to “wield the sword” against evil doers and to protect the innocent. But old time Religious leftists like the National Council of Churches and newer Evangelical leftists like Brian McLaren almost mourned bin Laden’s death as egregiously unjust. The Religious Left seemed far more upset over the few hundred youngsters who celebrated the al Qaeda killer’s demise than they were over 9-11 itself. Blind pacifism and an inability to distinguish between lawful justice and lawless terror are suffocating the Religious Left.
Similarly, the Religious Left largely continues its stunning silence about Islamist and communist repression of Christians globally. In contrast, New York Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan recently editorialized that 80 percent of religious violence internationally is against Christians. But to hear the Religious Left, “Islamophobia” is the major hateful specter haunting the world. A National Council of Churches delegation to Cuba in November upheld its long-time tradition of refraining from all critique of the 52-year-old communist dictatorship. And when mostly Christian South Sudan finally achieved independence this year from the Islamist north, it was no thanks to the Religious Left. Religious leftists rightly have bewailed the torments of African Muslims in Sudan’s Darfur region by Khartoum’s Arabists, but they never cared much about South Sudan’s even longer suffering Christians. Recently the 4.5 million member Episcopal Church of Sudan de-recognized the U.S. Episcopal Church. The issue was the U.S. church’s sexual liberalism, but surely the Sudanese also noticed American indifference to Islamist terror. Responding to a recent church bombing in Nigeria, the U.S. National Council of Churches cited the “Islamist” perpetrators. It was a rare admission. Overall in 2011, Religious Left blindness about international religious persecution strode forward unabated.
Finally, the Religious Left’s ongoing hostility towards Israel, even amid indifference to human rights abuses by nearly all her repressive neighbors, remains a scandal. In 2011, Presbyterians and United Methodists prepared again to debate anti-Israel divestment. And prominent left-leaning U.S. evangelicals enlisted for an upcoming 2012 “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference in Jerusalem, where they will bemoan Palestinian suffering without admitting that Palestinian refusal to accept Israel is the major obstacle to peace. An even lower point for the Religious Left was prominent evangelical ethicists David Gushee and Glenn Stassen in 2011 publicly threatening Israel with Iranian nukes as divine punishment for abusing Palestinians.
Christianity thrives when adhering to its transcendent themes of redemption and human dignity. Its spokespersons become trite and discredited when they align faith with narrow, faddish political demands rooted more in secular academia than in the church’s historic councils. In 2011, the Religious Left achieved new levels of triteness. The good news is that their failure to reform leaves them more marginalized than ever. In 2012 and beyond, more responsible religious voices will displace the Religious leftists of yesteryear.
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