National Council of Churches

The Rev. Robert Edgar told the Progressive
National Baptists that the NCC adheres to biblical positions, not political ones
yesterday. This is a step in the right direction for reclaiming the faith.

you know who
it is that
calls us to
pursue peace,
fight poverty
and injustice,
and care for
the earth.
Rev. Dr. Robert Edgar

When Robert Edgar, leader of the National Council of Churches, told the Progressive National Baptist Convention yesterday the NCC follows Jesus and his bias for the poor, and not a political agenda, he was correctly positioning the NCC, I believe.
In the polarized environment today, it’s been too easy for partisans to mischaracterize those who hold different positions from themselves. As Jim Wallis says, Blue and Red are not biblical categories. But we’ve been swept up in the appropriation of religious values by political partisans. That’s more than unfortunate, it’s downright bad theology.

Neither the biblical prophets, Jesus, nor Paul were advocates for political parties. They were advocates for basic human values under the reign of a loving God. It’s not partisan in a political sense to work for health care for the sick, education for poor children, a helping hand for our seniors, food, clothing, shelter for those without. It’s compassion and justice. That is what the biblical prophets and Jesus taught. No political platform has a claim on these biblical principles. They belong to the faith tradition and those who would attempt to capture them for partisan gain are seriously mistaken.

For too long the political dialogue in this country has been subject to media manipulation that reduces complexities to simple polar opposites. And there are those who have learned how to take advantage of this insidious process. As a result, even those who stand in the middle and advocate moderate positions are characterized as being on the left wing of the political spectrum.

It just ain’t so, and repeatedly claiming it is, as some right-wing folks do, still doesn’t make it so.

It’s faithfulness to a biblical understanding of justice, compassion, hope and redemption. I’ve been concerned about this for a long, long, time and I’m grateful that Dr. Edgar, Jim Wallis, Rabbi Michael Lerner and others are starting to get some media traction to offer a more comprehensive, faith-based voice in the dialogue. We need it.

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