A small group of Portland area Christians gathered outside New Hope Community Church in peaceful witness for a different view of faith than what was seen on the local telecast of "Justice Sunday" (which was hosted by New Hope). I hadn't participated in a protest in a long time (as Dr. Balcomb points out, a "protest" literally means to "witness for", not simply to be opposed). But I am tired of feeling like I have to apologize for being a Christian -- that I have to explain to people that I do not believe Jesus stands for war, gun rights, the death penalty, and cuts to social service to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. So my sign read "When Did Our Savior Register Republican?" One gentleman stopped his Mercedes sports coupe long enough to tell me: "Jesus isn't Republican, he's just moral, like Republicans." He didn't wait for a reply before pulling into the church parking lot. I'm trying to figure out how someone can believe that one political party can corner the market on morality.
What I find particularly troubling about "Justice Sunday" is the implication that Christians, conservative or otherwise, are greatly threatened by persecution in this country, i.e., "those liberals want to keep godly judges off the bench." It seems to me that American Christians are far less likely to be persecuted by power than they are to be seduced by power. The "religious right" seems perilously close to believing that it can use political power to make this a "Christian nation." But in attempting to gain, and retain, political power, they will poison their own movement. I am as convinced of that as I am concerned by their vision of what a "Christian nation" would be. And I would be satisfied to let their efforts run the inevitable course to corruption and failure, but for the damage their misbegotten campaign will do to millions of innocent people.
Richard H. Allan
We should be thankful that so many religious people all across our country protested this terrible event.