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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Attack from the City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, is at it again. In one of the most horrifying attacks against American citizens, then Mayor, W. Wilson Goode, authorized the bombing of a home that was occupied by members of MOVE, an organization whose members wore dreadlocks and advocated a back to nature lifestyle. Eleven members of the organization, six adults and five children, were killed and no one from the city was held responsible for their deaths. Now Philadelphia is gearing up to drop another bomb: this time on the Philadelphia chapter of the Boy Scouts of America. In a dispute that goes back to 2003, the city solicitor, Romula Diaz, has given the scouts until December 3rd to renounce its policy against hiring/admitting homosexuals. If it does not amend its policy, Diaz has threatened to remove the rental subsidy that the Boy Scouts of Philadelphia has enjoyed since 1928. If they fail to comply with Diaz’s demand, their rent will soar from the current $1 per year to the fair market value of $200,000 per year.

The point of this post is not whether the scouts should permit homosexuals within their ranks, because the scouts can defend their own moral code. I’m asking why the Evangelical Christian Right, so visible in presidential politics and other social issues, has not put the same type of energy in this issue as they do during presidential campaigns.[1]

The Christian Church has the potential of being the most effective lobby in America: many churches have services as often as two, three or more times per week; they have loyal members who contribute as much as 10 percent of their incomes; and many churches have hundreds of members who volunteer their time and talent for the work of the Lord.

As influential as the Israel Lobby, the NRA and the AARP are, if they had anything close to the infrastructure of the Christian Church, their influences would be magnified exponentially. This begs the question of why American Christianity is unable to marshal a rapid, resourceful response to issues such as what the Boy Scouts are confronting in the City of Brotherly Love. If one condemns America’s cozy relationship with Israel, whether legitimate or otherwise, the Israel Lobby launches a very swift and effective counter campaign that usually stifles the criticism and in some instances it is able to extract apologies.

The Christian Church has the potential of being an even more effective promoter for its cause than the Israel Lobby is for its cause. However, the Church has never realized its potential and has missed many opportunities to demonstrate to the world that morals insulate a society from its own self destructive ways. It is unfortunate but true, that the actions of the city of Philadelphia promote a suicidal pathology that can only end in social ruin. Since I am not a fatalist, I still believe that Christians can reverse our nation’s depraved gallop towards the precipice of oblivion. However, this shall not be accomplished until we recognize that keeping homosexuals away from children is far more important than much of the Church activity that is passed off as God’s work.

[1] I single out the Evangelical Christian Right only because it tends to champion these types of issues more aggressively than liberal Christians.

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