22 March 2005 

Why do so many liberals seem supportive of religious language when it is invoked by black civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., but recoil when such language is used by white political leaders? Is there a subtle kind of racism going on here, where religion is okay for liberals as long as it comes from black or poor people? Are black people supposed to be culturally religious (love those black choirs), while white believers are intellectually suspect?
Jim Wallis (from God's Politics)
I believe that the attitude to which Mr. Wallis is referring actually extends into deeper territory that has much to do with the deep divisions that are created by class. Jacques Ellul has written about the way in which our Western world of opulence and technology crowds God, and the mysterious ways in which He manifests Himself, out of the picture for many people. (I must thank Kent Higgins for reminding me of this.) Wallis is discussing a consequence of that state of affairs: those of us who can afford to live lives of convenience, replete with gadgetry and free time, are likely to shrivel up on the inside. Then some start to find meaning by hating [insert authority figure] and flirting with the poor and the oppressed while denying treating their beliefs like the art work of a friend who doesn't quite have talent but means well: "Oh, that's cool, man. But I, uhhh, I don't have any place to hang it up!"