Mark Silk posted a riff that was occasioned by a post by a UCC pastor who was very very concerned that McCain and Obama were holding a joint event to day in an evangelical mega-church. She’s particularly worried that this action of their serves to legitimate a civil role for evangelical churches that Rick Warren typifies.
Silk writes, regarding the question of the civil role:
“Establishmentarian religion serves to bless, convene, and otherwise hold a sacred umbrella over the community at large. When consensus has to be built, it is there to build it; when a common goal has to be achieved, it is there to hallow it. Nationally, in the first part of the 20th century, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopalians or the Bishop of the Methodists or the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterians were there to do the job. After World War II, a more interfaith approach came to the fore. Perhaps the greatest contribution of establishmentarianism in American history was to set its seal on the civil rights movement.
But the lesson mainstream religion took away from that era was not of its own role but of the prophetic one, incarnated in Martin Luther King, Jr. And ever since, it is the image of the prophet, not the priest, that has mesmerized the imaginations of American religious leaders. That goes, of course, for those evangelical leaders who, modeling themselves on the black civil rights clergy they had once reviled, created the religious right a generation ago.”
Read the full article here.
Silk makes an assertion that I’d not ever thought about. The conservative religious voice sees itself as speaking just as prophetically to the secular world and to the nation as does the liberal religious voice.
So who is the true prophet? How do we decide?