Silence of Religious Leaders

Events are happening around the country. Riots in Brooklyn, Steubenville rape trial, sexual abuse and assualt trials in the military, 6 month old shot in Chicago, and many other events that aren’t even reported nationally. In each of these events, there has been an expectation that people in the religious community and celebrities should step in to help. In some instances the “help” has been useful especially in Chicago, although, it really doesn’t seem to be making a difference in the murder rate. More commonly there has been silence or rebuke from religious leaders. Is it fair to require this from our religious leaders? What should they say?

Many people reference the Civil Rights Movement and abolitionists as the basis for their understanding of how religious leaders should respond. However, we know from history that the religious leaders who participated were in the minority and often urged by other religious leaders not talk about the issue. But the minority were able to make a huge difference. Presently, the religious community has been chastised for having no response. It is a complicated issue because most religious leaders take the stance that it is not part of their responsibility; they’re just responsible for spiritual wellness. In other instances religious leaders have blamed the victim such as in the Steubenville rape trial or told the victim “God wanted her to be raped, now go pray” from a chaplain in the military. There no longer seems to be any training in social justice or helping those who have been marginalized and victimized. What does this communicate about those who follow a religion? If we just stay in our lane and read the Bible, the Quran, or meditate, what difference are we making in this world?

Perhaps it is the media’s fault. Maybe they’re just not reporting the outspoken religious leader that is in favor of social justice, but then again…are they not speaking loud enough? I believe they have a responsibility to respond loud enough and help but maybe I’m in the minority…

The Questions…


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