Religious Convergence

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Religious Convergence

The Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a conservative evangelical minister is spreading a very surprising truth--
Schenck said he plans to tell young evangelicals at a Christian music festival on July 1 that homosexuality is not a choice but a "predisposition," something "deeply rooted" in many people. "That may not sound shocking to you, but it will be shocking to my audience," he said.
Disagreements between different faiths get a lot of coverage, but it turns out that there are people trying to work together earnestly on issues where they share common ground. Although in Schenck's case, he's even working on issues where the common ground is pretty shaky.

The Rev. Schenck has been spending a lot of time with Rabbi David Saperstein, a liberal activist who heads the the advocacy arm of the Reform movement. In exchange for Schenck going to the mat on gay issues, Saperstein is going to push the goal of decreasing the number of abortions among his progressive brethern.

They're not alone, it turns out there are a lot of denominations getting together, a lot of them are revolting against the way religion has been used and abused in election politics.
After a year in which religion played a polarizing role in U.S. politics, many religious leaders are eager to demonstrate that faith can be a uniter, not just a divider. The buzzwords today in pulpits and seminaries are crossover, convergence, common cause and shared values.
Last week in Washington, representatives of more than 40 U.S. denominations took part in the Convocation on Hunger at the National Cathedral, where they sang a Tanzanian hymn while the choir director shook a gourd full of seeds and children laid breads from around the world on the altar.

It may have been mistaken for a hippie ceremony were it not for the sight of clergy from the Southern Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God and other evangelical churches praying alongside Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, mainline Protestants and Jews.

The show of solidarity was partly a reaction against "the recent manipulation of religion in ways that are divisive and partisan," said David Beckmann, a Lutheran minister and president of Bread for the World, a nonprofit group that helped organize the service.

"Because religion has been dragged into political life in some ways, this is the religious leadership of the nation saying, 'No, let us show you what religion in the public square should really be about,' " he said.
Simply put-- more power to them.

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