A Just Society is Our Divine Calling!

Americans once believed that we could work together to address social injustices. We saw this in efforts like those that culminated in FDR’s New Deal. The undoing of that belief was historically rooted in efforts to use religion to shape public opinion. As historian, Kevin Kruse, points out in One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, since the mid 1940s, a right-wing stream of Christianity in America has been subsidized by wealthy industrialists and a greedy elite business class. The problem was not that this unholy coalition brought politics into faith or encouraged faith communities to be politically active. The problem was that its politics were rooted in an unjust organization of society. Patriotism and “freedom under God” were pitted against collective efforts to end poverty, undo racism, and protect the environment from destruction.

This new anti-Christianizing of American religion in politics has caused us as a society largely to cover our eyes and ears to the teachings of Jesus, which point to the truth that systemic injustices are spiritual realities. America needs new political leadership, yes. We need bold policies that can address the challenges we face, absolutely. But this will only happen with a new moral, spiritual, and political awakening of the American people.

So bring on the #GreenNewDeal! Bring on #MedicareForAll! Bring on #Reparations! Let us #RestoreOurDemocracy, undo #SystemicRacism, #endPoverty, #savetheplanet, and build that just society we were promised generations ago. But let us not be naïve. If we are going to do it and get it right this time, it will require a broad coalition of interfaith religious leaders who are committed to leading a moral and spiritual awakening. We must begin by believing that in the soul of America, that the core of our common humanity, our divine calling is to build a just society for that works for the well-being of all of us.