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Presiding Bishop Michael Curry critiques silence of religious moderates

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry critiques silence of religious moderates

In an interview with The Guardian, excerpts of which were published yesterday, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry shared strong words about the silence of religious moderates as marginalized groups face patterns of systemic and societal oppression.  In the interview, Curry expressed his concern that Christian leaders in the public sphere are not adequately advocating for positions that align with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  In the interview, Curry cited both immigration and racial justice as issues that are often left unaddressed by many religious leaders, stating:

“I’m concerned when I don’t hear other religious leaders standing up for immigrants in our country being treated with justice and decency. I’m concerned when I don’t hear Christian leaders advocating vociferously for the re-unification of parents and children at our borders.”

“I’m concerned when I don’t hear religious leaders advocating for children to be number one on the social agenda of this country. I’m concerned when I hear silence from religious leaders after the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis marched through the streets of Charlottesville. I’m not hearing Jesus of Nazareth when I hear that silence.”

Curry’s comments in the interview derive from a concern that many American Christians are too easily swayed by ideologies that don’t align with Christian teachings.  Despite his critiques of religious moderates, he claims he still has hope in the country to overcome these obstacles and move forward together.

This is not the first time Curry has publicly made such statements.  Earlier this year, Curry was one of the key authors of the Reclaiming Jesus manifesto, a document by Christian leaders concerned about the integrity of the United States as a nation.  Curry also published an op-ed on immigration in The Guardian online in June, entitled “How can America call itself a Christian country if it treats children like this?”  His commitment to issues of justice can currently be seen throughout the overarching work and commitments of the Episcopal Church; at this summer’s General Convention, he outlined three priorities for ministry in the next triennium: evangelism, racial reconciliation, and creation care.

This interview in The Guardian also comes a week before Curry is set to release a new book, “The Power of Love.” The book, which will be a collection of sermons, gets its title from the sermon Curry preached at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle this past spring which launched him into the public eye.



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Kenneth Knapp

Apparently we have become a church for internet trolls. I would never have expected that a simple defense of religious moderates would ignite such a maelstrom of support for religious/political fanaticism. I recommend a book which I read shortly after I retired several years ago titled “On Moderation” (2008, Baylor University Press) by Professor Harry Clor. I think “the way of love” will require all of us, wherever we fall on the religious/political spectrum, to adopt moderation politically, personally, and philosophically. I am not suggesting that you abandon your sincerely held religious/political views…only that you accept that God also loves those who don’t hold your views, and that your views (and my views) are not necessarily endorsed by God. I think that the Episcopal Church in which I was raised was far more tolerant of moderation.

Kenneth Knapp

Like all of us, the PB is entitled to his political opinions, but I think the Episcopal Church would be better served if he kept his opinions to himself.

Gregory Orloff

Well, Mr. Knapp, I haven’t heard Presiding BIshop Michael Curry express political opinions — though he sure is articulating gospel values grounded in the breadth and depth of the Bible. And as a bishop, he can’t keep gospel values to himself — it’s his job to bear witness to them.

Martha Gay

Kenneth Knapp, I believe that is the problem. Too many men and women of faith are keeping their political views to themselves. Isn’t it their ordained obligation to be leaders and teachers of the gospel? It’s time our country had an awakening to the teachings of Christ. If anything we should return to LOVING one another. You don’t even have to be a Christian. Just LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Philip B. Spivey

Ever heard of “live and let live”? N.B. Our presiding bishop is not running for office; he’s preaching the Good News. Perhaps you don’t agree with everything in Christ’s Gospel. That’s your prerogative.

Kenneth Knapp

Like the PB, you are entitled to your political opinions, but your political opinions are not my religion.

Kevin McGrane

What *is* your religion, Mr. Knapp?

Karen Cox

I have deep and grave concerns about leaders not being vocal about integrity and basic human rights. Thank you for voicing your concerns.


I want to share this, but there’s a typo on tnr first sentence. “Excepts” should actually be “excerpts”.

mike geibel

The Bishop’s appeal for conservative evangelical leaders to “talk as brothers and sisters” with Christians who hold progressive views is a compelling prayer for reconciliation, but I doubt that will happen if he starts the conversation by telling conservative ministers that they are not Christian enough. His comments in the interview seems to stray from the “power of love” for a calculus based upon theological shaming of those more orthodox evangelical churches which avoid mixing politics with religion. I’m probably wrong, but the message I read seems to be that moderate ministers need to sideline teaching the Gospel in favor of social engagement, and his measure for being a good Christian sounds more political than spiritual.

Gregory Orloff

“Sidelining teaching the Gospel in favor of social engagement” is a false dichotomy, and it always has been. The Gospel of Christ Jesus has always boiled down to “Love God, love neighbor, love enemy, treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Given those mandates from Jesus, politics and spirituality aren’t two separate things, governed by their own rules, ethics, motivations, and standards of behavior. For Christians, the political must be driven by the spiritual.

mike geibel

Each of us, including ministers and Bishops, has the right to advocate his or her opinions on partisan political or social issues. Surely there is a way to vocalize spiritual compassions without the rancor and personal condemnations that seem fueled by hate, not love. We prevaricate when we pretend we love others when in fact we don’t. (1 John 4:20).

To me, living as a Christian is not about obedience to political correctness, protest marches or abstract slogans like “gender justice, eco-justice, or social justice.” It means respect for the dignity of others irrespective of their gender, religion, social status, race, or whether they voted for the same political candidate. It means not insisting that only you are right and that those who you find disagreeable are less than you.

Political posturing is divisive and drives people away from the church at a time when society needs to become more connected with God, and not feel driven away by God’s spokespeople.

Gregory Orloff

I don’t hear any “political posturing” in what Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and likeminded clergy have said. What I do hear is a clear and unapologetic enunciation of gospel values, however. If that upsets or alienates some, it may well be because they have zero interest in the Gospel message or in connecting with a God whose mandate is “Love your neighbor, love your enemy, treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” That is, after all, the yardstick by which Christians must measure their political choices and social behaviors if they are to be in sync with Christ Jesus.

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