To the editor:
On July 27, the Columbus Dispatch reported the results of a poll that asked “what is the most important issue facing the country?” Only 8.4 percent of those claiming a Christian affiliation (less than 6 percent among Evangelical Protestants) named poverty and/or inequality as the “most important issue,” while 18.6 percent of the unchurched named it as the top issue.
This is not surprising notwithstanding all the claims to faithfulness made by church-goers. In reality, churches exist primarily for the benefit of their members. Financial offerings and the food collected for People In Need are made to help to assuage a twinge guilt by affluent church-goers who give to wider needs what is left over after the institutional and staff needs of the church are first met.
To advocate for poverty and inequality issues at the policy level is to delve into politics, a forbidden topic in churches. It is not surprising that the unchurched care more about poverty and inequality than those who go to church every Sunday. They have learned that to deal seriously with such issues, they must do it outside the church. This brings to mind the words of the prophet Amos.
I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies (church worship).
Even though you offer me your
burnt offerings and cereal offerings (financial pledges).
I will not accept them …
But let justice roll down like waters.
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Lee H. Lybarger
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