Beliefnet
The founders of most religions knew that religion and politics don't make great bedfellows. After all, if religion is to bring out the best in its followers, it must remove itself from the boorish and vain concerns of politics so its followers may, in turn, love and forgive all their fellow citizens.

That's why Christ never maintained autocratic control over a $25 million annual budget while fattening himself on dreams of political influence. After all, within any vast political (or even social) organization, there will always exist a dark undercurrent of greed, hierarchy, and personal vanity--in short, the sorts of things that Christ preached against.

Sadly, these points have been lost on the Christian Coalition, whose professed goal of massaging the government has occasionally brought out the worst secular instincts among its leaders.

Most recently, the Coalition has come under fire for treating its black employees like social and economic inferiors. As alleged in two recent lawsuits filed by former Coalition employees, black Coalition employees were routinely excluded from prayer-breakfast meetings, and the Coalition's executive vice president, Roberta Combs, prohibited all black employees from using the kitchen because "they are talkative and waste too much time.." Instead, Combs arranged for a separate and not-too-equal kitchen facility--effectively segregating the black employees. Barred from using the main entrance, black employees were also herded like cattle through back entrances when they had to use the bathroom facilities.

Love thy neighbors--just not in thy kitchen.
These accusations come on the heels of a mass exodus of Christian Coalition leaders in 1999 and reports of mounting debt. The Coalition's precarious condition is a far cry from its heyday just over a decade ago, when it nourished itself on the idea that an increasingly liberal society was quite literally damning itself. This gloom-and-doom idea gained momentum in the mid-'80's, when the country was navigating severe economic crises and battling the Cold War. A people worried about their future found comfort in the common enemy of liberalism. And the Christian-right movement reached its apex.

Just one problem: Since then, America has experienced its longest period of sustained peacetime growth. Presently, the economy is humming, unemployment rates are down, and the middle class is growing. A lot of our free-floating angst has flaked away like a memory. As a result, the Christian right has lost a good deal of its emotional resonance. Plainly, their message of moral gloom and doom doesn't translate as well when people are certain that they are living in the greatest empire in history.

So the Christian Coalition now seems to be breaking apart, making it susceptible to attacks on other fronts. An example: While the Christian right continues to pump its collective fist in the air over abortion and same-sex-marriage issues, it has been notably silent on issues relating to race.

In short you don't see Christian Coalition members handing out pamphlets and organizing protests over racial profiling or racial disparities in legal sentencing. Yet certainly, racial justice issues are the moral issues that keep black Americans huddled together as a community. Until the Christian right makes an appeal to black Americans and other minorities who share their value system, they will continue to be perceived as an insular group of rural folk who are increasingly out of touch with the moral--and racial-justice--concerns of modern America.
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