Today, three United Church of Christ clergy leaders plus a Unitarian Universalist cleric plan to deliver a letter of protest to Rep. Akin. The text of the letter reads,
"As Missourians of faith, we found your statement that "at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred of God and a belief that government should replace God" to be ignorant and offensive. Scripture clearly warns us to "judge not, lest ye be judged," yet you condemn in disrespectful, stereotypical terms those with whom you disagree. Such insulting pronouncements degrade our nation's political dialogue and are unworthy of a public servant who claims to represent the interests of all of his constituents.
"And in light of your support for a federal budget that mainstream faith leaders have overwhelmingly condemned as punitive toward the poorest among us, we call on you to reconsider not only your words, but also your moral priorities as a political leader. Accusing others of being inspired by hatred of God while you vote to deprive the weakest and most vulnerable of medicine and basic sustenance is the antithesis of moral leadership. We call on you to apologize, and we pray that you are moved to act in a spirit of civility, compassion and justice in the future." (source)Talk about ships passing in the night. This is a classic example. Given the judgmental tone of the clergy response, the bit about not judging so you won't get judged probably could have been best dropped. And while the statement about Akin's voting record may be as the letter describes it, Akin could argue that his votes are not against the poor but for fiscal responsibility, which is also a moral issue. The letter's moral indignation at his voting record echoes Akin's moral indignation at liberalism, although it is targeted much more narrowly and doesn't make blanket statements about conservatives. Still, it is an expression of liberal indignation hitting back at Akin's conservative indignation at NBC's removal of "under God" from the pledge of allegiance.
Both Akin and the clergy are committed Christians. who seem to be better at preaching than listening, which is a weakness we all share no matter what our political ideology or theology. We do not seem to be able to temper our ideologies and theologies for the sake of mutual forbearance and reconciliation—for the sake of the Gospel. If well-intentioned followers of Christ cannot find ways past their politics, how can we expect others to do so? These are indeed sad times.