Remember the Moral Majority back in the 1980s? Its name was coined by Paul Weyrich, who believed the majority of Americans were morally conservative but largely ignored in general elections. Weyrich believed this huge silent cohort were opposed to feminism, homosexual rights, abortion, and communism, and they wanted prayer and creationism back in public schools.
You might also remember the Moral Majority after it got all weird when Jerry Falwell started calling out MLK as a communist, Muhummad Ali as a terrorist, and Tinky Winky from the Teletubbies as a gay activist (I’m not kidding).
But I can’t help but wonder whether there’s a new moral majority emerging, as silently as did the old one.
It’s my hunch that there’s a growing number of people who identify as neither liberal nor conservative but who want to see action on climate change, government and corporate corruption, systemic racism, immigration reform, education funding, socialized healthcare and the military-industrial complex.
And many of them are Christians who see these issues in distinctly moral terms and who have arrived at their views based on their understanding of the values taught in Scripture.
Recently, a Christian friend of mine posted a kind of 95 Theses on the 21st Century’s version of the Wittenberg door (Facebook) and got a hugely positive response, including from me. In fact, I agreed with every one of them. And I think there’s a growing number of Christians who would agree also.
His name is Brent Thomas and here’s his list. How many do you agree with?
- I am okay paying taxes and I think they should be used for the betterment of society (things like: education, Infrastructure, universal healthcare, etc.);
- I do not think it’s okay that the rich play by different tax codes;
- Corporations have too much power;
- I’m not okay with my government spying on its citizens;
- I don’t think healthcare should be a “for profit” industry. Getting sick should not be a financial burden;
- I favor universal healthcare;
- I don’t think the pursuit of education should put you in debt and I’m not okay with how education funding has been tied to property taxes, which means that less fortunate neighborhoods often have less fortunate schools;
- We should care for the poor rather than protect the rich;
- We should cut military spending and pursue policies of peace;
- I’m okay with stricter gun control laws;
- Trickle-down economics inherently favors the rich and does not result in job growth;
- Torture is wrong;
- Holding people captive indefinitely with no plans for a court hearing is wrong;
- Nearly all of our recent wars have been wrong;
- If you are a baker, your job is to bake, not willy-nilly impose your beliefs on others;
- I have become a pacifist (mostly);
- Racial profiling is wrong;
- Systemic racism is real and must be addressed;
- I now (mostly) oppose the death penalty;
- We should welcome and care for refugees;
- The “war on drugs” is not only a sham but inherently racist in the way it has been carried out;
- Mass incarceration is unjust and inherently racist in the way it has been carried out;
- For-profit prisons are wrong;
- We should protect the environment and I’m okay with government regulation to do so;
- Businesses should be held accountable for more than their bottom line and should answer to more than their shareholders;
- I am deeply troubled by the idea of “American Exceptionalism”;
- Empathizing with “Black Lives Matter” is not the same thing as opposing police;
- Sexism is an inherent part of our cultural dynamic and must be addressed;
- It takes more than opposing abortion to truly be “pro-life”;
- It’s time to stop the power industries from blocking renewable energy.
Now I understand some people might think this is all just some kind of lefty, bleeding heart liberalism, but I think you’d be surprised by how many moderate and even conservative Christians could happily check all 30 statements. You might be surprised by how many of these your pastor could check.
For this new cohort none of the major political parties fully represent their concerns. And remember, this was exactly the catalyst for Falwell, Weyrich and others to found the original Moral Majority.
I’m not proposing a new party or a new organization, but I do think the existing political structures need to listen to this growing new silent (soon-to-be?) majority.