By Jim Merritt
Asking the Clergy:
Should spiritual leaders conceal political leanings?
The Rev. Karen A. Campbell was one of three religious leaders asked to respond to that question.
Read her response below.
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Response by the Rev. Karen Ann Campbell,
Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Sag Harbor:
The church, as followers of Jesus, began as a countercultural movement following the lead of our Jewish forebears. Unfortunately, over the millenniums, the church became the tepid endorser of everything the government did.
In U.S. history, a few brave Gospel bearers spoke out against the tyranny of England during the American Revolution and against slavery during the Civil War; courageous spiritual leaders stood against Nazi Germany’s Holocaust and spoke out for equal rights for people of color, and LBGTQ people.
Throughout the history of humans and God, there have arisen times when people of faith have taken action. God sent German pastor, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who died in a Nazi concentration camp) and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to speak the Gospel truth to power.
I recently returned from the U.S. border in Brownsville, Texas, with Matamoros, Mexico, where I witnessed what I believe to be cruel and evil policies designed to keep “poor" and "huddled masses” out. Many of these people from South and Central America have walked two months to get here, knowing that the United States used to take in asylum seekers who said their lives were in danger.
“Verses Suggested by the Current Crisis,” an 1845 poem by abolitionist James Russell Lowell that was incorporated into a well-known hymn about social responsibility, begins “Once to every man and nation comes a time to decide …”
As an Episcopal priest, I took a vow to proclaim the Gospel. I have decided to let people know where I stand. We clergy must speak.