Loehr: the cowardice of the pulpit

Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2005 at 9:07 am by Chelsea Green Publishing

At the request of UU Word, Boston College professor and political economist Charles Derber sat down and interviewed Davidson Loehr. The interview starts off explaining use of the “F-word,” when Davidson calls literalistic religion the mortal enemy of democracy. So why are so many religions sticking with strict and literalist interpretations of the bible?

“It’s rare that ministers won’t care if they lose their biggest pledgers—who often use their money as a tool to restrict the preacher and the church to stay within their comfort zone. It’s embarrassing to think of how many times these people demean religion in this way—with the all-too-willing compliance of the ministers. It’s human nature, just as it’s natural for ministers to want to be liked…But right now, in the most dangerous time our country has been through in my lifetime, the silence—I want to say, the cowardice—of the pulpits is especially disturbing.”

Loehr uses a Buddhist metaphor that says all religions, priests, and sages are fingers pointing at the moon, and that the object of religion is to see what they are pointing at–not to worship the fingers. Most people would agree that worshipping the fingers would be absurd. In recounting Loehr’s sermon from this past Sunday, Texas Oasis mentioned this quote by Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

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