When asked where the new members of liberal churches will come from, David Jenkins, former Anglican bishop of Durham, replied: “Where they have always come from—the evangelicals.” This is only partly true, of course. Most members of liberal churches were born or married into a mainline congregation. Yet it is true that many members of liberal, mainline churches are former conservatives.
To make a real apology has always been hard. Our forebears in the garden, when confronted with their wrongdoing, passed the blame to others. Adam had the gumption to blame God as well as “the woman whom you gave to be with me.” Eve blamed the serpent.
Ted Haggard built up a 14,000-member Pentecostal church on the basis of his charismatic gifts and organizational skills. As one of the country’s most prominent pastors and as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, Haggard had access to the White House and was a consultant to presidential adviser Karl Rove. Heady stuff, indeed—until it came crashing down.
The elusive middle ground on abortion took concrete shape in September. Two bills were introduced in the House of Representatives that are designed to reduce the number of abortions not by tightening restrictions on abortion but by expanding the social programs that reduce the likelihood of abortion.
The food movement has called attention to the abuse of animals that are raised and killed on factory farms. But even farmers who raise animals in humane ways, in small-scale operations, intend for the animals to be slaughtered. Bob Comis, a professional pig farmer, asks how can he ethically raise pigs knowing that his ultimate aim is to kill and market them for consumption. “As a pig farmer, I lead an unethical life,” Comis confesses. “I am a slaveholder and a murderer” (American Scholar, Spring).