Social media can reduce activism to a fad—something that we take part in because a particular Twitter hashtag is trending, a video has become viral or a Facebook cause has become popular. It can ignore the hard work that has been taking place over decades and discount a long-term strategy that a community might have.
I have found myself dreading Facebook lately. With the general election beginning to churn, the competing posts are out: “Evidence of Obama’s socialist conspiracy!” “Republicans plan to inspect every woman’s womb!” Some are rather scary while others I quietly cheer; still others simply draw me into grief over how little Jesus seems apparent in any of it.
Yes, political advocacy is more effective than Band-Aid-style charity. But are those the only options?
What was remarkable about the overturning of Proposition 8—California’s ban on same-sex marriage—was the weakness of the case mounted by the defense. At times during the proceedings, Judge Vaughn Walker had to ask the legal team in charge of defending the proposition, in effect: “Haven’t you got something better than this?”
“Lo and behold there is a religious left,” declared an article in Slate. “The religious left is back,” announced the Washington Post. The evidence? An increase in blogging and organizing, as well as best-selling books by Jim Wallis, Michael Lerner and and Jimmy Carter.The rise of the religious left provides a natural journalistic lead because it plays against type. The persistent assumption, at least among mainstream media, is that Christians are politically active only on the conservative side.