‘Tis The Season


Image Courtesy of History.com

As the year wraps up, many don their gay apparel to partake in the practice of charity. The influence of Christianity as the dominant religion of the United States finds space in the lives of seculars and believers. It comes as no surprise then, that the values and traditions associated with the holiday of Christmas have transcended religious barriers and have shaped our understanding of the days leading up to it. For Christians, however, the holiday is not just one of spiritual significance. It comes with a strong social agenda of servitude to those in need. This spirit of joyful giving, as a personal note, is what I find the most valuable from any set of belief, and what I would love to see all through the year on greater scales and deeper levels. For those with ears to hear, let them hear: Liberation theology can provide a way.

A Pastor for Peace

Rev. Lucius Walker in Seattle, 1999. Photo: Bill Hackwell

Black religious leaders have long played an important role in political activism since the days of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2008, Jesse Jackson was an important endorsement for Obama and has since backed Obama’s support of gay marriage by framing it as a contemporary civil rights issue.

In October 1988, Reverend Lucius Walker–former director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)–founded Pastors for Peace. Walker was a powerful, and often contentious, figure in the media and in the national political landscape. IFCO,

…acted as a bridge between predominantly mainline churches and community groups conceived of and run by people of color… and as a resource bank supporting the work of congregations and organizations engaged in the work of community-building.

This willingness to cross boundaries and mobilize tight-knit religious communities were crucial to Walker’s success as an activist.