5/13/2008--I saw the future of secularism without religious influence last night and it was not pretty. My local community group, in a community 56% African-American, selecting half of its board, elected seven whites in a takeover by the more affluent portion of the neighborhood.
The history of this action began when the existing Board did not, in the opinion of many of my white neighbors, oppose sufficiently the efforts of the Salvation Army to expand its services a few blocks away. The fear of the homeless originally motivated this effort.
It’s not that the people involved are evil or that the prior group running the organization had done such a good job in the past. It’s that, when I looked around the hall last night, I noted the complete absence of the Church. This important institution in the black community was not there. Nor were the progressive voices of the religious left. In the absence of this restraint and source of hope, what are people left with? Fear of the other. Self-interest. Greed. Materialism.
So, this new slate did not even feel it symbolically necessary to include more than one woman or any blacks. At least it did include gays.
Where there is no vision, the people perish. It’s hard to have vision in a secular world.