When I was in seminary, the Christian church in Coffeyville gave me a small scholarship. That was the church where my grandparents went, and served as deacons and on search committees, where my parents were married, where my aunts and uncle and cousin grew up. In return, the church folks asked me to come and preach for them.
We mainline Christians, children of the Enlightenment that we are, have bought into the notion that religion is a private matter, just between us and God, just about our individual, personal salvation. But this notion of religion as having only to do with whether or not I am saved so I go to heaven when I die, but otherwise no bearing on how this world operates, has been used to perpetuate some terrible things.
A polio epidemic raged out of control in the little English village of Standing. The hospital was filled with children fighting for their lives, unable to walk or—in some of the worst cases—breathe on their own. Nearly every day a quarantine sign appeared on the door of another house.
In the days following the Babylonian Exile, when the people returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the city and the Temple, the scribe Ezra became very distressed that so many of his people, including religious leaders, had married foreign women and had children with them