My last post talked about the hypocrisy and bigotry of the evangelical church. From there, I think it's appropriate to deal with how the evangelical church's thinking and actions really impact our society as a whole. Evangelicals make up 26% of our adult population. That's a significant percentage therefore they must bear some responsibility for the condition of our country- whether good or bad.
The U.S ranks 49th in infant mortality, behind Cuba even. We obviously have an unhealthy environment, also ranked 49th, in terms of how "green" we are. We have more people total in prison than any nation on the planet, even China. Also, we lead the world in illegal drug use. 20% of American adults live with some form of mental illness. Speaking of illness, our healthcare system ranks a pedestrian 37th in the world. More startling, millions have no access to that healthcare system at all. A 2009 study linked 45,000 deaths annually in the U.S simply to the lack of healthcare access. 2.8 million children live in households that survive on less than $2 a day- an amount the World Bank defines poverty at for developing nations, as in third world.
Behind all these facts and figures are stories of real human suffering. Indeed, these statistics represent where we are as a country. They represent real people struggling to find adequate housing. They represent mothers in crises trying to provide for their children's basic necessities. They represent hurting people crying out for relief and healing. Yet the evangelical church is silent about these issues. There is no answer from them, neither are they raising questions. The discourse publicly is merely about gay marriage, abortion and whether our politicians display enough outward piety, even if it never translates into their public policy. 26% of the population, large enough to force the agenda on these issues, does nothing. They are seemingly not concerned about these conditions, nor the people suffering under them.
While evangelicals do nothing about the hurts of the nation, others step up. We live in a nation where over 3 million experience homelessness in a given year, yet the majority of housing and homelessness assistance programs are run by secular nonprofits, not churches. When the nation seeks answers to the pressing social issues of the day, Washington think tanks step up, not prophetic voices from the evangelical church. Those voices seem curiously silent on anything that actually impacts hurting people, especially those of a darker hue. Indeed it was the conservative evangelicals that gave thunderous applause to Rick Perry's record of executing prisoners during the Republican debates last year.
Some estimates put the number of evangelicals in America close to 100 million. In comparison, the Boston Tea Party which helped launched the American Revolution was carried out perhaps by 100 men. The point is the evangelical church doesn't lack the manpower to confront the nation's crises. The evangelical church reads a Bible that indicates they should be taking on the problems of the nation- the real problems- yet they don't. As they scream about gays, abortion and a host of matters completely unrelated to real human suffering in America, I hear the lyrics of Ludacris: "So all that bullshit you yappin is irrelevant."