Moyers on Coffin on Socialism

I often wish that American evangelicals would be less comfortable with American capitalism.  I don’t mean that we should completely reject a system that provides a high standard of living to Americans (even to many of the poor, by global and historical standards) and also respects the freedom of the individual in many ways.  But the materialism and environmental degradation (and, sometimes, exploitation of the vulnerable) that accompany American capitalism should be enough to balance our enthusiasm a bit, in my opinion.

So anyway, while I disagree with theological liberals on many important things, I do appreciate their commitment to social justice, while wishing that they would treat the other aspects of the Bible with as much seriousness.  One of the prominent Protestant liberals of the 20th century was William Sloan Coffin, and I kind of liked Bill Moyers’ paraphrase (or perhaps quote) of Coffin’s perspective on socialism:

The late social activist and preacher William Sloane Coffin said on my show some years ago that we have to keep pressing the socialist questions because they are questions of justice, but that we should be dubious about the socialist answers, because while the Biblical prophets may call for justice to roll down as mighty waters, figuring out the irrigation system is [d—d] hard.

UPDATE: I added a few words to the last sentence of the first paragraph to make my contrast more apparent.


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