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The Real Christians Stand Up

By Jim Lane

DALLAS -- On Good Friday, April 6, faith-based activists from the Christian Progressive Alliance twice marched the length and width of downtown Dallas. They were giving testimony to their belief of the true meaning of the life and death of Jesus Christ. Their signs spoke of poverty, of peace, of the pains of racism, and of the need to love one another. Most of the wording on their placards came directly from the New Testament.

Dallas, like most of America, is torn apart over religion. Members of the marching group contrasted their understanding of Jesus Christ with the right-wing interpretation presently being used to justify homophobia, invasion and occupation of foreign lands, anti-immigrant hatred, the oppression of women, and the other ills that beset our country. Their Jesus, theology professor Joerg Rieger explained at one of the stops, was the one who opposed the Roman occupation of Israel. Their Jesus was the one who was willing to stand up against oppression, no matter how dangerous.

The group of 40 gathered at The Stewpot, where the First Presbyterian Church has offered free meals to the homeless for decades. They marched silently and in single file to the other side of downtown, then back to the center, then to the area's furthest extremity. There, they joined with a group of prayerful immigrants to go to the other two extreme corners. At each stop, a pre-designated speaker gave reflections of their faith in the context of today's situation in America.

Although their march was long, they did not complain. Neither did they talk very much, but they were smiling and confident of the truths they were demonstrating. They had faith.

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