Religious leaders, in churches, synagogues and mosques, at best voice pious and empty platitudes about justice or carry out nominal acts of charity aimed at those bearing the weight of resistance in the streets.
If Hedges wants to criticize those who aren’t doing the work they should be doing, fine. But he need not disparage those who have given their careers, their freedom, and their lives for a passionate belief in justice.
Not that Chris Hedges needs the likes of me leaping to his defense, but if you read the cited article, much of the focus is on the efforts of a retired Episcopal Bishop. And his broadside is directed at “nearly all” as the original quote clipped off this sentence:
Packard’s moral and intellectual courage stands in stark contrast with the timidity of nearly all clergy and congregants in all of our major religious institutions.
And from my reading of Hedges, he is well aware of the courageous feats of Romero, Martin Luther King, and other religious leaders that have given their careers, lives and freedom for justice. But I think it is correct to cast most of the “American church leaders” in the light Hedges has cast. The churches that Martin Luther King and your former pastor led are not representative of the typical 21st century church leader — those churches are emptying and dying, whereas the megachurch model and its moralistic therapeutic deism has gripped most American Christians.