There was a rather striking article today in Christianity Today. The general tenor of the article is this: the city of Detroit is a horribly messed up “Fallen Empire” BUT some Christians are going to bravely stick it out there “hoping better days are coming.” It is the kind of pathetic and naïve thing you hear far too often from certain segments of Christendom.
The article seems to have been written before the announcement that Detroit had declared bankruptcy – at least I could detect not even a mention of that ironic fact in the article.
The author, reflecting the attitudes of the many “hang in there” types trying to “renew” Detroit interviewed in the article, does something now found in a whole genre of Christian periodical writing. The horrible conditions of Detroit are recounted, but the ultimate reasons behind those conditions are carefully avoided.
Living in Detroit is surely now a most unpleasant experience: rampant crime, poverty, and social and economic decay are the current norm. As the article points out, many thousands of Detroit residents have fled those conditions, as any sane person who could would.
But no mention is made of the policies of governments at many levels that made the current condition of Detroit nearly inevitable. Policy makers who were either very stupid or morally bankrupt both inside Michigan and Detroit and in our imperial D.C. insisted on all sorts of bad policies that funneled Detroit down the path to its current condition. That condition was both predictable and predicted by many.
Christians can sit around Detroit rehabbing old houses and trying to attract new, small businesses with “sustainability” as long as they wish. It is perhaps noble effort, and will no doubt help a few people in the short term. But Detroit will remain a relative ghost town as long as the ideology that insists on policies that lead to social and economic decay remains the rule in Detroit.
Hope all you want, but that hope will be in vain as long as the bad ideas that make Detroit what it is live on there.