Brace yourselves.  This is quite a doozy.  I can’t even begin to tell you what kind of a ruckus I caused at lunch when I read this column from an African American, nationally syndicated writer in today’s print edition of the Dallas Morning News.

Star Parker tells us that Rick Warren’s faith forum was a bad idea because we shouldn’t be mixing faith and politics.

We have institutions for civic and political forums – the press, universities, town halls, etc. If they’re not delivering well, let the marketplace work to improve what we’re getting. But this is not the job of pastors or churches. If it is, where do we go to learn about good and evil?

What exactly is going on in America when our obsession is to cleanse every inch of public space from religion, yet somehow we think it is appropriate to bring a presidential political forum into church?

Our world is turning upside down. Rather than raising our public and private lives to a higher moral standard, we’re politicizing religion. It’s actually worse, I think.

The pretense of neutrality is really a left-wing illusion. It’s a sleight of hand to buy into relativism and somehow Mr. Warren seems to have fallen into the trap.

There’s more …I’m not quite sure what to say about this mind-blowing observation.  “The pretense of neutrality” is a “left-wing illusion?”  Really?

Let’s forget for just a moment that the right wing and the Republican party still hold a death grip on evangelical Christians.  The best is still to come.

When a pastor hosts a political candidate who has a 100 percent rating by NARAL Pro-Choice America and a zero percent rating by the National Right to Life Committee, he gives legitimacy to that candidate. When legitimacy is given to a line of reasoning that says that poverty and AIDS are symptoms of anything other than moral breakdown, the relativist views of the left are justified.

To a disproportionate measure, when we are talking about poverty and AIDS in America, we are talking about black communities. These communities are in disarray because of moral ambiguity. They not only need moral clarity and leadership, they crave it.

That’s right kiddos.  You’re HIV positive and are impoverished because you have no sense of moral direction.  Maybe if we all prayed a little harder, we could wish it all away.  Believing that African Americans are disproportionately affected by poverty and HIV because of anything beside moral clarity isn’t being left-wing, Ms. Parker.  It’s called being rational and grounded.  Black Americans have been discriminated against historically and systemically, including (and perhaps especially) in the areas of public health and welfare.

And have I any need to list the number of aggressively politicized pastors who have been hell-bent on promoting exclusively conservative politics?

We need political leaders who are more moral, not church leaders who are more political.

Amen, sister.

For anyone to assert that Barack Obama isn’t making a bold and unprecedented attempt to reach out to black communities in ways that haven’t been tried before is missing the forest for the trees.