Archive for the ‘Church & Culture’ Category

The religion of America is America

August 15, 2017

Roberto has now lived in Canada for 5 decades. He grew up in New York state and came to St.Michael’s College in Toronto. He does a lot of ruminating such as below.

I always enjoy reading these essays from Commonweal.  The true religion of America…the American civil religion…has yet again been exposed for the Calvinist heresy that it is.

F. Scott Fitzgerald nailed it 100 years ago.  I understood “Americanism” at age 10 when my Presbyterian, Masonic grandfather and uncles touted the deadly myths of exceptionalism and worth gauged by success.

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I will also never forget the real message of the country that I learned when my good friends from St Michael’s who did everything that they could to bring their kids up Catholic, thinking that they would please the wealthy Catholic parents from New York, only to discover that what really mattered beneath it all was status, wealth and high position.  They were shocked, but I realized in a flash the familiar story of my youth…the essence of the American culture always comes back to Calvinism, the elect distinguished by and known through their wealth. 

 

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The contemporary demise of Catholicism in capitulating to this heresy is just awful to behold!

 

I regard myself as so fortunate to number among my friends a remnant of Catholic critics who continue to hold out against this soul destroying culture.

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That so many Catholics have fallen for Ayn Rand, militarism and the like.  Just pathetic!

 

Most days I feel like I did as a kid with his crystal radio listening to a faraway station as the signal comes and goes.  Catholicism feels like that to me now.  Sometimes the music coming in loud and clear and others times fading out with static and eerie warped noises.  Or sometimes even slipping off into dead silence!

Magical thinking and Christian Right

August 11, 2017

Chris Hedges on Truthdig unpacks the magical thinking of many evangelicals.

 

I once asked a prominent joutrnalist if he ever heard of The Late Great Planet Earth, the best selling religious book in US history. He was clueless. This piece of magical thinking and crude phantasmagoria and its follow up The Left behind series is classic magiacla thinking and a horrible manifesdtation of Christianity.

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Tens of millions of Americans are already hermetically sealed within this bizarre worldview. They are given a steady diet of conspiracy theories and lies on the internet, in their churches, in Christian schools and colleges and on Christian television and radio. Elizabeth Dilling, who wrote “The Red Network” and was a Nazi sympathizer, is required reading. Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, is ignored. This Christian propaganda hails the “significant contributions” of the Confederacy. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led the anti-communist witch hunts in the 1950s, is rehabilitated as an American hero. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, is defined as part of the worldwide battle against satanic Islamic terror. Presently, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. public believes in Creationism or “Intelligent Design.” And nearly a third of the population, 94 million people, consider themselves evangelical.

 

Those who remain in a reality-based universe often dismiss these malcontents as buffoons. They do not take seriously the huge segment of the public, mostly white and working class, who because of economic distress have primal yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral renewal and are easily seduced by magical thinking. These are the yearnings and emotions Trump has exploited politically.

 

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Those who embrace this movement need to feel, even if they are not, that they are victims surrounded by dark and sinister groups bent on their destruction. They need to elevate themselves to the role of holy warriors, infused with a noble calling and purpose. They need to sanctify the rage and hypermasculinity that are the core of fascism. The rigidity and simplicity of their belief, which includes being anointed for a special purpose in life by God, are potent weapons in the fight against their own demons and desire for meaning.
“Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty,” Simone Weil wrote.

 

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These believers, like all fascists, detest the reality-based world. They condemn it as contaminated, decayed and immoral. This world took their jobs. It destroyed their future. It ruined their communities. It doomed their children. It flooded their lives with alcohol, opioids, pornography, sexual abuse, jail sentences, domestic violence, deprivation and despair. And then, from the depths of suicidal despair, they suddenly discovered that God has a plan for them. God will save them. God will intervene in their lives to promote and protect them. God has called them to carry out his holy mission in the world and to be rich, powerful and happy.

 

The rational, secular forces, those that speak in the language of fact and evidence, are hated and feared, for they seek to pull believers back into “the culture of death” that nearly destroyed them. The magical belief system, as it was for impoverished German workers who flocked to the Nazi Party, is an emotional life raft. It is all that supports them. The only way to blunt this movement is to reintegrate these people into the economy, to give them economic stability through good wages and benefits, to restore their self-esteem. They need to live in a society that is not predatory but instead provides well-funded public schools, free university education and universal health care, a society in which they and their families can prosper.

 

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Time is running out. If we do not act, American fascists, clutching Christian crosses, waving American flags and orchestrating mass recitations of the pledge of allegiance, united behind the ludicrous figure of Donald Trump, will ride this rage to power.

Mike Pence, great leader

July 20, 2017

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WASHINGTONVice President Mike Pence told evangelical supporters of Israel that God had a hand in creating the state of Israel and that his support for the country is rooted in his faith.

So reports Religion News Service.

One wonders what kind of faith this is.

“Indeed, though Israel was built by human hands it is impossible not to sense that just beneath its history lies the hand of heaven,” Pence told the annual summit of Christians United for Israel on July 17. The group, founded by San Antonio pastor John Hagee, bills itself as the largest pro-Israel organization in the U.S. It is composed largely of evangelicals and Christian Zionists

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Ridiculed by bible scholars everywhere they believe that Jews will be ingathered in Israel and then….

 

In his book The End of Days, Gershom Gorenberg says “The Jews die or convert. As a Jew, I can’t feel very comfortable with the affections of somebody who looks forward to that scenario…..They don’t love real Jewish people. They love us as characters in their story, in their play, and that’s not who we are, and we never auditioned for that part, and the play is not one that ends up good for us. If you listen to the drama they’re describing, essentially it’s a five-act play in which the Jews disappear in the fourth act.”
Bad theology begets bad practice

 

Pence has had a long history of Christian jihad as the Intercept described his bizarre career.

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He has never wavered in his commitment to America-First militarism, the criminalizing of abortion, and utter hatred for gay people (unless they go into conversion therapy “to change their sexual behavior,” which Pence has suggested the government pay for).Pence has been at the forefront of the movement to defund Planned Parenthood.

 

Pence has an impressively atrocious record on environmental issues and a slavish devotion to big energy and big oil companies.

Forget all this. God somehow is behind Israel’s success.It can never be criticized. It has divine protection. The Palestinians, either nowhere to be seen or all terrorists.

Mike Pence, great American—and now mum on his fundamentalist Christianity.

 

No investment in Israeli apartheid

July 16, 2017

Global Church body with 80 million members takes action supporting Palestine, calls for examination of investments

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(Palestinian pastor,  Reverend Mitri Raheb from Bethlehem speaking at WCRC)

14 July 2017 | https://tinyurl.com/ycdach4r

The General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), representing over 80 million Christians, has called on its members and member churches to take action in support of the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation and oppression (click here).

The WCRC held its 26th General Council this past week in Leipzig (Germany) where, among other speakers were BDS South Africa’s Chairperson, Professor Farid Esack as well as a leading Palestinian theologian and pastor from the holy town of Bethlehem in Palestine, Reverend Mitri Raheb (click here). The General Council, the highest decision-making body of the WCRC, stated that “many of us have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears the painful realities of life for Palestinians…with respect to the situation of injustice and suffering that exists in Palestine, and the cry of the Palestinian Christian community, the integrity of Christian faith and praxis is at stake.”

Among other measures, the WCRC has urged its more than 225 member churches worldwide to examine their investment relationships and to disseminate to members educational materials on the Palestinian situation. The WCRC also cautioned that the Christian faith should not be used to justify the injustice against the Palestinian people and rejected any use of the Bible “to legitimize or support political options and positions that are based upon injustice, imposed by one person on another, or by one people on another.”

The WCRC General Council also instructed its Executive Committee to respond to the letter of 21 June 2017 from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) indicating what actions can be taken by the WCRC in response to the Palestinian Christians’s cry for “costly solidarity”.

Last month, on the 21st of June, Palestinian Christians belonging to the NCCOP wrote an open letter to churches worldwide calling for “costly solidarity” and support of the BDS boycott of Israel. The Palestinian Christians wrote: “[We call on you to] call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law […] we need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians […] we ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and that you support athletic, cultural, and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions […] in response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measure.” (Click here for the NCCOP letter)

The WCRC represents over 80 million Christians in Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches in over 100 countries. South African churches belonging to the WCRC include the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC)/Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK), Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Africa, Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika/ Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA)/(NGKA), Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, and the Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ.

The South African Christian theological organization, Karios Southern Africa, has welcomed the WCRC action in support of Palestine saying: “We celebrate the WCRC’s unique voice in the growing chorus of Christian communities in ending “shallow church diplomacy“. It is our prayer and hope that this ecumenical family will thereby actively add your unique presence towards a just peace in Palestine/Israel. We look forward to seeing the fruits of these resolutions. We therefore pray for wisdom and courage in implementing them as stewards of moral consistency…we and many others are with you on this journey.” (Click here for the Kairos SA message of support).

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA

The indispensable Heaps

June 11, 2017

A beautiful sunny day in midtown Toronto,right off the Kensington market and here we were happily celebrating the extraordinary Christian lives of Dan and Alice Heap.

Kudos to Heritage Toronto to have the brains and talent to marshall this one through.

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The Heap home at 29 Wales was indeed a boiler room for progressive causes of all kinds. And make no mistake about it. You could not talk about the Heaps without acknowledging their formidable partnership.The plaque unveiled was a helluva précis on the couples’ life.it touched all the basesHousing, Co-ops, Social Justice activity of all kinds.Heritage Toronto as a secular institution focussed on their trade union advocacy,community organizing, socialism ant anti-war activity.

 

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For those of us who knew them, they were fired by the gospel of liberative social justice. Both were grads of the Student Christian Movement then an almost totally Protestant organization one which produced so many great Canadian Christian activists, largely United Church and Anglican.Two of the more notable ones, though there were dozens i could name, were Anglican primate Ted Scott and United Church Moderator Lois Wilson. Both Alice and Dan were longtime parishioners at Holy Trinity the dynamic Anglican parish nestled next to the belly of the beast, that shrine to consumerism, Eaton Centre.I was privileged  to be present there at Dan’s final eucharist just before his mind would be enveloped by darkness.
Dan was elected three times in the 80s as the NDP member from Spadina. Once I called him late at night in Ottawa  when that apostle for peace Phil Berrigan was held in the West Detention Centre barred from entering Canada. One call to Dan and the nervous feds let him in. What a strange country this is sometimes —no problem welcoming war criminals like Henry Kissinger in but keeping out for gospel proponents of peace.
One could not think while listening to son David Heap’s welcoming remarks about the latest government misstep giving $60 billion to Defense as social housing goes begging.
The following story from the Toronto Star (October 19, 2011) tells of my own initial meeting with this extraordinary Christian in the mid 70’s.

 

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Ted Schmidt with some of his students at Neil McNeil Catholic High School, circa 1981.

Heap’s legacy: Life lessons off the basketball court
By LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN Social Justice Reporter

Former alderman Dan Heap inspired a coach to cancel practice and take the team to a rally for exploited grape workers.

 

Ted Schmidt with some of his students at Neil McNeil Catholic High School, circa 1981. Schmidt’s understanding of Christian social justice, which he tried to transmit to students, was inspired and shaped by Dan Heap’s example.

 

On Saturday, the Star published a story about former MP Dan Heap and the obstacles his family faced trying to get him suitable care. Since it appeared, we have been overwhelmed with anecdotes about how Heap touched readers’ lives. Each day this week, we’re featuring one of them. Today, former Toronto high school teacher Ted Schmidt.

Dan Heap brought his passion for social justice to Toronto city hall as an alderman from 1972 to 1981, where he connected local residents to global issues such as the plight of Mexican grape workers in California.

Ted Schmidt, a former religion teacher and basketball coach at Neil McNeil Catholic High School, was one of many who heard Heap’s call to action one day in 1974.

Cesar Chavez spoke for the exploited workers in California and Heap, who was holding a rally for the cause in Nathan Phillips Square, was their voice in Toronto, Schmidt recalls.

“I called off practice that day. . . I told my players that we had bigger fish to fry. People were in trouble and needed our help,” he says.

Schmidt, who grew up in Spadina, the riding Heap later represented in Parliament from 1981 to 1993, had never met Heap, an Anglican priest and former factory worker. But he was impressed by Heap’s “brave public witness.”

“I well remembered the then clean-shaven Heap picketing his own Anglican Church House at the height of the Vietnam War in 1966,” Schmidt says. “He was demanding that the church who spoke in the name of Jesus speak louder on behalf of the pulverized civilians of Vietnam.”

When Schmidt brought his basketball team to the rally, he introduced himself to Heap and told him how much he admired his defence of the voiceless.

Here was a city councillor who was the incarnation of all the values we teach as a Catholic high school. It was important for my students to see that,” says Schmidt, 72, and now editor of the New Catholic Times, a bi-weekly online newsletter for social justice.
Over the years, Schmidt became friends with Heap and his wife, Alice. Later, when Schmidt was teaching courses to Catholic teachers, he invited Heap to speak to them about the role of the Christian in society.

“I had no real mentors in the 1960s in the public sphere,” he says. “Dan was the first.”
Watching this lovely event evolve and scanning the crowd I could not help but think how almost irrelevant the local Catholic church has become in the social sphere. As the glow of the great Council fades, we will find so few prelates engaged in the struggle for a more just world. There will be Christmas baskets and parish centred picnics but from the top down there will be little deep civic engagement and virtually little ecclesial leadership in the great social causes of our world.

 
In time the church will grow smaller and probably lay led. Inevitably there will be great people like Dan and Alice rise up. There will always be gospel dreamers singing, as we did on Saturday, that great 60s anthem:

 

Last night I had the strangest dream i ever had before
I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war

Bertolt Brecht could easily been thinking of Dan and Alice when he penned these lines in The Mother(1930)

There are those who struggle for a day and they are good.
There are those who struggle for a year and they are better.
There are those who struggle many years, and they are better still.
But there are those who struggle all their lives: these are the indispensable ones.
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50 years, far too long

June 4, 2017

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First, it was  the Toronto Symphony Orchestra proving how deaf some in the arts can be. They went to israel and ignored the cultural boycott. They not only do not have the words but they do not have the right music. They went and played for apartheid.

Join us in front of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) (corner of Bloor & Queens Park, 100 Queens Park)

Monday, June 5, 2017
at 5:30 PM (until approximately 7 PM)

The Jerusalem Foundation of Canada is holding a gala at the ROM with the Mayor of Jerusalem to celebrate 50 years of military occupation of the Palestinian Territory of East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

 
As we remember June 5, 1967 and the beginning of the Six Day War Join us & let Toronto know our message is

“Don’t celebrate occupation, Jerusalem is a City for All” Invite israel to stop being a pariah nation. It could be such a great country, a true democracy where each person gets the vote.

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50 years of military occupation in the Palestinian territory.

Help bring israel to its senses…and wake the Royal Ontario Museum up from its ethical slumber.

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Nappy wisdom

May 5, 2017

In 2015 there was a Synod on the Family and Cardinal Walter Kasper had to remind “the faithful” that they should not think, that everything could be decided by cardinals and bishops. All those who will participate in the consistory will be celibates, after all. But most of the faithful lived out their faith in families. Families often faced difficult situations that celibates must try to understand.  Lay people have “something to say to us,” Kasper insisted.

No kidding. Theoretically we have a church of equals, basically a lay church served by clerics and the good cardinal had to remind the baptized of this salient fact.

At this time I recall the salty (honest) former president of Ireland Mary McAleese making a few wise cracks. She knew her stuff and had been studying canon law in Rome and at that time was interviewed in Dublin.

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McAleese averred that here was something “profoundly wrong and skewed” in looking to a synod of bishops to rule on Catholic teaching about family life.

“The very idea of a hundred and fifty people who have decided they are not going to have any children, not going to have families, not going to be fathers and not going to be spouses—so they have no experience of family life as the rest of us know it—but they are going to advise the pope on family life, it is completely bonkers.”

She had replied to the worldwide survey of Catholic opinion with a question of her own for Francis: “How many of the men who will gather to advise you as pope on the family have ever changed a baby’s nappy?”

Resistance and the prophetic

April 26, 2017

Ben Ehrenreich is proof-positive that the prophetic never dies. More on this later.

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Ehrenreich is an American writer with a Jewish past who for 3 three years has been travelling in the West Bank staying with Palestinian families in both urban centres and small villages. his book The Way to the Spring will give you a taste of his work.

Here he tells stories which never make it into our papers but are grassroots snapshots of the ugly apartheid lives of ordinary Palestinians. These are the stories that Christian Zionists will never hear nor tribal Jews of the disapora who out of misguided loyalty defend everything that Israel does. Many of the latter have no truck with the majestic religion of Judaism but are cultural Jews seeking some kind of transcendent meaning so they reflexively support, many with huge bucks, the “Jewish” state. This type of support (of brutal occupation and pervasive cruelty) mocks the Covenant and betrays authentic universal values of Judaism.

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Ehrenreich like many Jews of conscience actually does something about the situation.He lives with the oppressed and tells their stories to people for whatever reason, (largely ideological) who refuse to believe him.

Recently on his blog (http://benehrenreich.net) this was part of a longer tale:
The Persian historian Atâ-Malek Juvaini’s History of a World Conqueror.

Eight years after the sacking of Bukhara, writes Juvaini, “a sieve maker of Tārāb in the district of Bukhara rose up in rebellion in the dress of the people of rags, and the common people rallied to his standard.” Juvaini, who had ingratiated himself in the Mongol court, describes the rebel leader with undisguised contempt.

Still, we learn from him that the poor came to Mahmud the sieve maker of Tārāb as they once did to Jesus of Galilee: to heal the sick and the paralyzed, to restore sight to the blind. He was said to converse with jinns, or spirits, who, “informed him of what was hidden.” When Mahmud the sieve maker of Tārāb entered the city of Bukhara, the alleys of the market were so crowded with people eager for his blessing that “there was not even room for a cat to pass.”

He had in mind a more holistic sort of healing, and instructed the poor to arm themselves with whatever weapons they could find. “My army is partly visible, consisting of men,” he announced, “and partly invisible, consisting of the heavenly hosts, which fly in the air, and of the tribe of the jinns, which walk on the earth.” And so the poor of Bukhara soon took the town and plundered the houses of the wealthy.

I would imagine that his point was imply to say that people inherently will rise up and challenge oppression. They simply will not accept dehumanization. Jews did in so many ways and more actively in the Warsaw uprising. So Palestinians refuse to accept their simply awful , perduring humiliation. Their resistance is perfectly understandable and legal.

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United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:

Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;” (3)

This justification for legitimate armed resistance has been specifically applied to the Palestinian struggle repeatedly. To quote General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3246 (XXIX) of 29 November 1974:

Reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation form colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle; …

7. Strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people; (4)

Whereas I do not accept some of the implied violence of Mahmoud I am fascinated by his  statement:

My army is partly visible, consisting of men,” he announced, “and partly invisible, consisting of the heavenly hosts, which fly in the air, and of the tribe of the jinns, which walk on the earth.

This hints of the prophetic, of unseen powers which I will address tomorrow,

Bill O’Reilly and Cardinal Dolan

April 23, 2017

What a bracing combo, Rupert Murdoch and Bill O’Reilly.

Fox news (Faux News) the rightwing drum beat with angry white men contorting the truth on a regular basis, paid O’Reilly $29 mill a year to spew his venom and insult progressives of all stripes, berate them, interrupt them etc. O’Reilly even had the temerity to lecture the Pope on immigration.

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There is something seriously wrong with a system which pays a blowhard like this so much money. Even with all this excessive lucre O’Reilly still wanted  to be seen with Pope Francis. And his wish was granted—the same day he was fired by Fox for his tom-catting.

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Meanwhile back home female writers have had a field day at O’Reilly’s expense, ripping the reactionary bloviator a new one. One female columnist wrote, “I hope the Pope  washed his hands after shaking O’Reilly’s. Not bad.

Now one wonders why the pope would meet with a guy like O’Reilly whose social views mock Catholic social teaching.

Here’s the answer.

The weekly Papal audience is a large event open to the public, with tens of thousands of the faithful filling the square. The special section beside the stage holding the papal throne, where Mr. O’Reilly sat, is exclusive and can be entered only with special tickets.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, wrote to the Vatican several months ago requesting tickets for Mr. O’Reilly and his family, according to Joe Zwilling, a spokesman for Cardinal Dolan.

That’s just the episcopal leadership we’ve been subject to for far too long.

And you wonder why the church in the USA is in free fall

Capitalism and Catholicism, a toxic brew.

Catholicism corrupted

March 10, 2017

All night on March 8, the US House of Representatives organized itself into committees to look at this shocking betrayal of American citizens and their right to decent health care. The richest (and most religious or is that irreligious) country in the world is still a dinosaur of a nation in this regard. The staggering war-making machine which dwarfs the seven next countries in bloated kill power has just been bumped another 10% by Trump…and all the while health care for all citizens is being jettisoned.

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On One of the committees the House Energy and Commerce Committee sits Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, son of Congressman Joe, grandson of Senator Robert F., and grand-nephew of President John F. and Senator Edward M. It seems that young Kennedy has not forgotten his basic catechism lessons

Kennedy verbally took on Wisconsin Republican house leader  Paul Ryan

“I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill ‘an act of mercy.’ With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture…The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick. It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but by how we care for the least among us. There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury. There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill. This is not an act of mercy. It is an act of malice.”

I wrote this 4 years ago but it apparently bears repeating:

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

William Butler Yeats : The Second Coming

Nothing bespeaks the devolution of contemporary Catholicism and the abandonment of the Vatican ll vision as the announcement of Paul Ryan as Vice-Presidential Republican candidate.

One hardly knows where to start when analyzing the shocking use of “my Catholic faith” in describing Ryan’s bizarre gospel worldview.

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Of course Ryan begins with his conservative cred—-his pro life stance—-meaning anti-abortion (a fight which will never be won given the polarization in the US), so it’s safe to be “pro life”—and vote for war budgets at every chance.
In April, Ryan was taken to the woodshed when he dared use Catholic Social Teaching, in particularly subsidiarity, as the basis of his budget proposal. 50 Catholic theologians and leaders blasted his proposals out of the water.

“Simply put, this budget is morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good. A budget that turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few can’t be justified in Christian terms,” argue the signatories.

Give Ryan credit, he is not short of chutzpah. He then marched over to Georgetown, the Jesuit university to defend the indefensible. Here he was met by a petition of 90 faculty members and administrators basically telling him he was totally out to lunch. They asked Ryan to justify  cuts to social programs which benefit the poor and no cuts to the shocking bloated military budget

Former America editor  Jesuit Fr.Tom  Reese, one of the organizers of the letter bluntly stated . “This is nonsense. As scholars, we want to join the Catholic bishops in pointing out that his budget has a devastating impact on programs for the poor.”

You can bet Ryan never heard of America a well-respected Jesuit magazine.

But he sure loves Ayn Rand, the high priestess of capitalism. Here are a few choice bons mots of Ryan on his literary heroine:

•    “I just want to speak to you a little bit about Ayn Rand and what she meant to me in my life and [in] the fight we’re engaged here in Congress. I grew up on Ayn Rand, that’s what I tell people.”

•    “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are.”

•    “It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff. We start with Atlas Shrugged. People tell me I need to start with The Fountainhead then go to Atlas Shrugged [laughter]. There’s a big debate about that. We go to Fountainhead, but then we move on, and we require Mises and Hayek as well.”

•    “But the reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”•

“It’s so important that we go back to our roots to look at Ayn Rand’s vision, her writings, to see what our girding, under-grounding [sic] principles are.”
•    “Because there is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works.”