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Friday, November 17, 2017

Religious Prejudice in High Places

Religious Prejudice in High Places
In the recent hearing for now-confirmed Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California) pointedly told Barrett that "the [Catholic] dogma lives loudly within you." This was after Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) asked her if Barrett was an "orthodox Catholic." We saw this sort of prejudiced exhibited by Bernie Sanders a few months earlier. It's becoming increasingly clear that some of our nation's leaders think it's incompatible to hold strong religious views and serve one's country in a variety of capacities. This is an odd moment, considering that for the first couple hundred years of our democracy, the assumption was one could not be a good public servant if one didn't have some religious beliefs.

In any case, we're probably going to have to increasingly argue, and demonstrate, that we Christians can hold to our beliefs and love our neighbors with justice and fairness. And this article about John Wesley's views on the matter is a nice historical reminder that this isn't a new idea.
Uncle Sam Wants Corporate Patriots
President Trump's campaign to keep jobs in America is often criticized as "nationalistic," but this article from National Affairs reminds us that the problem may not be Trump's campaign as much as this reality:
The patriotic commitment of America's great corporations has dramatically declined in recent decades. And that decline represents a betrayal of the social contract and the logic that underlies the corporate form itself.
As usual, it's not an either/or, as in, either corporations are responsible to stockholders or they are responsible to their communities and nations. But as the piece suggests, many corporations have forgotten about one part of that balance.
Love-Hate Relationship with War
I found this piece about war fascinating, and true to life after I thought about it. The author wrestles with his own reaction to war:
I wrestled for weeks with the fact that I had loved the war as deeply as I'd hated it. A part of me, and no small part, either, had proven vulnerable to the lurid excitement of violence. Jumping into a hot landing zone, leading my platoon under fire produced an intoxication no drug could match. Having been raised a good Catholic boy, I knew I wasn't supposed to have had those feelings; yet I had.
Whatever Happened to Woman?
This piece by Brendan O'Neill is earnest by one degree too much to my mind; I'm not sure if the direction that language is taking here—as the article title puts it, "The word 'woman' is being erased from public life"—strikes me as mostly funny, as we seek to jump through verbal hoops to avoid saying something politically incorrect. O'Neill uses examples from his homeland, Britain:
Yesterday the Sunday Times reported that in its submission on proposed amendments to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Foreign Office suggested the term 'pregnant women' might be offensive to 'transgender people who have given birth'. The covenant, a UN treaty, says society must protect 'pregnant women' and never subject them to the death penalty. The Foreign Office wondered if 'pregnant people' might be a preferable term, to avoid offending the infinitesimally small number of women who identify as men who have given birth ….
Mortified at the media stink over its 'pregnant people' stance, the government has today come out to say it doesn't actually have a problem with the phrase 'pregnant women'. A spokesperson for Theresa May has clarified that 'pregnant women' is an 'acceptable term'. Sorry, but when the seat of power must make clear to the populace that it is okay to say 'pregnant women', you know the plot has been lost; you know common sense, the very tool of language itself, is in crisis.
Here's the thing, possibly the uncomfortable thing, but the thing nonetheless: if you are pregnant, you are a woman. Biologically, physically, factually.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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