I have had a rather conflicted relationships with the Pharisees and how that group of people in history have been used
When I became a Catholic the term Pharisees was often linked to the Catholic Church ( rules ritual religion bad ) vs other " true " Christianity ( relationship no religion , no rules /no laws good ).
Later at times the use of Pharisees seems to be popular in a perverted way of getting rid of some sins. The hypocrisy label goes away if we can take x out of the sin discussion .
Related to that is in both secular and Christian circles throwing out the Pharisees label is the ultimate attempt at a discussion stopper. On heated but important issues that Christians must engage in the Pharisees too often seem to be thrown out there as a trump card and not to illuminate.
Finally I can't help but notice that a good many people that relish putting that term on other people are well kinda of jerks.
With all that being said it seemed at the times the Pharisees were getting a bad rap and from my Bible reading perhaps their reputation was not entirely correct. In other words there perhaps was some cultural baggage I was bringing into all this. That is why I have some interest in what this Messianic Jew posted not too long ago. See his post PHARISEES and a follow up at WHY PHARISEES MATTER .
Now I am not interested in getting into all the replacement Theology, supersessionism etc issues. However I am interested in the historical background as to the truth of the Pharisees in the Biblical age . I think that helps illuminates some of the scriptures perhaps.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
I have had a rather conflicted relationships with the Pharisees and how that group of people in history have been used
I have been very busy the last week so I am doing some catching up. Part of that is seeing what Rod Dreher has been saying .
He had a post that was prompted by a death in his town, See Southern Episcopalians . I thought it was nice post but it seems the very diverse League of the Offended and or / Complaining appear in the comment section and poor Rod is catching it from all sides.
In the comments Rod says:
[NFR: I don't really have anything insightful to say here, Will, other than that it has always seemed to me that Episcopalian men seem to be the sort that looks comfortable wearing seersucker suits. Not sure what that means, but I've observed it. I see in Southern Episcopalians the same kind of upper-middle and upper class style as you associate with old-school Yankee Episcopalians, but down South that often comes with a patrician awareness of history, especially family history. It's not all Episcopalians, of course, but I'm impressed by how much I have come to associate the essence of certain Southern places with Episcopalians. As you know, I did not grow up Episcopalian, but when I think of my own parish, I think of Episcopalianism as the essence of the place. This is not because most people here are Episcopalians, but, I think, because for better or for worse, Episcopalians are the kind of people with whom I associate old families, old places, and the cherishing of these things. It has always been startling to me to see how the Episcopal Church nationally has been on the forefront of destroying their own tradition, given what I saw from the outside of Episcopalians growing up. I suppose what I'm getting at is saying that Episcopalianism is the tribal religion of Southern patricians -- and believe me, I say that as a compliment. -- RD]
I have to agree with that. I should also add in my experience that "tribalism" they have at times translates into a pretty caring community . They do care about each other families and are there for each other it seems. I understand there are bad sides to the word tribalism. But I have to say in my interactions with the Episcopalians in the South I was always welcomed and felt genuine warmth. That might have to do with the still strong Anglican ( and Christian ) concept that everyone in a parish geographical area is in a ways their responsibility and a "member" no matter if they are Episcopalian or not. This of course translates into community life as the obit of dear ole Alice Davis Folkes " Puddin " Bankston relates.
A black Louisiana State Senator has become Republican and naturally some Democrats don't like it. That is understandable and politics is not romper room after all. That being said I was rather shocked how the Young Louisiana Democrats org took a page out of League of the South History as well as others to just throw Abraham Lincoln under the bus !
Senator Guillory’s romanticized recollection of Lincoln and the Nineteenth Century Republicans is alarming. The Republican Party, which began in 1854, only associated ‘free’ people with ‘free soil’. In other words, they were not necessarily against the institution of slavery in the South as they were against the spread of slavery in free territories.
The Republicans were anti-Slavery. John Brown was an abolitionist. And they wanted nothing to do with him. And neither did their 1860 presidential nominee, Abraham Lincoln. The dichotomy between anti-Slavery and abolitionism is primarily between eradicating slavery where it could exists, in future states and territories, as opposed to abolishing the entire institution itself. The Republicans disdain for slavery was not for moral reasons; but for political ones. The Republicans, during this time, were confined only to the North; therefore, their influence became confined to this region of the country.
Thus, their influence in Congress and in future presidential elections were horribly limited. They wanted to spread their anti-slavery influence westward. This would inevitably lead to Kansas Territory, where blood from an impromptu war would flow like water over the disputes between slavery and anti-slavery factions. And while, Senator Guillory suggests that President Lincoln is known for so-called “freeing” the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation, historians well agree, that it only freed slaves in states who were in rebellion against the Union during the US Civil War; thus, Negroes who were enslaved in the Border states such as Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri remained. Lincoln wasn’t only hellbent on discarding slavery during the Civil War, but jettisoning Negroes too. He seriously considered exporting ex-slaves to parts of Caribbean, Central Mexico, and Monrovia (West Africa).
As always history is complicated and often things that lead to such big events as the Civil War is of mixed motives. However the allegation that there were no moral reasons were at play for Republicans to oppose Slavery is just false. Further the fact that Lincoln did not seem to give a damn about slaves as is implied is very wrong.
First as to Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln actually thought he had to have a grant of power for such a grand move to do what he did in the Constitution .I know worrying about such things is rather old school , but Lincoln did not think he was a King that could just do things by decree in most cases . So he grounded this in his power as Commander in Chief and where the Confederacy was for the most part occupied by Federal Forces.
Further Lincoln had to wait for a important Federal victory to even announce this so not to be seen as desperate. As to the border states it would have done the cause to eliminate slavery little good if Lincoln had added political and military problems in border states to add to the Deep South.
The goal as to slavery from the Republican point view was to limited in place so it would die out. Needless to say as crops like Cotton depleted the ground we saw an expansion of these slave farmers to Texas and hopes of places like New Mexico. This is just one example. The issue was in part could slavery die out without a war.
To get a sense of Lincoln views one has to look at his past speeches. He was no doubt as racially enlighten in all things as a man today perhaps. However his hatred of slavery ( and the debate surrounding it ) is shown by ample evidence before his election.
For instance we can look at Lincoln's Copper Union Speech and this part.
....The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them. These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words.
Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas' new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us. I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please about slavery." But we do let them alone - have never disturbed them - so that, after all, it is what we say, which dissatisfies them.
They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we cease saying. I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions. Yet those Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn emphasis, than do all other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these Constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation. Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.
Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality - its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension - its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy.
Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this? Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States?
If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did. Neither let us be slander...
As the war progressed of course Lincoln recognized more and more perhaps the divine hand in all this violence , death, and destruction. In fact those words are at the Lincoln Memorial which are from his second Inaugural Address .
The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
This hardly seems like a man whose mind was focused on Party power, nor Northern power and profits.
Posted by James H at 6/19/2013 12:46:00 PM
I was not exactly singing Network nor Nuns on the Bus praises last year. However despite a few potential reservations about political tactics that might happen , I am all on board with their immigration reform push !.
The New Orleans Catholic newspaper has a story up on their visit.
Get Religion takes this " “news analysis,” to task today after yesterdays House Vote.
Now I get the New York Times in reality has no chance what so ever in taking a stance that any abortion or death of the unborn should be restricted.
Still something like this belongs on the Op-ed page not on the first. It also does know service to even their pro choice readers about perhaps the more complicated reality of abortion politics.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Professor Leary from CUA has a few thoughts on this at Mirrors of Justice. See The Morality of a World Without Privacy .
History's Cunning Timing Gives Rare Catholic Teaching Moment in Upcoming Four Hands Papal Encyclical Of Two Popes
I thought this was a good piece that published in an the Italian paper Corriere Della Dera the other day and has been translated here.
What the 'four-hands'
encyclical teaches us
by Vittorio Messori
June 15, 2013
Vatican officials had sought to tone down the reality - they spoke of a document that Benedict XVI had drafted in part and that Pope Francis had taken up to complete, or rather, fragments that the emeritus Pope had written that the reigning Pope has then developed to completion.
Instead, the encyclical on faith will really be 'an encyclical by four hands' [as in a piano duet, for which the Italian term 'a quattro mani' is habitually used].- just so, textually, as announced plainly by Papa Bergoglio on an official occasion - his meeting with the current Executive Council and Secretariat-General of the Bishops' Synod.
Thus, another 'first' for the Argentine Pontiff: a doctrinal document of primary importance - on faith, no less, therefore, on the very foundation of the Church. One that was ideated, thought through, and in large part written by one Pope and signed by another.
A Pope who announced on the same occasion that he would not fail to inform the addressees of his first circular letter to Christianity - that is the meaning of the word 'encyclical' - that he "received from Benedict XVI a great piece of work" that he fully shares-and found to be "a powerful text".
Of course, every Pope in the documents he issues under his name always cites his predecessors, but as citations, sources duly footnoted, certainly never as co-author. Indeed, one thinks back, with irony, to the resignation of Celestine V, who was imprisoned in some secret place by his successor Boniface VIII for fear he could inspire a schism, and whom he brought back to captivity when the old monk sought to escape.
Let us try to understand how we have come to this unprecedented situation now. Joseph Ratzinger's primary concern - as a scholar, then as cardinal, and finally as Pope - was always to turn back to the fundamentals, to recover the bases of Christianity, to offer a new apologetics appropriate to contemporary man.
And so, he planned a trilogy on the major virtues, those called 'theological' - thus, he wrote an encyclical on love and one on hope. The one on faith was to come, and he had planned to publish it by autumn of 2013, at the end of the special year that he decreed precisely to a rediscovery of the reasons why we believe the Gospel.
The work was far advanced when he came to the realization that his advancing age no longer allowed him to carry the burdens of the Pontificate on his shoulders.
Perhaps, free from the duties of the Bishop of Rome, he would have enough strength left to finish the text and publish it, 'de-classing' it from a papal encyclical to just a scholarly text, as he had done with the three volumes he wrote on the historicity of Jesus. Books that do not have magisterial value but are open to debate by experts on the topic.
It is possible that he consulted the new Pope about this, and that Francis gladly offered to use the work already done, bring it to completion, and sign it as an encyclical with his name.
This has disconcerted some eccelesial circles: The idea of a papal document with such importance and on such a decisive topic that has joint authorship has left many perplexed.
On the contrary, it is most welcome. The novelty seems precious because it can help recover a perspective that many faithful appear to have forgotten. That perspective of faith in which it is not the persona of the Pope that matters, and all that goes with it - a biography, a culture, a nationality, a personality.
What matters is the papacy, the institution desired by Christ himself with a specific task: to lead the flock, as a good shepherd, through the tempests of history, without deviating from the right course.
To the faithful, the Pope exists to be their master in faith and morals, not by advocating his own ideas, but by helping them to understand the divine will, announcing the eternal life that awaits us at the end of our earthly journey, and watching that we do not fall into the abyss of error.
That is why Popes are assured of the assistance of the Holy Spirit - to keep them from straying from the path. In his teachings, the Roman Pontiff is not 'an author' whose qualities one must admire. Indeed, he would betray his role if he said fascinating and original things that were not along the lines indicated by Scripture and Tradition. A Pope is not allowed to say "in my opinion", which is the hallmark of heresy.
Simplifying extremely, we can say that "one Pope is as good as another" in that ultimately his person does not count, but only his obedience and fidelity as an instrument of evangelical announcement.
Anecdotes about the Popes, on their daily lives, may be interesting, but they have no bearing on their mission. What really counts is the Papacy as a perennial institution that will endure until parousia - to the end of history and the second coming of Christ. An institution which, to the Catholic, is not a weight to be borne, but a gift for which we must be grateful. It does not matter whether the Pope of the moment is 'pleasing' as a person, whether we love his character or style.
Joseph Ratzinger and Jorge Bergoglio are vastly different personalities, but they cannot differ - and Heaven watches that this does not happen - when they speak of Christ and his teaching, as teachers of faith and morals.
As instruments - "a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord", as Benedict XVI called himself in his first remarks as Pope - they are in a way interchangeable. They can explain more deeply the significance of the Gospel, help it to be understood better by the men of their time, but always in the wake of Scripture and Tradition. They are not allowed to be 'creative'. They are not 'authors' but leaders, in turn led by an Other.
Precisely because of this, the idea is not at all unwelcome - but rather, it seems a precious occasion offered to us by what Hegel would call 'the cunning of history' - of a document by two Popes that reannounces the faith, which is the basis of everything.
A document by an emeritus Pontiff and a reigning one shows that Popes may be different personalities but that the perspective in which they are called to lead the Church is the same, the direction is the same. Just as their words are basically identical in re-proposing the great wager on the truth of Christianity.
And so, no one should be scandalized at a 'four-handed encyclical'.
I am not sure if the Obama was trying to make an intentional point here or not as to the policy of Catholic education in Northern Ireland. However the Catholic papers in the UK appeared to have noticed. See US president undermines Catholic schools after Vatican Prefect praised them
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Laurie Goodstein at the New York Times has the news of the failure to prosecute Pope Benedict ,now Pope Benedict Emeritus, and put him in jail. See Hague Court Declines Inquiry Into Church Abuse Cover-Up .
This of course brought by SNAP and their Advocates at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
A couple of years ago Ole Miss Law Prof Ronald J. Rychlak took a look at this at Accusing Pope Benedict SNAP’s petition to the International Criminal Court is a publicity stunt.
He said in part :
....It is also worth noting that the ICC was designed to punish the “worst of the worst” perpetrators. With respect to sexual abuse, the evidence clearly demonstrates that such crimes were committed not only within the Catholic Church, but also within other religious and civic groups and school systems, and often at rates higher than those for priest offenders. That is no excuse for any of the perpetrators, but it eliminates the ICC as a proper forum for prosecuting them or their superiors. The ICC was not intended as a court in which to prosecute countless leaders of churches, civic institutions, and schools throughout the world.
One has the sense from their press statements that SNAP activists are not bothered by such niceties as the true purpose of the ICC or its jurisdictional mandate. The attorneys representing SNAP, however, work out of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and they cannot so easily be let off the hook. Those attorneys know that their petition does not state a valid claim before the ICC, but they filed it anyway. The CCR attorneys are misusing this new and fragile instrument of international law as a political tool — in other words, they are using it in precisely the way that the ICC, at its inception, was intended to avoid.
Indeed, the filing of the petition itself was organized as a media event — the kickoff to a major “European tour,” replete with SNAP and CCR press conferences in European capitals. The CCR attorneys are not acting as lawyers; they are facilitating a publicity stunt. That is shameful behavior that brings disrepute to the legal profession and, because the petition itself is fallacious, ultimately will not advance the interests of abuse victims.
I find the attorneys’ actions particularly troubling because I worked on a case with the CCR years ago, and I considered Morty Stavis — one of the founders of the CCR and a lawyer active there from 1983 until his death in 1992 — a friend. Morty was too good a lawyer to play such games. The CCR would not be involved in something like this if Morty were still alive.......
I agree with that. I think it did NOT help SNAP's credibility to do this but to me the actions of the Lawyers that signed their names to this is the most troublesome.
If you are of the opinion that ICC should have some teeth and by consequence International law these actions did you no favors. The only one cheering such actions is perhaps the current regime of Syria and his ilk.
GREAT PICS GREAT STORY . See Former Taliban From Afghanistan Baptized at the Monastic Republic of Mount Athos
I thought Rod Dreher had a rather good column on why many conservatives view talk of " diversity " as a type of a con game.
See Diversity For Thee, But Not For Me . I think he makes a reasonable argument and one I largely agree. Rod though in responding in the comments to a commenter makes an interesting observation on another front that has been in the news. The so call Pope Francis Gay Lobby story.
[NFR: Geoff, you should realize that the Southern Baptist Convention has nothing at all to do with the Westboro Baptist Church. Why on earth do you accuse them of letting the Westboro nuts define Christianity? Second, though I appreciate very much the diversity on this blog, many people, both liberals and conservatives, have told me that this blog is a huge exception to the rule on most blogs. Most important, though, the diversity we're talking about here is workplace diversity. It has been exceptionally important in my line of work, because it is through the media lens that we come to understand the world. You would not know from reading the mainstream American press that Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were very much to the (American) left on economics. The US media narrative portrayed them as moral conservatives on sexuality (which they were), and downplayed or ignored their statements about economics and fairness. Why? I would say that this is because they chose to report on the issues that interested them. Yesterday, the front page of the NYT's website carried a story reporting Pope Francis's private observation that there is a "gay lobby" in the Vatican. I agree that that story is somewhat newsworthy, but from a Catholic point of view, his remarks about the extremes in the Catholic church was the more important observation. But the Times has an incredibly strong bias towards highlighting gay issues (as two previous public editors have written), so that's the lens through which they cover much news. This is what I mean by the lack of diversity within the media workplace -- often reporters, editors, and producers don't know what they don't know. I think most reporters make an effort to be fair, which is, I think, all you can reasonably expect of a journalist. I don't believe in affirmative action for conservatives. That said, if liberals in media management really meant what they said about diversity, they would be concerned about the lack of conservatives and religious believers in newsrooms. They don't, so they aren't. Their idea of diversity runs the gamut from A to B. I think this is true in most places, but most consequentially in the newsroom. -- RD]
I keep wondering about the details in this religious accommodation case down here in Louisiana. See When You’re a Schoolteacher Observing a Tuesday Sabbath, You’re Likely to Have Problems
I happen to be be up around 5 a.m. when this news was announced from war. His relative youth and the fact he was just made a Bishop in 2009 made this all the more shocking.
Of course in this day and age I like many others no doubt were dreading some " scandal shoe " to drop. However all signs point out that he must be having a serious health crisis. Prayers for the Bishop.
Rocco has a post on the details that we know so far as well as some background. See Amid Sudden Departure, It's Open Pueblo .
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I was researching the top Catholics things to see in in Omaha if you are going to the College World Series , and I ran across an interesting article. The Institute for Priestly Formation based in Omaha is looking at forming a priestly community . See the article here .
It appears this would be Society of apostolic life which differs somewhat from an institutes of consecrated life".
I suspect there was a great Amen from people ( folks like me ) and some grumbling by some about this Hammond Catholic Church announcement.
After much study, our ﬁnance committee has determined it would not be feasible to construct an indoor swimming pool in our church. As a result, we can now announce with certainty that those who have been arriving for Mass as if dressed for the pool need not do so. Also, we hope to keep the air conditioning cranking until well into October. So you do not need to wear shorts, tube‐tops, spaghetti straps, camis, or mini shirts to Mass.
However some disagree . See Casual Dress and the Body of Christ: A Plea for Bathrobes
via First Things.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow at the Catholic Association and editor of AltCatholicah, a Catholic women’s web magazine has some concerns. CNA looks at this here . She also has a article up over the Weekly Standard on this topic. See This Won’t Turn Out Well - The IRS prepares to enforce Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
Krista Dalton has wrote a piece I might want to comment much more at length later. See CHRISTIAN MEMORY OR WHY I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE THE EARLY CHURCH .
She says in part :
In the same way, we can approach the Early Church master narrative as a rich gift to help us shape our lives. This does not mean I need to be like the historical members of the Early Church, attempting to return to a pristine historical core. Their members think and act differently than I, they treat women and persons of color differently, their worship looks and sounds distinct, and their cultural values do not always mirror my own. Instead, I can hear the ancient hope of the Christian community, and I can participate in that stream.
However Rodney Stark of the book the Rise of Christianity has a different take it seems.
Racial integration gives us a foretaste of heaven, a “sign” of the coming Kingdom. Rodney Stark, in The Rise of Christianity, lists racial integration as one of the things that made the early church distinct from other religious groups and led to its rapid growth. Local churches were the one place in the Roman Empire where differing races actually got along. Their racial harmony gave them a chance to explain that Jesus was not only a Jew, but the Lord of all humanity, the Savior of all races. If we downplay the issue of race today, we are actually denying this key theological truth.
There has been a good bit of outrage over the revelations that the Government has a lot of access to our cell phone data and now through Prism pretty much everything we do via the Internet it seems.
I think there are a lot of warning signs and the American public needs to have a discussion on this matter. Though it would be wrong to put me in the totally this needs to all go away camp. at this point. I am looking for a lot more info. Still I am very concerned
One of the major problem that has been noted is that there is a huge deep canyon difference in the rights the public think they have and in these cases what the Government is arguing in private.
Steve Shiffrin over at the Religious Left Law site has a good post up. See No Mr. President I Do Not Trust You or the Courts with the Fourth Amendment a good read that might shock a good many Americans.
Yet despite a coalition of some liberals, conservatives, and libertarians that think we making the 4th amendment more and more a paper tiger not many seem to be concerned. We sort of see this with the Confrontation clause where Justice Scalia seems to be the only saying wait hold up.
However at least we not China or Iran the reasoning goes. No is really being ' persecuted " and the Government goal or policy of the moment seems just to win out.
In many ways we see the same dynamic with religious liberty cases. I suspect most Americans still do not realize that the Supreme Court has narrowly ruled that student groups can be required to accept all members and even student leaders regardless of beliefs. The Freedom of Association takes a hit for the current Government goal of diversity .
Likewise I think in the HHS contraception mandate cases many people would be shocked that to the Justice Department is arguing that you as a business owner don't really have First amendment rights and various statutes don't protect you. So the First amendment takes a hit for the Government goal of contraception. The response by even some Christians is quit talking that you are persecuted. This is not China and Iran. How dare you !!
The chipping away at the 4th amendment did not occur over night and the Government goal in many cases is laudable. Many no doubt you woke up this week this week a lot of folks have access to your DNA and you go how did this happen.
Religious Liberty and First Amendment values is no different. There is I think some concern that the First amendment is a certain amount of stress lately. Therefore I join Professor Rick Garnett this week in very much opposing Michael Winters viewpoint on the Bishops game plan in opposing the HHS mandate.
He stated in part
...I would add to his post, though, is this: It is true that the Church, and Christians, can and must be "engaged" in and with the world. Some are called to the monastery and the cloister, but I take it that the Church's mission is to fulfill the Great Commission and to live out Matthew 25. That said, there is no reason for the bishops to accept or take as given the state's increasingly aggressive efforts to "set the terms" of that engagement in ways that require the Church's social-welfare activities to be secularized, or to mimic the activities of state agencies. It is not "sectarian," or culture-warrior-ish, or narrow, or Puritan, or Amish for the bishops to say, "look, we are going to stay here, in public, and feed the poor and fight for justice. And, we'll play by the rules as we do so. But, those rules need not and should not require us to secularize and they should not proceed from the premise that religion belongs in private or that social-welfare work somehow belongs to the state." Those who are insisting that the bishops should not allow a misguided and unrealistic desire for purity to cause them to shut down important social-welfare activities rather than submit to legal conditions have a point -- i.e., these activities are important and it would be a big deal to abandon them rather than comply with these conditions -- but they should not lose sight of the fact that these conditions are contigent, not given, and they should join the bishops in doing all they can to oppose conditions that needlessly burden the mission and character of religious institutions.
The First amendment like the Fourth amendment is again under some stress.
In another case while the government goal of stopping discrimination might be a worthy does it really mean a baker might face jail time for his principles because he does not want to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding.
The assault on our rights under the 4th and 1st amendment do not happen overnight. There is rarely a big hurricane Katrina or BP oil spill like case that decimates the fragile coast land of our rights by itself. It is more the thousand of little things ( like coastal erosion ) that cause them to disappear.
Friday, June 7, 2013
I don't find Winter's argument very compelling but Garnett engages it here. See Cooperation with evil and setting the terms of engagement ?
Thursday, June 6, 2013
I have always enjoyed This American Life when I get a chance to hear it on my public radio station. One thing that has always struck me is it's entertaining and informative stories don't treat Christians as cartoons.
Ira Glass , tha comes from a secular Jewish background , talks about about their stories that have a Christian theme and how the media seems so bad covering them in this short vid.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
I was going to respond to this column at NCR , but Jimmy Akin of course does it a thousand times better than I can. See Did Pope Francis poke Protestants in the eye?
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
The park has some very impressive monuments. Including the impressive Iowa one .
The Iowa monument last week was rededicated after going over some much needed restorations. I suspect with the rampant copper thefts its a full time job just making sure many of these monuments don't all disappear !!
The Iowa Governor was present for this event. Former Governor of Mississippi gave quite a speech for the event that I think is really worth a read. See Gov. Haley Barbour moved us to tears, and cried a little himself
Posted by James H at 6/04/2013 11:24:00 PM
A Catholic from St Landry Parish that runs Prairie Des Femmes blog recently went to New Orleans .
She spent some time taking some wonderful pictures in the New Orleans of the residents devotion to the BVM. Also there are some wonderful pics of how Vietnamese community show their everyday devotion to our Blessed Mother at their homes. See her post Pray FOr Chong ! , Gentilly Street Mary NOLA , This is not A Mess Mary , Mary Green Gate , Mary Queen of Vietnam and New Orleans East ( Great pics here ) , and Mary of Miro .
This is somewhat a major change at one of the United States Catholic major publications . I am interested in how this works out. There is going to be an new attitude at America magazine and the editor promises words will be matched by deeds. See Pursuing the Truth in Love . Among some of the thing he pledges :
“Love manifests itself more in deeds than in words.” America makes the following commitments:
1. Church. The church in the United States must overcome the problem of factionalism. This begins by re-examining our language. America will no longer use the terms “liberal,” “conservative” or “moderate” when referring to our fellow Catholics in an ecclesiastical context.
2. Charity. How we say things is as important as what we say. America seeks to provide a model for a public discourse that is intelligent and charitable. In the next few months, America will announce a new set of policies for the public commentary on our various platforms.
3. Community. America will appoint a community editor who will moderate our public conversation, ensuring that it rises to the standards we set for thoughtfulness and charity. We will continue to provide a forum for a diverse range of faithful, Catholic voices.
Prof Rick Garnett from Notre Dame comments on this here and Jana Bennett over at Catholic Moral Theology has an extended piece here on this.
In a pure Catholic context I think it is good to get away from some of those labels. Labels can mislead. On the other head they are often used to convery where a person is coming from. In the comments at Catholic Moral Theology its speculated this might lead to get a tad more specific. From the comments:
One commenter on America suggests that other phrases will inevitably needed as shorthand (i.e. magenta!) – and it seems to me that the entire history of the Church is full of examples of using this kind of shorthand in order to move ecclesiastical debates forward. From Pelagians to Donatists to Jansenists to “the manuals” to “nouvelle” to “Communio” – we all know the inadequacy of these handles (or we should!), but we also know that they communicate something true and important about tendencies and models in theological thought and ecclesiastical practice. Indeed, the Gospels are surely doing this with the group they dub “the Pharisees”! How do we handle this seemingly inevitable tendency – or maybe how do we save what is necessary and true about such “labeling” without what is bad about it?
It will be interesting to watch this develop at America.. There is a lot more at Malone's piece. Read it all.