Richard Rohr Meditation: Questioning Our Loyalties

Most religion is highly “legitimating religion.” It is used for social control and public order by the powers that be and individuals. This oppressive use of religion has allowed much of Christian history to fully cooperate in toxic and unjust societies—just as long as each person had “a personal relationship with Jesus.” This will not work anymore; in fact, it never did.

..  If we profess Jesus is indeed “the savior of the world” (John 4:42), we must not, we cannot, continue to think of salvation as merely a private matter. We are wasting our time trying to convert individuals without also challenging corporate, collective sin and fully institutionalized evil.

.. When we send momentarily changed people back into a corrupt system, people can think they are godly but it will never last for long or at any depth.

.. Social justice is clearly God’s concern, starting with liberation of God’s people in the Exodus, yet it has taken Christians a long time to be able to see the Gospel in a fully historic, social, and political context. Truly transformed people organically change the world, while fundamentally unchanged people can only conform to the system and wholeheartedly cheer it on (see Romans 12:2). Culture will win out every time over the Gospel if it is not critiqued by the Gospel.

.. After authentic conversion, our old “country” no longer holds any ultimate position. We can’t worship it any longer as we were once trained to do. Our national identity is okay, probably necessary, but very limited in its capacity for truth, much less universal truth.

The Supreme Temptation of Amy Coney Barrett

And Republicans expect — and want — liberals to be so freaked out by thisthat they oppose her in a manner that can be branded anti-religious. They’re setting her up to be a Christian martyr, minus the grisly end, and daring Democrats to take the bait.

.. Aaron Blake sagely sized up the appeal of this dynamic to Trump, writing that it’s “exactly the kind of battle he generally relishes: One that invites his opponents to overreach.” My Times colleague Ross Douthat tweeted that if Trump wants to “trigger the libs,” he’ll nominate Barrett. Douthat further predicted that her nomination “might bring on the culture-war apocalypse.”

.. She’s the most tactically fascinating of the front-runners in several ways. At 46, she’s the youngest, so her time on the court could easily cover four decades. She’s a longtime resident of Indiana, which happens to be home to Joe Donnelly, one of three Democratic senators whose votes are most clearly in play when it comes to confirming Trump’s nominee.

.. She’d be the only justice on the Supreme Court without the imprimatur of the Ivy League, and there’s little whiff of the coastal elites about her. She did her undergraduate work at Rhodes College in Tennessee and then attended law school at Notre Dame

..  her own time on the bench is limited to her eight months on that court.

.. her promoters revel openly in the idea of Roe v. Wade being overturned after the addition of another woman to a Supreme Court that would then have an almost even gender balance of four women and five men.

.. her Senate confirmation hearings after her nomination for the circuit court made her a hero to conservatives, especially religious ones. They took issue in particular with questions that Senator Dianne Feinstein

.. “The dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said

 

 

 

Wanted: Justice Amy Coney Barrett

The fight over Barrett’s confirmation would almost certainly build trust between President Trump and social conservatives. It would energize Republicans ahead of the midterm elections.

The facts of Barrett’s life — that she is a mother of seven children, and that when she speaks about her Catholic faith, she speaks about God as if she really believes in His existence — will provoke nasty and bigoted statements from Democratic senators and liberal media personalities. Again.

.. Professor Barrett’s qualifications become stronger by virtue of her willingness to write candidly and intelligently about difficult and sensitive ethical questions: Our universities, our judiciary, and our country will be the poorer if the Senate prefers nominees who remain silent on such topics.”
..  the fight to confirm her will contain edifying political lessons. We don’t have religious tests for public office in this country, and having a republic that does not have an established religion does not require excluding sincere believers from positions of authority.
.. they should be able to compel religious people to conform to liberal moral norms — which just so happen to track exactly to doctrinal developments in the once dominant Mainline Protestant churches. 
.. The ACLU would compel Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.
.. Evangelicals at a crisis pregnancy center will be made to advertise for abortion... contain an even deeper lesson, one that is salutary for both liberal secularists, who once indulged in triumphalism, and conservative believers, who have been tempted to despair: Believing Catholics and Evangelicals will continue to make their contributions to the common good of this country. You will live with us. If we’re going to have peace, we’re going to make it together.

This isn’t religion. It’s perversion.

“It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) mused this week about his Republican Party under President Trump.

As if to prove Corker’s point, the Trump administration the very next day claimed that it had the divine right to rip children from their parents’ arms at the border.

.. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday. “I am not going to apologize for carrying out our laws.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked about Sessions’s remarks, said: “It is very biblical to enforce the law.”

This isn’t religion. It’s perversion. It is not the creed of a democratic government or political party but of an authoritarian cult.

The attorney general’s tortured reading of Romans is exactly the strained interpretation that others have used before to justify slavery, segregation, apartheid and Nazism.

.. Romans 13 does indeed say to “submit to the authorities,” because they “are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” But this is in the context of what comes before it (“share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality”) and after (“owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law”) – and, indeed, admonitions to care for the poor and the oppressed that come from Isaiah, Leviticus, Matthew and many more.

.. They swallowed their heretofore pro-life, pro-family and pro-faith views to embrace Trump’s travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries (“Such blatant religious discrimination is repugnant,” said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

.. House Republicans drafted legislation allowing children to be detained with their parents. But Trump on Friday signaled that he would veto the bill, and, as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said this week, the “last thing I want to do is bring a bill out of here that I know the president won’t support.”

This is the way of the cult.