Friday, October 19, 2007

Jim Wallis still means well but doesn’t get it
I don’t question his sincerity or commitment to Christ like I didn’t question Jerry Falwell’s* but like Karl Rove fuelled fear (‘fear the queers’ for example) among the religious right (playing the values vote like Eric Clapton the guitar) this is only a Christian version of the other fake choice in American politics.

Jim, Murray; Murray, Jim. If only Rothbard were still with us; you’d have a lot to talk about. You can still talk to Ron Paul or at least watch him on Leno next Tuesday.

One of Rothbard’s points is Wallis’s way is nothing new: crusading moral idealism, the notion that the state can be used by Christians to wipe out all vice, is an old and dangerous idea in American politics. Remember Prohibition? How’s that working out? How about the war on drugs? Also, both its American Protestant (red-state) and ex-Protestant (‘post-Christian’ blue-state, politically correct) forms have a bit of anti-Hispanicism and anti-Catholicism. (The thought of those people — breeding! Better ship them some contraceptives pronto.)

Foreign to Burkean temperamental conservatism (the authentic English tradition) and ‘Christian pessimism’.

Rod Dreher comes closer to the answer. I like much of his stuff: a blog written by a committed Orthodox but not a denominational blog, with no tiresome anti-Westernism (non-Western does not mean anti-Western just like non-papal doesn’t mean anti-any kind of papal) or sales pitches promising a perfect church on earth.

One of Wallis’s commenters (do read the comments) echoes him:
I grew up in conservative Christianity. I'm sorry Sojo, but conservative Christians have been taking care of the earth long before it has become a popular buzz topic with liberals. Conservative Christians are the ones that have farms, gardens, cows, and give their crops, milk, and meat to their neighbors. Conservative Christians are the ones that sew on a patch instead of buying a new pair of pants. Conservative Christians are the ones that car pool to church. Conservative Christians make homemade stuff. Could people stop acting like conservative Christians waste away the earth? Just because they don't make big deals about or join the latest political bandwagon. They just value life over the earth and don't want to put the earth over God.
I’ll assume he means real conservative Christians not Beltway ones or the prosperity-gospellers of the Protestant religious right.
Those might be conservative Christians - in the sense they're conserving their small town or rural values as farmers or some such - maybe like Rod Dreher’s Crunchy Conservatives, who now critique Republicanism - but that bears little resemblance to political conservatism and the maintenance of immeasurable power over others and wealth in Washington D.C.
And some hysterical nonsense:
As in the Episcopal Church, some reactionaries are only too willing to embrace a traditionally "liberal" cause (in their case, African poverty) to justify their otherwise inhumane and unchristian treatment of women and those of differing sexual orientations.
Charley knows the truth:
I came into the church in the center of the old "high and wide" churchmanship, the sort that characterized many of the big east coast cathedrals thirty or more years ago. Or perhaps forty-five years would be more apropos. Back in those days the Broad issue was racism, a cause that allowed it to be easily allied with the Anglo-Catholics. When the Broad issues turned to the middle class (sexism and homosexuality), Anglo-Catholics became the enemy, because they were bound to teaching what they had always taught.
Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa were, as far as anybody knows, women and did not consider Catholicism inhumane or un-Christian. They believed every jot and tittle of the Roman magisterium actually.

As for gayness, Catholic teaching is no more inhumane than removing a cleric for hetero hanky-panky or denying the use of the village church for a secular funeral.

All are welcome to come and pray in a Catholic church but just like a marriage if you say you want to commit to us you may have to make a few changes in your life.

*Around 1965 in classic Baptist-fundamentalist fashion, with a healthy distrust of politics and the state, he refused to use the church for political ends of the left or right, controversially staying out of Martin Luther King’s civil-rights movement as well as the anti-Communist crusade. (Avoiding the trap C.S. Lewis described of preaching ‘Christianity and...’ eventually replacing the gospel.) Historically his political change, not long after conservative Protestants were politicised and elected Jimmy Carter, made him a footnote in the 1980 presidential election and nothing more except a convenient, outdated target of liberals. RIP.

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