Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Religion and Poltics in News: From Passion of Southern Christians to Walk-Out in Italian Catholic Parish

Because of the intersection of Jewish Passover and Christian Holy Week, the news is chock-full of religion stories and religious commentary today in the nation with the soul of a church — which made Donald Trump president. Here's are some of my own picks from articles/commentary I've read this morning, whose only common thread is that they're about matters of religion (and, usually, politics):

Margaret Renkl, "The Passion of Southern Christians":

Republicans now have what they've long wanted: the chance to turn this into a Christian nation. But what's being planned in Washington will hit my fellow Southerners harder than almost anyone else. Where are the immigrants? Mostly in the South. Which states execute more prisoners? The Southern states. Which region has the highest poverty rates? The South. Where are you most likely to drink poisoned water? Right here in the South. Where is affordable health care hardest to find? You guessed it. My people are among the least prepared to survive a Trump presidency, but the "Christian" president they elected is about to demonstrate exactly what betrayal really looks like — and for a lot more than 30 pieces of silver.

Cody Gohl, "Why I Had to Break Up with Jesus": 

For those not raised in the Church, the idea of grieving the loss of your faith can sound ridiculous. . . . . When I'm home, I’ll go to church with my grandmother and sing the old hymns. And I'll feel my faith nipping at my heels. But it's a ghost now and will never be wholly mine again. 
Even as I see LGBT-affirming churches sprouting up across the country, I know that I will never return to the flock. I feel so betrayed, so unseen by a religion that I was willing to give all of myself to when I was too young to know what a sacrifice like that would mean. I'm angry the way Christians have twisted this beautiful faith into something ugly and oppressive. I know it breaks my family's heart to see how far I've drifted, and in some ways, it breaks mine too.

Because disgraced and now resigned Alabama governor Robert Bentley is/was a Southern Baptist deacon and fearsome campaigner against LGBTQ rights as he defended family values and the sanctity of "traditional" marriage, this Twitter exchange surely has religion-and-politics dimensions:

Josephine McKenna, "Faithful Storm Out of Mass in Italy After Priest Criticizes Pope Francis":

Media reports claimed the congregation shouted "Shame, shame!" at the Rev. Edward Pushparaj when he said Pope Francis had only been "bad." for the Catholic Church. . . . 
In his homily Pushparaj, who is from India, reportedly referred to the pope's dialogue with other faiths and in particular his decision to wash the feet of a Muslim woman at a detention center outside Rome on Holy Thursday in 2013, Francis' first as pope.
"In four years Pope Francis has only been bad for the church," the priest reportedly said. 

Robert Mickens, "Who Francis Is Listening To":

Pope Francis is still on a very steep learning curve when it comes to figuring out how to deal with the sexual abuse crisis and the bishops who have tried to cover it up. 
His teachers should not principally be men in Roman collars or those with miters on their heads. But unfortunately, as one lay expert on the abuse issue told me, it seems the last word of advice the pope gets is from a cleric. 
The abuse crisis is far from over and Francis has to do a lot more listening and learning from the non-clerics.He should started using his phone or the sitting room at his Santa Marta Residence to speak with them. 
First on the list should be Marie Collins. 

Patricia Miller, "Hillary Clinton Won the Catholic Vote After All, so Dems Should Stay Pro-Choice, Right?"

The election of 2016 also shows that contrary to some predictions, the pro-choice stance of the Democratic Party isn't a turn off for Hispanic voters. And appeals to some "abortion lite" position is unlikely to sway those white Catholics who are committed to the Republican Party. As Mark Gray, polling director for CARA, noted of the results:
"Party comes first for many Catholics and they then try to make that fit within their faith. I don't mean that in a way that being a Democrat or being a Republican is more important to them than being Catholic. But I mean that at the ballot box, partisanship trumps their faith when they make their choice."
All of this suggests that the election of 2016 was somewhat of a demographic outlier, the last gasp of old white Catholics if you will. Millennials and Hispanics are the future of the Democratic Party. It doesn’t need to contort itself with appeals to conservative religious voters on abortion. Time truly is on the Democrats' side.

(For my take on the polling data on which Patti Miller is commenting, see here.) 

And this tweeted video is religion-and-politics commentary of a sort, don't you think?

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