Sunday, May 20, 2018

Why They're Furious About Bishop Michael Curry: Worldwide Platform to Proclaim "Ferociously Political Faith in the Radical Power of Christian Love"

The RNS article to which I pointed you yesterday, discussing Bishop Michael Curry's presence at the royal wedding: its title is "American bishop brings human rights focus to royal wedding." Here's a response to that title from a U.S. "pro-life," Latin Mass-promoting Catholic: 

At last! We’re focusing on the human rights of the unborn.

This "pro-life" Catholic man, Parker12, voted for Donald Trump. His comments online as captured in his Disqus feed tell us that no one with "integrity, morals and principals [sic] in tact [sic]" could possibly have voted for Hillary Clinton. Trump may be imperfect, but no principled person could possibly have voted for Clinton, who is "one of the most corrupt, dishonest, incapable and unethical candidates ever to run for political office."

What's wrong with the Catholic church, Parker12 also informs us, is Vatican II — on that point, see his comments in this discussion at First Things and in response to a Breitbart article attacking Pope Francis with the title "Gallup: Drop in U.S. Catholic Church Attendance Under Pope Francis Sharpest in Decades."* See also his statement at Mark Silk's RNS article discussing the Anglican politics of the choice of Michael Curry to preach at the royal wedding, which claims that parishes offering the Latin Mass are growing, and it will take a "long burn to reverse the destructive effects of Vatican II," but the church will eventually recover by reinstituting the Latin Mass.

In the past week, as commenters discussed Richard Mouw's RNS article entitled, "To my fellow evangelicals: What you're cheering in Jerusalem is shameful," Parker12 taunted a commenter, Tom Downs, when Downs stated the following

I say all this because the killing and wound[ing] of so many people, ostensibly civilians, is all out of proportion to the risk. Therefore, commenting as a Christian, I find the Israeli action to be in serious violation of Christian just war theory and therefore to be condemned by Christians. Quite a contrast with the "blessings" of the evangelical prayers.

Parker12's taunt in response to Tom Downs:

ok commander; what are your orders when the fence is breached? What do you tell your men when 500 angry protesters are headed to the nearest settlement?

In another discussion at the Crux site which is talking about the Vatican partnership with Iran, Parker12 vents anti-Muslim sentiments, as he claims that Muslims promote terrorism, want to kill Christians, and want to export their hatred to the West — and Israel is a bastion of Western values standing against all of this.

I point you to some salient features of Parker12's worldview as expressed in comments captured by his Disqus feed to provide you with some context to interpret his "pro-life" slam against Bishop Michael Curry and Bishop Curry's defense of human rights. Parker12 is being sarcastic when he states, "At last! We’re focusing on the human rights of the unborn," in response to RNS's title "American bishop brings human rights focus to royal wedding." 

He's using "the unborn" as a bludgeon, a blunt instrument, to beat over the head those concerned about, say, gay rights or the rights of African Americans — two sets of people the RNS article discusses as it talks about Bishop Curry's human rights stance. It's either the unborn or gay folks and black folks and Palestians and, well, anyone else in the world who's already born.

And I want you also to recognize that Parker12 is trying to mount this sarcastic, "the-unborn"-trump-everyone-in-the-world "pro-life" argument in the very same week in which he has snarkily defended the shooting of large numbers of unarmed Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, as right-wing U.S. Christians were throwing a party in Jerusalem to celebrate an event that, in their view, will help usher in the final days, in which God and Christians will bathe in the blood of their enemies.

Parker12 is mounting his "pro-life" argument to shut up anyone who wants to extend human rights to anyone beyond "the unborn" in the very same week in which yet another school shooting has reminded us in the starkest way possible that 

1. The number of school shootings in the U.S. since 2000 (the number is 213) vastly exceeds the total number of school shootings in all other nations around the world combined (that number is 33); 

2. More American young people have been killed in school shootings this year than U.S. military personnel on duty; 

3. And also thisthe biggest barrier to gun control laws to combat this kind of violence is white U.S. right-wing Christians who oppose gun control.

"Pro-life" white U.S. Christians, the kind of people who use "the unborn" as a blunt instrument to attack people calling for respect for the human rights of actually born human beings, and calling for practical ways to address horrendous violence in the world around us: they are the biggest obstacle in the U.S. to gun control laws. They are the people standing in the door to prevent effective action to try to assure that the gunning down of U.S. young folks in schools be prevented.

Let me repeat that statement: the kind of "pro-life" white U.S. Christians who fervently support Donald Trump because he is "pro-life" and Hillary Clinton is not: these are the people who are, more than any other set of American citizens, standing in the door and preventing effective gun control laws to try to deal with the unimaginable problem of school shootings in the U.S.

They're the same people throwing a party in Jerusalem as Palestinians are being shot by Israeli soldiers a few miles away — because Jesus, and "pro-life," and God is on Donald Trump's side.

Forgive me if I am underwhelmed by Parker12's sarcastic attack on Bishop Michael Curry and his sermon at the royal wedding. 

These folks are infuriated that, as Tara Isabella Burton states

Curry used one of the biggest and most visible platforms in the world to revive an Anglicanism rooted in social justice, religious engagement, and a ferociously political faith in the radical power of Christian love.

They're furious at the fact that he spoke repeatedly of love — in a Christian sermon: imagine that! — in a way that was not disembodied or sentimental (to bless straight love and exclude queer love from the scope of God's blessing), but in a way that forces us to confront the this-worldly, political meaning of living Jesus' call to love in a practical, real way in our various social arrangements.

The "pro-life" folks using "the unborn" as a bludgeon to beat back this kind of Christianity rooted in practical compassion and in Jesus and his gospel message won't have any of this. They'd rather talk about "the unborn," ignoring the patent disconnect between their "pro-life" rhetoric and their refusal to permit gun control discussions to move forward in the U.S., in their jubilation as Palestinians are shot down by Israeli soldiers a few miles from their big party.

When they very obviously care more about their "God-given" right to stockpile every weapon under the sun than they do about American young people in schools, how can we possibly take seriously their maudlin claim to care pre-eminently about "the unborn"?

I've said it before and it has to be said again: "pro-life" U.S. white Christianity has become a truly demonic force in the world. It led a majority of white U.S. Christians to vote for Donald Trump.

And one day, they need to face the consequences of what they have unleashed by their "pro-life" votes.

*The Breitbart site is apparently configured so that Disqus cannot point you directly to comments made there through Disqus. If you don't want to visit Breitbart — and I don't want to do so — you can find the comments in question simply by googling Parker12 + Disqus, and reading his feed at the Disqus site.

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