Saturday, October 31, 2020

Nation with Soul of a Church on Eve of Historic Election: Weaponized Bibles Brandished with Guns as Nuns Choose to Be Photo Props for Trump

Oliver Laughland and Tom Silverstone, "God and the GOP: Will evangelicals stay loyal to Trump?

Just in case you were concerned that this election wasn't crazy enough, and I know you were, here's the lieutenant governor of Idaho, featured in a demonstration with some militia crazies, waving a Bible and a firearm out the window of her truck.

Bible as weapon, not sacred text: this was that man's message when he held that bible up (upside down) in front of a church after clearing the area with teargas.

We own the bible and will use it against you. You don't own it.

This was the message of the young nun sitting behind Trump at his Cincinnati recently, brandishing her weaponized bible, betraying all that is good about Catholic tradition and pointing us back to the darkest days of the Catholic past. She and Idaho's lieutenant governor McGeachin should team up to do commercials together — dual weaponized bibles with a gun held up at the same time to underscore the point. 

Peter Vroom on Twitter

Kathryn Joyce cites Mike Lewis, founder of Where Peter Is

"You hear about these people who say, 'I lost my mother to QAnon,' but it's happening in Catholic families as well," says Lewis. "I've been one of the few Catholic moderates banging the drum, saying this is not a movement we can ignore. They are getting more and more radical, becoming more and more conspiratorial, and causing serious polarization. And if we don’t dial it back right now—" He stops.

Jesse Sumpter in an article entitled, "Husband, Make Sure Your Wife Votes Exactly Like You":

The husband leads in submission to Christ, and the wife submits and follows the husband. This includes voting. 

Ed Yong writes,

If he is reelected, he will continue on the same path, and so will the coronavirus. More Americans will be sickened, disabled, and killed. Donald Trump is unchanging; the election offers an opportunity for the country to change instead.

And as I read this, I think of Catholic sister Dede Byrne at the Republican National Convention on 26 August informing the world, "Most pro-life president ever." 

Father Thomas Reese points to a recent statement by the rector of St. Peter in Chains cathedral in Cincinnati which openly violates the diocesan policy against endorsing particular candidates and political parties:

In the October 4, 2020 bulletin of St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, the Basilica for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the rector, Rev. Jan Kevin Schmidt, in his weekly column titled "Rector's Ramblings," openly flouted the Archdiocese's policy, writing, "In fact, our Bishops have recently stated that [abortion] is the preeminent issue to be focused upon when voting in a few weeks. Much is on the line as we approach November 3 and for Catholics there is only one party upholding life. The other party has degraded itself so terribly with its embrace of that which is fundamentally about death, be it abortion or euthanasia, or the slide towards the embrace of socialism and the evils that lead from it."

The town (and county seat) near which my husband Steve grew up on a farm in northwest Minnesota is in a county now considered a Covid hot-spot for Minnesota — as are several nearby counties.

Go to the website of the Catholic church in the town, and you'll read that Mass attendance has increased this fall — Praise God!, writes the pastor in his online bulletin. And you'll read that the church is adding a new noon Mass to make it easier for folks to attend….

Go to the website of the town's Lutheran church, and you'll see an announcement that, due to a sizable Covid outbreak in the community, that church is cancelling in-person worship.

The Catholic church's website has a big splashy slide show at the top featuring a photo of John Paul II talking about how we're involved in a big battle between good and evil re: the value of life. Francis is nowhere in sight on the page — and what's that about?

Rich Raho retweets Doug Mills's tweet above yesterday, stating,

Something has desperately gone awry in the US Church.

And he's right. But, unfortunately, a lot of US Catholics don't want to face that fact and want to keep pretending that the capitulation of broad swathes of the US Catholic church (white swathes almost exclusively) to Trumpism is not happening.

Jason Stanley, Federico Finchelstein, and Pablo Piccato write,

[W]ith Trump occupying the position of the father, there is a strong religious dimension to Trumpism. In this context, one must not take lightly Trump's cynical and clumsy displays of religiosity. The more that Trump’s followers regard him as a kind of divine authority, the more justified they will feel in using violence to defend him. The armed civilians who threaten and even shoot protesters in the streets are not "defending property." Rather, they are claiming the right to use violence against the leader's enemies.

P.S. Anyone who thinks white evangelicals will slide away from their idolatry of that man does not know white evangelicals. As to the hope some commentators have that white Catholics will begin moving away from him in this election: we'll see what happens. 

P.P.S. Those nuns in traditional habits at the Waterford, Michigan, rally seem very hard to track down. Various news outlets say they belong to a group called "Dominican Fathers and Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary" of Hartland, which stems from Milford, Connecticut.

But try to track that group online or find concrete information about it, and you come to a total dead end. I wonder what that's about. 

But according to Peter Vroom, the nuns who sat behind Trump at the Cincinnati rally are bona fide nuns who belong to a group called the Children of Mary in Cincinnati, whose mission is "to satiate the Thirst of Jesus to be loved."

Update: Henry Karlson's good sleuthing has led to the discovery that the Hartland, Michigan, group was apparently originally part of the schismatic SSPX sect, but is now under the direction of an "independent" "Catholic" bishop, Robert L. Neville — so that it's something of a stretch to represent the nuns who appeared at the Trump rally in Waterford, Michigan (who may not even be nuns at all?) as Catholic nuns.

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