Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Antifa Jesus, Socialist Pope?

 



I may be a lapsed Catholic, but my morals and values have stood firm over the decades, without guidance from religious leaders. However I’m still interested in what the Pope has to say about important issues that we all face.


Pope Francis appears to be our most socialist and environmentalist pope yet.


Here are a few of his statements from the past several years.


While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules...We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf ... has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose."


 Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.


 Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.


In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.


 One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies


 In October 2014 the Pope said, “An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it...The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands...The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”


 In 2015 the Koch-funded Heartland Institute sent a team of “climate scientists” to Rome to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science: “here is no global warming crisis!”


 On May 16, 2015 Pope Francis told a group of diplomats gathered at the Vatican, “We have created new idols...the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.”


 In February of this year, Pope Francis said, “Structures of sin today include repeated tax cuts for the richest people, often justified in the name of investment and development; tax havens for private and corporate profits, and the possibility of corruption by some of the largest companies in the world, often in tune with some dominant political sector.”

 

It would seem the Catholic men on the Supreme Court, and the woman recently appointed, along with all the Catholic Trump voters haven’t heard of this Pope. They certainly don’t respect his thinking, his understanding of the world, and his compassionate viewpoints.


Why do Christian conservatives vote for Republicans? It would seem their opposition to women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality is their only justification. 


Jesus never preached about abortion. He never condemned people for their sexual orientation. Tax-exempt conservative church leaders do.


I recall Jesus calling out religious leaders of the time as sanctimonious hypocrites.

 

I also recall Jesus going all "antifa" with some money changers at a temple. That didn’t go over well. The "law and order" religious conservatives of the time wanted him executed. They considered Jesus an “enemy of the people”.  


Were they any different from today’s religious conservatives?


Let’s ask them.


Are there any Christian conservatives willing to answer a few simple questions?


How does giving tax cuts to the rich reflect what Jesus wants?


How does cutting food stamps for the poor reflect what Jesus wants?


How does cutting Social Security and Medicare for the elderly reflect what Jesus wants?


How is taking healthcare from the sick and poor what Jesus wants?


What did Jesus say about taxes and the rich?


How does allowing corporate polluters have their way reflect what Jesus wants?


How does turning a blind eye to racism and police brutality reflect what Jesus wants?


How does Trump follow the teachings of Jesus?


Why does Jesus want us to vote for a servant of mammon?


Conservative Christians have yet to explain to me how voting for Republicans reflects any of the values so clearly laid out for them to embrace:


Matthew 25:40-45

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.


I'll be darned if I can find any Republican/conservative agenda there. Apparently none of these values can make America great, or something...


Maybe Christian conservatives can be honest for a change, and just say they don't want to discuss the answers to these questions.



Perhaps these questions make them FEEL confused, frustrated and angry. 


That confusion, frustration and anger, especially towards more progressive folks, like the Socialist Pope, and Antifa Jesus, might just be the only “answer” that matters to them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An Open Letter to Judge Amy Coney Barrett From Your Notre Dame Colleagues

October 10, 2020

Dear Judge Barrett,

 

We write to you as fellow faculty members at the University of Notre Dame.

 

We congratulate you on your nomination to the United States Supreme Court. An appointment to the Court is the crowning achievement of a legal career and speaks to the commitments you have made throughout your life. And while we are not pundits, from what we read your confirmation is all but assured.

 

That is why it is vital that you issue a public statement calling for a halt to your nomination process until after the November presidential election.

We ask that you take this unprecedented step for three reasons.

 

First, voting for the next president is already underway. According to the United States Election Project more than seven million people have already cast their ballots, and millions more are likely to vote before election day. The rushed nature of your nomination process, which you certainly recognize as an exercise in raw power politics, may effectively deprive the American people of a voice in selecting the next Supreme Court justice. You are not, of course, responsible for the anti-democratic machinations driving your nomination. Nor are you complicit in the Republican hypocrisy of fast-tracking your nomination weeks before a presidential election when many of the same senators refused to grant Merrick Garland so much as a hearing a full year before the last election. However, you can refuse to be party to such maneuvers. We ask that you honor the democratic process and insist the hearings be put on hold until after the voters have made their choice. Following the election, your nomination would proceed, or not, in accordance with the wishes of the winning candidate. 

 

Next, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish was that her seat on the court remain open until a new president was installed. At your nomination ceremony at the White House, you praised Justice Ginsburg as “a woman of enormous talent and consequence, whose life of public service serves as an example to us all.” Your nomination just days after Ginsburg’s death was unseemly and a repudiation of her legacy. Given your admiration for Justice Ginsburg, we ask that you repair the injury to her memory by calling for a pause in the nomination until the next president is seated.

 

Finally, your nomination comes at a treacherous moment in the United States. Our politics are consumed by polarization, mistrust, and fevered conspiracy theories. Our country is shaken by pandemic and economic suffering. There is violence in the streets of American cities. The politics of your nomination, as you surely understand, will further inflame our civic wounds,

undermine confidence in the court, and deepen the divide among ordinary citizens, especially if you are seated by a Republican Senate weeks before the election of a Democratic president and congress. You have the opportunity to offer an alternative to all that by demanding that your nomination be suspended until after the election. We implore you to take that step.

 

We’re asking a lot, we know. Should Vice-President Biden be elected, your seat on the court will almost certainly be lost. That would be painful, surely. Yet there is much to be gained in risking your seat. You would earn the respect of fair-minded people everywhere. You would provide a model of civic selflessness. And you might well inspire Americans of different beliefs toward a renewed commitment to the common good.

 

We wish you well and trust you will make the right decision for our nation.

 

Yours in Notre Dame,

John Duffy, English  

Catherine E. Bolten, Anthropology and Peace Studies

Karen Graubart, History and Gender Studies

Margaret Dobrowolska, Physics

Aedín Clements, Hesburgh Libraries

Cheri Smith, Hesburgh Libraries

Antonio Delgado, Physics

Atalia Omer, Peace Studies

Eileen Hunt Botting, Political Science

Jason A. Springs, Peace Studies

David Hachen, Sociology

Manoel Couder, Physics

Jacek Furdyna, Physics

Carmen Helena Tellez, Music

Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Biological Sciences, Philosophy

John T. Fitzgerald, Theology

Debra Javeline, Political Science 

Philippe Collon, Physics

Cara Ocobock, Anthropology

Amy Mulligan, Irish, Medieval Studies and Gender Studies

Stephen M. Fallon, Program of Liberal Studies and Dept of English

Jessica Shumake, University Writing Program and Gender Studies

Mandy L. Havert, Hesburgh Libraries

Dana Villa, Political Science

Stephen M. Hayes, Emeritus, Hesburgh Libraries

Catherine Perry, Emerita, Romance Languages & Literatures

Olivier Morel, Film, Television, and Theatre.

Darlene Catello, Music

Encarnación Juárez-Almendros, Emerita, Romance Languages & Literatures

James Sterba, Philosophy

Laura Bayard, Emerita, Hesburgh Libraries

Susan Sheridan, Anthropology

Mary E. Frandsen, Music

Mark Golitko, Anthropology

Christopher Ball, Anthropology

Gail Bederman, History

G. Margaret Porter, Emerita, Hesburgh Libraries

Cecilia Lucero, Center for University Advising

Peri E. Arnold, Emeritus, Political Science

Amitava Krishna Dutt, Political Science

Julia Marvin, Program of Liberal Studies

Julia Adeney Thomas, History

Michael C. Brownstein, East Asian Languages & Cultures

Christopher Liebtag Miller, Medieval Institute

Maxwell Johnson, Theology

John Sitter, Emeritus, English

Robert Norton, German

Hye-jin Juhn, Hesburgh Libraries

Denise M. Della Rossa, German

Sotirios A. Barber, Political Science

Pamela Robertson Wojcik, Film, TV and Theatre

Jeff Diller, Mathematics

Ann Mische, Sociology and Peace Studies

Zygmunt Baranski, Romance Languages & Literatures

Robert R. Coleman, Emeritus, Art History

William Collins Donahue, German, FTT, & Keough

Sarah McKibben, Irish Language and Literature

George A. Lopez, emeritus, Kroc Institute

Mark Roche, German

Nelson Mark, Economics

Vittorio Hosle, German, Philosophy and Political Science

Tobias Boes, German 

A. Nilesh Fernando, Economics

Fred Dallmayr, Emeritus, Philosophy and Political Science

Greg Kucich, English

Kate Marshall, English

Mark A. Sanders, English

Christopher Hamlin, History

Meredith S. Chesson, Anthropology

Ricardo Ramirez, Political Science

Stephen Fredman, Emeritus, English

Dan Graff, History and the Higgins Labor Program

Henry Weinfield, Program of Liberal Studies (Emeritus)

Mary R. D’Angelo, Theology (Emerita)

Asher Kaufman, Kroc Institute, History

Stephen J. Miller, Music

Janet A. Kourany, Philosophy and Gender Studies

Michelle Karnes, English

Jill Godmilow, Emerita, Film, Television & Theatre

Mary Beckman, Emerita, Center for Social Concerns

Clark Power, Program of Liberal Studies

Richard Williams, Sociology

Benedict Giamo, Emeritus, American Studies

Ernesto Verdeja, Political Science and Peace Studies 

Catherine Schlegel, Classics

Margaret A. Doody, English, Professor Emerita 

Marie Collins Donahue, Eck Institute of Global Health

 David C. Leege, Emeritus, Political Science

 


4 comments:

Robert McKim said...

It is an excellent letter: carefully written, respectful, and right on target. It would be heroic for Judge Barrett to comply with what these colleagues have proposed - and thank you to all of them. She would distinguish herself as a leader. Looking from afar, it seems to me that she is a decent person. Here she is being asked to do the decent thing. It would not be easy. But it would be a national service.

Dave Dubya said...

Robert,
Sadly, there is no room for decency or honesty in Trump's Republicans.

Now they're angry at the notion of Biden and a Democratic congress expanding the Supreme Court.
When pressed on this question, Biden should just reply, "Gee, I don't know...What would Mitch McConnell do"?

U.P. Tim said...

Great thinking Dave, boy if that isn't the perfect reply for Biden. " Gee, I don't know... What would Mitch McConnell do"? It's perfect. It'd be great to see the reaction on the face of the questioner.

Dave Dubya said...

Tim,
Biden could use snappier comebacks than, "Here's the deal".
Maybe,"Court packing is exactly what McConnell did. Americans want a balanced court."