I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution – Jonathan Swift. True words to a large extent.
I grew up in Catholic Schools for a great deal of my life. My elementary school was Holy Family in Hillcrest in southeast DC. The Sisters of St. Joseph ran it at the time. This order of nuns was founded under the guardianship of the Jesuits. This is important as the different religious orders had different focus. Jesuits were, and in many respects still are the thinkers of the church. Schools like Georgetown, Boston College, Marquette, University of San Francisco and Creighton (my law school) are Jesuit institutions. Never taking anything on faith alone, Jesuit priests spearheaded many of the Central American political revolutions in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This education fueled my constant questioning and analyzing of everything in my environment. The Order of Nuns came to America and was the leader in setting up education of the children of immigrants in the 1800’s. This social conscience was still strong and played a large influence in my development. Although I seriously disagree with the dogma of the church (any church), I fully support the mission (and to me obligation) to make things better for those with little. I am very much a Franciscan by nature.
It therefore baffles me to no end when I see politicians use religion to create fear and mistrust in the community. They do this by repeating lies as dogma and turn their persecution of others into a holy war. When I grew up we prayed to reduce suffering in the world, not for personal wealth. Now we have Christians fully immersed in the “Prosperity Theology.” The book, Prayer of Jabez, sold millions of copies to people who now consider themselves Christians. It is important to remember that these are the people we are dealing with as antagonist of equality for all. They truly believed that they alone are blessed and that everyone else is unworthy. Politicians use these people, scaring them with the prospects that brown people are here to take your job or live off their tax dollars or destroy their way of life (or prospect for a better life) by demanding equality.
The white people of the South are the greatest minority in this nation. They deserve consideration and understanding instead of the persecution of twisted propaganda.
Last week, Tea Party Congressman Tim Scott of South Carolina said, “Christians are a relentlessly and mercilessly persecuted minority today.” This despite the facts that Christians dominate the American landscape. These Christians think that they should be exempt from anti- hate and anti-bullying laws if said bullying is a result of “religious belief or moral conviction.” Somehow the Republican Party has tapped into people fears of loosing their religious freedom to a point that they are willing to sanction violence if it is defense of their religious moral principles. This could not be a more clear parallel to the Nazi parties laws allowing the German people to attack Jews and Jewish institutions during World II. The Nazi’s, like the Tea Party Republicans, used race, sex and religion as a wedge to cement the support of the white majority creating common enemies. This is not the Christianity of my youth and I fear that it is only going to get worse.
They actually speak in terms of a new political elite. McConnell, the Republican Leader in the United States Senate said, “The Constitution must be amended to keep the government in check. We’ve tried persuasion. We’ve tried negotiations. We’re tried elections. Nothing has worked.” What the republicans are saying is if the American people won’t vote for the kind of government he wants, then we must strip away the people’s ability to choose their own government. Elections haven’t worked.
I realize that Obama has not been the progressive social leader some of us had hoped for. Unless we come together Mitch McConnell and Tim Scott and the rest of the fringe right will control all branches of government. That would not be good for any of us.