Peter Herbert, I like your last post. I started to post this in the comment section, but, perhaps it’s a little too long and distracts somewhat from your central theme.
We recently watched Walt Disney’s TV presentation of Pollyanna the best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter. Politics, religion, and extreme power of wealth gave way to a little girls optimism. Pollyanna was having limited success with her optimism until she told the Pastor that ‘nobody can own the church’. That little girl had the determination and innocent faith that everybody and everything had something good to be glad about. When she lost her faith and optimism to overcome her tragedy, the community and her wealthy Aunt, came to her rescue. Yes, it’s a fictional story, without any theological absolutes, but it proves the power of a positive attitude over negative forces and passivity. What a change that could make in society today!
NOBODY CAN OWN THE CHURCH !! ??
Not the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, nor the groups who trace their beginning to the first successful protest and defiance of what they perceived as corruption and false theology of the then ruling religious leaders, nor the evangelical fundamentalists, that branched off from the original main line denominations, nor the modern day religious right, who claim to be the silent majority (silent??), nor any other coalition or consortium of ‘believers’ or ‘non believers’.
There is no ‘patent’ or ‘copyright’ on Christianity! I’ll be a little skeptical if someone comes up with a stone tablet claiming that God chiseled out the message that said they are His official spokesman. I, personally, do not think God issues patents or copyrights. I don’t happen to believe that the present sitting Pope can trace his divine lineage back to the original Pope, purported to be Peter. Too many divisions and fissures in that lineage.Historical records, outside of that ‘Church’, show evidence of some rather scurrilous individuals in the lineage. Besides that, I don’t agree that Jesus vested that authority in Peter. (Banish this old heretic!) Neither God nor our constitution gives me the right to legislate my beliefs or perceptions.
Judge not that ye not be judged. Jesus said something like that. He told the accusers who had no sin to cast the first stone. If Rick Santorum accused President Obama of being a ‘phony’ Christian, would Rick be willing to cast the first stone, with Jesus standing there? If Jesus was standing in the crowd would he shout Hear! Hear! to some of the character assassinations and derogatory references to social outcasts (or wealthy moguls) that we hear from our political candidates and talk show pundits (all sides)?
History tells me that disagreements, character assassination, hate inspiring epithets, and so forth have been a part of our national politics, from day one. Many will disagree with me, when I say President Obama has been bombarded worse than any Presidents, in recent history. When G.W. Bush was president, he got his share of character assassinations and hate messages, but they did not reach the level or intensity that we are seeing against our President, today.
It seems to me that the Republican party heads and especially the active candidates for the presidency are first and foremost, focused on defeating President Obama. They are more focused on blaming every negative aspect of society on him, personally. They rant and rave about all the ‘promises’ he made that he has not fulfilled. I challenge you to name one President who can boast of fulfilling every campaign promise they made. I challenge you to admit that our economy was in a free fall, before the new administration took office. We all have differences of opinion as to what or who caused that shortfall, but it was there. I challenge you to produce evidence of there being more unrest in the world today, than there was in the previous 8 years, before Obama was elected. I challenge you to produce evidence that the tax reforms of the early years of this century produced more jobs. I challenge you to prove it is Obama’s energy programs that are causing the rise in gas prices. Whether he supports ‘drill baby drill’ or not doesn’t account for the fact that new well drilling for gas and oil is exceeding the available rigs and manpower to drill. His dragging his feet on approving the Keystone pipe line shouldn’t be affecting local prices of gasoline. Most of that oil is not destined for local markets. There is considerable debate over the long term job creation from that project. There is ample evidence that those supportive of the project have grossly over calculated the number of jobs and immediate economic benefits. I’m sure those opposing the project have over calculated the negatives of the project. Can President Obama, personally, be held accountable for either side’s misrepresentation?
I wish all the candidates, party spokesmen, editorial writers, and talk show pundits would cease and desist with their character assassinations and former program criticisms and start talking in realistic manner of their ideas that will improve our nation. They cannot deliver on every idea or promise they make, even if they get a majority in both legislative houses. Utopia is not on the horizon, regardless of who wins or loses.
We are in trouble if any political party or religion gains absolute ownership of our nation. No man or idea can own a democracy and neither can any man or idea own religion.