Friday, May 13, 2005

Title IX, Judicial Outrages, and Christian Perverts

In Washington state, we now have the sad spectacle of middle school girls wrestling against boys. Here is a little blurb from the Seattle Times:

Girls who wrestled for several Puget Sound-area middle schools this year easily won their matches against boys from two private schools.

The girls stepped onto the mat. Their opponents from Tacoma Baptist and Cascade Christian stayed in their seats. The referee then raised the girls' hands to signal they'd won by forfeit.

But the easy victories didn't sit well with the girls, including Meaghan Connors, a seventh-grader at McMurray Middle School on Vashon Island. Her father, Jerry, is prepared to go to court over what he considers a clear case of sex discrimination.

The father of young Ms. Connors, a former Episcopal president and one-time pastoral assistant for social justice at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, will soon be heading to federal court to make sure his daughter has the legal right to roll around writhing on a mat with 13-year-old boys. Under any other circumstances, such behavior would be regarded as sexual assault. What a country!

I thought this was the most ridiculous thing I'd heard in my entire life until I read this. Evidently, the Supreme Court believes that the state of Michigan is discriminating against girls by scheduling basketball and volleyball games at "nontraditional" times of the year. I'm guessing Anthony Kennedy could cite some precedent from an EU legal decision.

Evangelical Christians have helped to foster this egalitarian nonsense. After all, it says right there in Galatians that men and women are equal, right?

"Warmonger's Beatitudes," courtesy of Lawrence Vance:

Blessed are the defense contractors: for theirs is the taxpayers’ money.
Blessed are they that kill: for they shall not comfort.
Blessed are the soldiers: for they shall bomb the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after blood: for they shall shed it.
Blessed are the vengeful: for they shall not show mercy.
Blessed are the war lovers in heart: for they shall see combat.
Blessed are the warmongers, for they shall be called the children of Mars.
Blessed are they which persecute for the state’s sake: for theirs is a government contract.
Blessed are ye when ye shall revile foreigners, and persecute them, and say all manner of evil against them falsely, for the state’s sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in the military: for so persecuted the military foreigners which were before you.

In 2000, voters of the sovereign state of Nebraska passed by a margin of 70-30 percent a constitutional amendment defining marriage. The amendment banned "gay marriage," civil unions and domestic partnerships. Yesterday, a federal judge, citing the 1st and 14th amendments, invalidated the amendment. "The court finds that Section 29 is directed at gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people and is intended to prohibit their political ability to effectuate changes opposed by the majority," said U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon. Can anyone say impeachment?

The Reverend Oprah Winfrey?

Appreciation and reservations, a note on Catholicism.

By the way, though I like to complain about evangelical politicization, what about Catholics? Numerous Catholic leaders, including Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, D.C., plan to unveil a new immigration reform program that amounts to the dissolution of the nation and its collective identity. Mark Godfrey comments, "This is not a new direction for the 'Church' built on the 'goodness' of man and universal atonement, rather universalism has been its modern creed. This is perhaps why we see so many conversions of Protestant 'intellectuals' to Catholicism. Their sociology and political economy takes primacy over their soteriology and Christology." I just assumed that perhaps the coffers of the American church were empty and in need of some replenishment.

George Bush on the role of religion in public life:

Role of religion in our society? I view religion as a personal matter. I think a person ought to be judged on how he or she lives his life or lives her life. And that's how I've tried to live my life: through example. Faith plays an important part in my life individually. But I don't ascribe a person's opposing my nominations to an issue of faith….The great thing about America is that you should be allowed to worship any way you want. And if you chose not to worship, you're equally as patriotic as somebody who does worship. And if you choose to worship, you're equally American if you're a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim.

Now there is a Christian statesman!

Bush appointee sodomized wife. This is simply deplorable. While we should be reticent, I think, to start talking about marital rape, just read this article and see if this is the sort of "Christian" man you want to see in public life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Darrell,

As though life isn't hard enough, one comes away from reading P. Andrew Sandlin's piece, Appreciation and Reservation, with the added burden of having to dispel the rather depressing notion that Protestant/Catholic interreligious dialog has gone absolutely nowhere in almost five hundred years. At issue only secondarily is the substance of his "reservations". What is more to the point is his apparent total lack of an understanding of the presuppositions that ground them. If Protestant polemics has a grave weakness, it is precisely in it's failure to grasp it's own history at a great enough depth. It is simply not enough to say, for example:

"The error of Rome is the error of blurring the distinction between Creator and creature ..."

without acknowledging to oneself the basis for this objection. If truth be known, it's more likely than not that Mr. Sandlin hasn't even the most vague idea of the underlying thought forms that inspire such comments. Although I cannot be entirely certain, he may rationalize that his complaint is based upon a particular and thoroughly reliable reading of Holy Writ but I'd never believe it. The question here is much more fundamental than proof texts and the opinions of commentators. It goes to the very concepts that we bring to Scripture before the fact and it is simply naive to believe that we approach it pristinely. The simple fact is that Martin Luther and John Calvin brought nominalist presuppositions to their theology - Luther candidly admitted as much - and that their overemphasis upon the distance between Creator and creature is the sad product. The resulting extrincisim has cheated generations of Protestants of important elements of their Christian inheritance and left them with nothing more than a judicial relation to the God that loves them. It was this simple fact that made a Catholic of me in 1987. Had the Reformers stuck to their legitimate complaints about abuses rather than having attempted to reinvent the religion from this embarkation point, much pain could have been averted.

But if Sandlin's difficulty is reducible to questionable presuppositions, what are we to make of Mark Godfrey's comments? These are to be accepted as a kind of legitimate analysis? I would hardly think so. Rather, in their disconnectedness and their lack of precision, they have all the earmarks of an emotional outburst. It wouldn't be hard for even the most ill-prepared of anti-Catholics to improve upon this offering. I would decline further comment, therefor.

Last, however, is this remark:

"I just assumed that perhaps the coffers of the American church were empty and in need of some replenishment."

I find this comment both unfair and offensive. Whatever the specific content of the USCCB immigration reform program - and it is still unknown - or however flawed it may seem at first report, after a telephone conversation today with an assistant to its executive director in Washington, D.C., I come away utterly satisfied that it is motivated by charity. To impune it in this way borders on calumny.

John Lowell

10:43 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...


The somewhat nasty shot to which you took umbrage at the end of the McCarrick blurb was not written by Mark, but yours truly. It was not intended as serious analysis, more ribbing than anything else.

Just to be “fair and balanced,” let me provide one example of “church growth” strategies I’ve come across recently in my circle. I received a letter from an SBC church not too long ago, and in their bid to put butts in the seats, they were giving away free dinners to KFC and bringing in a motorcycle jumper. Then they started advertising for “God and Country Sunday.” Ugh!

In short, there is plenty of fodder for parody in all of the various branches of Christendom, and while we should be respectful in discussing the important theological distinctions that prevent unity within the Body of Christ, as I try to be, a shade of sarcasm every now and again can’t be all bad, can it?

Indeed, you have been reading long enough to know that I don’t harbor anti-Catholic sentiments and believe that conservative Protestants and Catholics must be engaged in cultural co-belligerence without theological compromise. In fact, I am most concerned about cleaning up the barn in my own denomination and theological sphere first and foremost, and that is the direction I try to take my commentary and rambling thoughts. Some of my recent stabs in the direction of theological discourse more broadly have only arisen as I’ve noticed that there are some Catholic readers (and many non-Baptist Protestants) occasionally cruising by—most prominently, you. Thus, I saw something of an opportunity to have an occasional virtual discussion of some of the issues that divide Christians. And I certainly don’t want to offend you as your departure would shrink my readership by at least 25% :)

The goal here is to have language full of grace and seasoned with salt—and sarcasm can certainly fit the bill on occasion—but I think you are correct that I probably stepped a shade over the line. Such silliness is also a regrettable and somewhat certain consequence of writing quickly. In any case, I do apologize for giving offense.

Despite the snide nature of the remark, though, the critique stands. Here in Louisville, the diocese has been very hard hit by the priest abuse scandal. Schools are closing, administrative functions are being reorganized, etc. Yet the church found time and money to participate in the resettlement of a group of Somalis to Louisville.

I have no doubt that the stance of the church on the immigration issue is driven by charity. I merely wish that they would first find Mogadishu here in Louisville before bringing more of it. As an international institution, the church can do much to help third-world nations, and one good way of helping them is to encourage the best and brightest among their people to stay home and build a better life.

7:01 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home