I woke up this morning to find that the Trump administration had fired Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, because she refused to defend his refugee ban in court. Screw the independent judiciary.
Two days ago I learned that the Department of Homeland security was defying court stays of Trump’s executive order banning refugees.
A few days before that I saw a rich white woman talk about the threat of bear attacks in schools, and today she is poised to be approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions later today.
Oh! And did I mention that a white nationalist with no experience in national security is now sitting in on every National Security Council meeting?
The past few days have convinced me more than ever before of two things.
Americans desperately need to revive a liberal arts education. Focusing on education as a means to earn an income has left us bereft of critical thinking skills or the kind of historical knowledge that would help more people to recognize the serious danger Trump poses to democracy.
American Christianity is bankrupt. The fact that many good, church-going people voted for this man, even though they had serious misgivings about him, proves that far too many Christians do not know the difference between being a disciple of Jesus Christ and being a Republican.
I have never felt closer to principled conservatives than I do today. I desperately need them to step up, which they are beginning to do. The conservative public needs their leadership.
I have hope for Bob Corker, my senator from Tennessee, if for no other reason than that he has always struck me as a decent and reasonable human being.
There is political opportunity to be had here as well. The first Republican senator to hold a news conference denouncing Trump’s demagoguery will be the next GOP presidential frontrunner. Assuming we make it that long.
Perhaps my greatest struggle as an Orthodoxy Christian, indeed as a Christian in general, is the role of the church in politics. I have been thinking about this a lot in the wake of the refugee crisis and the Daesh attacks on Paris. Part of me wishes my church had a more cohesive response to these poignant issues. Yet another part of me is glad it does not.
I get the distinct impression that many Orthodox Christians think they are supposed to have an emperor. This is only a feeling. It is hard to quantify. I get it when Facebook friends seem to do everything they can to put a halo on Putin, I overhear it in conversations at coffee hour, and sometimes I see it in a blog’s subtext, like this post Fr. Stephen Freeman wrote back in December. Continue reading “Orthodoxy and Democracy: A Response to Fr. Stephen Freeman”
Having been caught up in other projects and deadlines, I picked up Pantelis Kalaitzidis’ Orthodoxy & Political Theology last night after several weeks’ absence. The following words reminded me of how our love for “Holy Tradition” can kill our witness.
A certain version of theology…[has] turned Tradition into traditionalism and taught us to associate the identity of the church mainly – or even exclusively – with the past, making us accustomed to an Orthodoxy that is permanently out of step with its time and history in general. In fact, Orthodox theology often suffers…from a kind of inertia with regard to participating in history and the socio-cultural context…Speaking about the church’s transforming presence and activity in society, culture, and politics is reduced to nothing more than wishful thinking. Continue reading “The Blessing and Burden of Holy Tradition”
If you don’t want tax dollars helping the sick and poor, then it’s time to stop saying you want a government based on Christian values.
I shared this picture on Facebook the other day because I agree with the sentiment, but I disagree with its simplicity. John Fugelsang correctly identified hypocrisy in the Christian Right, but he applied his diagnosis too broadly.
I recently wrote that a Christian should not carry a concealed weapon because it violated the spirit of martyrdom and self-sacrifice the church tries to teach us. One common objection to this point was that to choose not to kill in the defense of another human being would be unloving. I agree. It would be unloving to the potential victim, and it would be unloving to the potential victimizer. In the Orthodox Church, killing in defense of self and country is still a sin. Continue reading “Why Killing in Self-Defense is Still a Sin”
This morning I came across six theses by Pantelis Kalaitzidis on the role the church should play in public life. They are in his book, Orthodoxy and Political Theology, which was recommended by my friend Brandon Gallaher. When the book arrived, I flipped it over and read the following question on the back cover, “Why has Eastern Orthodoxy not developed a full-throated political theological voice?” This is the same question that drove my dissertation and drives my book. (Once again, Brandon hits the nail on the head!) Continue reading “The Public Role of Church and Theology”