Saturday, July 29, 2006

Clerical Silence and Moral Babbling

Via Pro Eccclesia, an op-ed by Kenneth C. Daniel, TV producer and armchair theologian:

A few years ago, there was a popular bumper sticker and bracelet. It was the essence of simplicity; four letters, followed by a question mark — WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? Most of the stickers have either faded into oblivion or have been replaced by other causes, such as Support Our Troops or God Bless America.

Frankly, because most people don't care what Jesus would do in ALL situations, they prefer to cherrypick issues that irk them, and leave their favourite vices unquestioned. Hey, you asked.

As the WWJD bumper stickers disappeared, did the message vanish as well? The idea began to haunt me. The more I mulled it over, the darker and more foreboding the tempest swirled, until a single question emerged from this maelstrom of thoughts and emotions: Where is the voice of our spiritual leaders? Where are the sentinels of our souls, raising their voices, asking the tough questions, protesting injustice, condemning corruption?
So, I ask you, clergy, where is your voice?

They're all around you, Kenneth, but because they're busy praying the Rosary in front of abortion clinics, you never get their perspective. There are plenty of shepherds, but many of the sheep aren't interested in being led that way. Something tells me you'd fall into that category, as you're expressing bewilderment at the silence of the stray sheep's backside in front of you.

• WWJD about a war initiated on deception in which, every day, men and women — American, Iraqi, Afghani and others — are dying?

First of all, Jesus wouldn't call someone a liar unless there was some proof. Second of all, violence didn't solve those problems, did it.

• WWJD about so many of our leaders who loudly proclaim their Christian faith and devotion to God to gain our vote, then, once elected, lie and cheat and deceive?

Back to my comment above, for starters. Jesus would call these sinners to repentance, like He did with ALL sinners He encountered. Including you.

• WWJD about a government that places more importance on corporate profit than on the environment or the welfare of its citizens?

You know, corporations are made up of people, all who like to have employment and earn money to feed their families. Funny that. They also like to spend their money on homes, home repairs, cars, clothes, golf, etcetera. Employed carpenters, car salesmen and auto workers, retail workers, and greens keepers, we salute you.

• WWJD about a government that closes its eyes to so many countries where every day thousands of men, women and children die from diseases that can be easily prevented with affordable, accessible medicines? Or a government that protects the obscene profiteering of its medical and pharmaceutical corporations while hundreds of thousands of its own citizens are unable to afford medical insurance and treatment and die needlessly?

Hmm, the American government is only one outlet of aid to the poor of the entire world. The american people are another, donating billions of dollars that you so callusly disregard. Unless you want the government to be in charge of all that. But, given recent examples of mismanagement in the government, who would want that?

• WWJD with those of us who cry "traitor" and "un-American" at anyone who even so slightly questions our motives in the Middle East, even a mother whose son died there?

Hey, oil is a big part of national security, including yours. You drive a car? If the answer is yes, you're part of the problem.

Where is the logic in fighting a war on terrorism with every terrifying weapon available to us, just short of nuclear bombs? I'm fairly certain Jesus had a clear position on this.

Yes, I agree. We may slay our enemy, but we cannot quell the cycle of resentment and hatred with continued violence. We must convert our enemies through love, not fear of our sword. Sure, they can kill us, but what better way to reach Heaven than with a martyr's crown?

And we wonder why so many people all over the world hate us. We continually claim that it is because they are envious of our prosperity, when the real reason is our insistence that everyone must submit to our rules. We wave the flag, puff out our chests and proclaim, "God is on our side." And, of course, our God is male, white and conservative Christian.

Way to beat that straw man down, kenneth. You have no problem hating the prosperous, why not let everyone else have a turn? Iran insists that we follow their rules, as does China, France, and Russia. We just have enough capital to have our way, for a little while longer, anyway.

I ask you, when did the God of compassion, inclusion, tolerance and forgiveness become the God of retribution, condemnation and punishment? Is your silence prompted by a fear that your congregation might be offended and reduce their offerings? Or that the government will reassess your tax status? Or perhaps you have convinced yourself that politics and religion should be kept separate?

Jesus ALWAYS told sinners to repent, or do you only have the DNC's version of the bible? Too many preachers don't touch hot-button issues for the reasons you mention, else we'd be hearing more from the ambo about the evils of abortion, contraception, and homosexuality, and how we should welcome the alien. You wouldn't want that, would you?

So, I ask again, where is your voice? How much more can you tolerate before you speak out? Perhaps the question now should not be, WWJD? Perhaps the more appropriate question should be, WWYD? What will you do?

I'm just going to keep plugging on, working out my salvation in fear and trembling, and hope that my fidelity to ALL the teachings of Jesus, and the Church that HE founded, will inspire others to do so.

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