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The Social Gospel Is Very Political

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It is the political structures that determine who shall be rich and who shall be poor, who shall be free, and who shall be oppressed, who shall live and who shall die. Thus the social gospel is very political.

Mike Wisniewski, On The Line / Los Angeles Catholic Agitator

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http://lacatholicworker.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/faith-and-politics-sign.jpgAn excerpt: Tommy Douglas said,’Social justice is like taking a bath. You have to do it every day or pretty soon you start to stink.’ Who is Tommy Douglas? In 2004, he was “named The Greatest Canadian of all time by voters across Canada.” A Baptist minister, he provided pastoral care for people who died because they could not afford medical care. This injustice led him to enter politics, believing strongly that ‘the role of government’ was ‘to improve the lives of ordinary people.’ He became the premier of Saskatchewan, and then ‘forever known as the father of socialized medicine in Canada.

Tommy Douglas provides a timely example for American Christian faith leaders, their seminaries and related Clinical Pastoral Education training centers. Many of them need to take a ‘social justice’ bath — regularly! They often live off the reputation of the great prophets of their past, while mass- producing chaplains of the status quo. They tend to vicariously identify with the heroes of their faith, turning their prophetic movements into monuments and worshipping them. Stature is found in the statue. The power is in the prayer. The right is remembered in the rite. The movement is worshipped as a memory, and thus avoided as a model for continued moral risk-taking on behalf of oppressed people. In the face of the 2016 presidential campaign, their long avoidance of speaking reality and moral truth to political power has contributed to the rise of immoral candidates who stink up the place.

Mike Wisniewski, Editor, Los Angeles Catholic Agitator

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Pope Francis Walks With LGBTQ People, One Step Forward, Big Steps Back

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He is still a man marked by decades of theology that don’t recognize gender fluidity, he still struggles to understand feminism and its relationship with LGBTQ rights, and he still has to deal with leading a global church where simply being LGBTQ can get you killed in many countries.

Kaya Oakes, Religion Dispatches

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http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-10-at-10.58.04-AM-690x460.jpgOctober 11, 2016 | On immigration, the environment and the rights of the poor, Pope Francis has consistently pushed Catholics to fulfill what he sees as the church’s mission to “go to the margins.” On gender and sexuality, however, the Pope has occasionally seemed to twist himself in knots to avoid sounding like one of the narrow-minded church leaders he is often wont to criticize.

The pope and the Catholic church are both on a learning curve, scrambling to keep up with the larger social acceptance of LGBTQ people in many Western nations. Francis is, after all, a 79-year-old Argentine, and sometimes his ideas about gender reflect his complex responses to the pervasive machismo of the Latin American culture in which he was raised.

Kaya Oakes is the author of four books, including The Nones Are Alright: A New Generation of Seekers, Believers, and Those In Between (Orbis Books, 2015), and Radical Reinvention: An Unlikely Return to the Catholic Church (Counterpoint, 2012). She is a contributing writer at Religion Dispatches, America, Commonweal, Religion News Service, and many other publications.

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The National Review Says Because Theocracy Has Been Held Off, the Threat Never Existed

  • On the contrary, we have seen religious laws against abortion, contraception, marriage equality, religious diversity, education, and even global warming.
  • Ignored is what the Religious Right has done to itself, selling a program of hate and intolerance Americans increasingly reject. Each time it is rejected, rather than re-evaluate and moderate their tone, they double-down. The Republican platform in 2012 was the most theocratic we had seen until this year’s, which the Religious Right brags about having crafted.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, Politicususa 

http://15130-presscdn-0-89.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/prayer-in-school-701x433.jpg Sat, Aug 27th, 2016 | The Left has been warning about the threat of the Religious Right for years, and assuming repeatedly that the threat was past, only to see it arise again. In state after state we have seen violations of the First Amendment as religion is established through one piece of legislation or another.

We have seen laws against abortion, against contraception, marriage equality, against religious diversity in schools, against education, evolution, and even global warming on religious grounds – not to mention against religions other than Christianity (like anti-Sharia laws or not letting atheists run for office).

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, Senior Editor PoliticusUSA/Senior Columnist, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance.

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Related:

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The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government, Chris Hedges, Truthdig

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  • The rise of Christian fascism is aided by our complacency. The longer we fail to openly denounce and defy bankrupt liberalism, the longer we permit corporate power to plunder the nation and destroy the ecosystem, the longer we stand slack-jawed before the open gates of the city waiting meekly for the barbarians, the more we ensure their arrival.
  • How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

 

How a Group of Catholic Pacifists Took on the Nuclear State

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A review of Plowshares: Protest, Performance, and Religious Identity in the Nuclear Age ~ Kristen Tobey

Eric C. Miller, Religion Dispatches

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http://religiondispatches.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/plowsharesboook-307x460.jpg September 7, 2016 | Over the past four decades, a small group of Catholic activists has worked to symbolically disarm nuclear weapons. These activists have made headlines—and, in many cases, served prison sentences.

Plowshares activism was launched in 1980 by Daniel and Philip Berrigan, the duo of brother-priests previously known for their opposition to the Vietnam War. A select group of radical clergy and dedicated laypeople, the Plowshares have challenged the national security apparatus wielding little more than wire-cutters, hammers, prayers, and bottles of their own blood.

In Plowshares: Protest, Performance, and Religious Identity in the Nuclear Age, Kristen Tobey examines the methods of Plowshares activists, and she dives into their devout, dramatic, and often perplexing work.

Eric C. Miller is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. A regular contributor at Religion Dispatches, his research area sits amid religious rhetoric and public advocacy.

 
 

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