Consider these two stories which sit side by side in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald.
1. Pentagon set to drop Geneva convention.
2. Bush looks to question of gay marriage to boost his fortunes: With his approval rating down to about 30 per cent, what is an embattled president to do? For Bush, on the advice of his senior adviser Karl Rove*, the answer is obvious: focus attention on what has to be the biggest problem facing the country. This week the pressing issue of gay marriage will dominate Washington politics.
Torture is good. Extending the idea of family to embrace all loving relationships is bad.
Oh yes, makes a lot of sense, that.
And a special medal needs to be struck for oleaginous Cardinal George Pell for throwing petrol around the burning house.
However, lest all that perversity comes to be read as the inevitable stance of Christians, even conservative ones — because that would be far from the truth — read this interview with the amazingly humane Philip Yancey.
…Jacques Ellul makes the comment somewhere, “How is it that the Christian gospel produces societies, the values of which are the opposite of the Christian gospel?” If you just ask somebody, around the world, “Tell me what stands out to you about the United States,” they’ll say, “military power, unbelievable wealth by the world’s standards, and sexual license.” All three of these are radically anti-Jesus. So how is it that we’re viewed as the most Christian country in the world and yet characterized by the least Christian characteristics?…
I never supported the war with Iraq at all. I wrote a column about the perception of America as the big bully in the world, about why it matters what the world thinks of us. I made the comment that there’s one group of very conservative Christians who almost universally opposed the war: foreign missionaries. Their bodies are on the line. If America is perceived as this giant bully imposing our will on the world, then their lives are in danger…
And visit the “God is still speaking” site of the US United Church of Christ (though personally I wish they would offer a low-tech mirror for those like me who have older computers.)
No matter who — no matter what — no matter where we are on life’s journey –– notwithstanding race, gender, sexual orientation, class or creed – we all belong to God and to one worldwide community of faith. All persons baptized — past, present and future — are connected to each other and to God through the sacrament of baptism. We baptize during worship when the community is present because baptism includes the community’s promise of ‘love, support and care’ for the baptized — and we promise that we won’t take it back — no matter where your journey leads you.
Do not accept the hijacking of religion by extremists of any kind.
*Karl Rove is such a righteous figure, isn’t he? His CV will provide analysts, including psychoanalysts, with a whole raft of issues for many years to come.