Questions to Consider as the Election Approaches

Mike Jordan Laskey has a new article at NCR. He writes:

I have not spent as much time praying and reflecting around this election as I have shouting, complaining, and eye-rolling. So, borrowing in part from the three groups I met, here are some questions I’d like to wrestle with over the next two weeks….

Which candidate do I think would be better for unborn children, immigrants and refugees, racial and ethnic and religious minorities, prisoners on death row, the unemployed and the underpaid, the homeless, the hungry, parents struggling to provide for their families here at home and around the world, those living in war zones, and others on the margins? What do I do if no candidate gets all of it right?

Are my expectations of a president realistic? Or do I think of our president-to-be as a sort of supreme monarch? Do I put too much hope in political leaders? Too little hope?…

Do I blame others or “the system” for the vitriol of this election season? Have I played a role in perpetuating a politics of anger and suspicion? Have I done anything to build up a politics of love? How are racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and other -isms at work in my heart?

If the candidates aren’t talking much about issues that are important to me, what can I do about that? How can I engage constructively in the political process after the election has come and gone?

Ten years from now, when I tell my now 15-month-old daughter about this election and my participation in it, what will my story be?

You can read the full article here.


Stop Pretending Trump is a Strong Ambassador for Christian Values

Today on Fox News, I debated Donald Trump’s evangelical advisor.

Though he argued that Trump has been transformed since he recently “gave his life to Christ,” I argued that his behavior doesn’t show it.

This is a man who praises a dictator and calls the pope a “disgrace.”

This is a man who mocks the disabled, belittles veterans, and bans Muslims.

After being accused of multiple instances of sexual assault, Trump denied the charges this week saying that the women “weren’t attractive enough” to assault.

This is a man who thinks belittling and shaming women makes him bigger.

This is a man who told the nation last night that he’s too proud to accept losing a free and fair election in the world’s oldest democratic republic.

You can vote for Trump, but you shouldn’t do so by pretending he’s a strong ambassador for faith values.

Because time and again, he shows that the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson are true: “who you are screams so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”

You can watch the video here:


Cardinal Sean Leads Interfaith Fight against Marijuana Legalization

via the Boston Globe:

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley met with more than 40 interfaith leaders Tuesday to discuss strategies to defeat a state ballot measure that would legalize recreational use of marijuana.

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston warned that making marijuana legal would exacerbate the opioid epidemic, entice more children to use drugs, hurt poor neighborhoods, and threaten public safety.

“To me, this is greed trumping common sense and also undermining the common good,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “It will change the culture of this state if this legislation is passed.”

The gathering, at the archdiocesan headquarters in Braintree, included priests representing Greek and Coptic Orthodox, Episcopal, and Armenian Catholic congregations. It also included the Black Ministerial Alliance, evangelical and Pentecostal pastors, local imams, and others. The archdiocese said that Jewish leaders were invited but could not attend because of Sukkot, a holiday celebrating the fall harvest.

An Election Time Parable

In a time when Jesus’ nation was marred by bitter political and religious divisions, when Jews and Samaritans regarded each other with mutual distrust and disdain, he told a famous parable. Were he to tell a similar parable today, it might go something like this:

(If you identify as a Democrat, read the text as written. If Republican, read the parentheticals instead.)

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A Democratic [or Republican] voter was going down from D.C. to his polling site in Bethesda to cast his ballot, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a Democratic [or Republican] senator was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Democratic [or Republican] representative, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Trump supporter [or Clinton supporter] while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having applied Bacitracin to them. Then he put him in the leather passenger seat of his own car, brought him to a hotel, took care of him, and arranged for an absentee ballot. The next day he paid the concierge for an additional two nights’ stay, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor and countryman to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’*

* Based on Luke 10:25-37.

Pope Francis on Vanity, “an Osteoporosis of the Soul”

Pope Francis recently addressed vanity in one of his homilies:

Greed, vanity, and pride are the roots of all evils….

The vanity that makes us swell up. The vanity that does not have long life, because it is like a soap bubble. The vanity that does not give us true gain. What profit comes to the person for all the effort he puts into worrying? He is anxious to appear, to pretend, to seem. This is vanity. If we want to speak simply: vanity is covering up real life. And this makes the soul sick. Because in the end, if they cover up their real life in order to appear or to seem a certain way, all the things they do to pretend… What is gained? Vanity is like an osteoporosis of the soul: the bones seem good on the outside, but within they are totally ruined. Vanity makes us a fraud.

Pope Francis: To Fight Hunger, Combat Climate Change

via Vatican News:

The annual World Food Day is being observed this Sunday October 16th and has as its theme “the climate is changing.” In a message issued Friday to mark the occasion, Pope Francis said everyone has a responsibility to protect the planet for future generations….

The Pope said that this theme, “leads us to consider the fight against hunger as a goal even more difficult to achieve, in the presence of a complex phenomenon such as climate change.”

The Holy Father again stressed the importance of being stewards of creation, adding that, “we must first admit that the various negative effects on our climate have come from the daily conduct of persons, communities, peoples and states.”

He underlined that ethical and moral choices were not enough to protect the planet. What was also needed, he said, was political action, and that meant making the “necessary choices to discourage or encourage behaviors and lifestyles, for the benefit of the younger generation and those to come.

In his message, Pope Francis paid particular attention to those who suffer as a direct result of climate change, including, whom he called climate migrants, those who work in the fields, farming, small-scale fisheries, forests, or those live in rural areas in direct confrontation with the effects of climate change. But the Pope noted that much can be learned from rural communities, such as, adapting a lifestyle “that can help defend against the logic of consumption and production at all costs.”…

Concluding his message the Holy Father said he echoed, “the desire of so many in hoping that the objectives outlined by the Paris Agreement do not remain pretty words, but that they would become courageous decisions.”