Topic: Couldn't be so...
Heresy - In the Specific Religious (and Los Angeles) Meaning of the Term
"In politics as in religion, it so happens that we have less charity for those who believe the half of our creed, than for those who deny the whole of it."
- Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832) from Lacon (1825)
People say Los Angeles is full of odd people. A few of my younger neighbors in the building moved here to become stars - tattoos, body piercing, purple hair and all. Down in Orange County we have the international headquarters of that group that is out to prove, conclusively, that the Holocaust never happened. Out in Riverside County we have the largest KKK coven outside the South. And that is not to mention the leather-skinned, rail-thin older Beverly Hills matrons tooling around in the Benz convertibles, or the seventeen-year-old Vietnamese dudes tooling up and down Sunset Strip in new four hundred thousand dollar Lamborghini speedsters. And we have all sorts of religious folks - the Hollywood Scientologist stars (Tom Cruse, John Travolta) for example. And there are still at lot of Foursquare churches out this way - the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel was founded in 1923 over the next hill in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles (incorporated and registered in the State of California on December 30, 1927) - Aimee Semple McPherson of Salford, Ontario moved here and got all excited.
It seems we also have a Los Angeles-based canon lawyer and an assistant judge with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles' tribunal, which seems to be an ecclesiastical court. He either has too much time on his hands, or an overly developed sense of righteousness. He's certainly a good Bush Republican. Or perhaps he is a tad insecure in his faith and is just asking for a little help here.
And I don't recall the Catholic Church charging anyone with heresy since that Inquisition business way back when. Well, maybe they have. Not having any, I don't follow religion and news about it all that much.
But this caught my eye. Imagine John Kerry on the rack, or being dipped in boiling oil.
Kerry cited in Catholic heresy case
Julia Duin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, June 30, 2004
Cool. I wonder how far this will go?
Well, Kerry keeps going to Mass, and receiving communion. His business, not mine.
But he is confusing people. He is opposed to the death penalty - as is the Church. He seems to say things about helping the poor and unfortunate and those suffering and all that. Not so radical, as the Church often says such things, and does help out now and then. But Kerry doesn't much think it is his business to tell women what they can and cannot do regarding abortion. He seems to think this is pretty much their own personal decision and they have to work it out as best they can - balancing the moral, medical, religious and all other considerations. Saying that it is something each woman should wrestle with and decide? That seems to be the deal-breaker.
And now it is a political issue too.
Catholicism Plays New Role in Election - Experts
Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 12:03 PM ET - byline Ellen Wulfhorst
This is madness.
Okay, consider France, a country half of America gleefully reviles. There most everyone actually is Catholic, for real, and will say something nice about the Pope if pressed, and enjoys all the Saints Days when you don't have to go to work. But none of them I know take these centuries of Catholicism all that seriously. It's kind of like cultural background noise. And politicians there run on actual issues - issues of governance, of taxes and services, on immigration policy, on safety. The nuts and bolts stuff of how things run. One doesn't see French, or any European politicians, running on their religious fervor and promises to follow the teaching of the Church, much less on their personal relationship God. Voters would think them quite loony. You don't get points for shouting you've been born again. Hell, folks would cross the street to avoid you.
Here? We eat it up.
Well, maybe that's what wrong with them and right with us. Or maybe it's the other way around.
Comments? Rick the News Guy in Atlanta -
The Bush campaign is working hard on "reaching out" churchgoers according to this in the Washington Post. In short, the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign has sent a detailed plan of action to religious volunteers across the country asking them to turn over church directories to the campaign, distribute issue guides in their churches and persuade their pastors to hold voter registration drives.
Now this could cause any one of these churches to lose its tax-exempt status. These churches might become de facto and then de jure political organizations. But there is Republican-sponsored legislation working its way through the halls of congress to have that change of status be considered only after three violations of the rules on these matters. Think of this change in the law as an exemption made so you can keep your exemption. If you're a golfer - think of it as a "two Mulligan" rule.
But what are you being asked to do?
You got a problem with that?
I don't recall where I saw this comment, but someone suggested that if he belonged to a church that provided the member directory to a political campaign, he'd be really annoyed. And he wondered if you can sue a church because they didn't issue a privacy statement telling you that your personal information could be passed on to a third party, for non-religious purposes, without your knowledge or consent?
But it would be disconcerting to be attending your Church as usual and suddenly find yourself on the Bush-Cheney mailing list, being asked for time and money to help out. And then suddenly find your Church softball team is wearing "Bush Rocks" uniform shirts. And then find yourself being button-holed by your fellow parishioners to vote the right way in November.
So you find your church suddenly shifted into something it hadn't been before. Would you assume its your fault and your faith had been, up until this summer, inadequate - that you hadn't seen who God had chosen and you should support? You'd then feel both humbled and enlightened. Your fellow parishioners and your spiritual leaders had opened your eyes.
Or maybe you'd resent it. Maybe you think religion and politics are separate spheres - one personal and one civic. Then you'd be kind French. Could you live with that?