Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things November 12, 2012

Elizabeth Drew: “A Victory Over Suppression?”

Despite their considerable efforts the Republicans were not able to buy or steal the election after all. Their defeat was of almost Biblical nature. The people, Democratic supporters of the president, whose votes they had plotted, schemed, and maneuvered — unto nearly the very last minute — to deny rose up and said they wouldn’t have it. If they had to stand in line well into the night to cast their vote they did it. The lines were the symbol of the 2012 election—at once awe-inspiring and enraging.

Andre E. Johnson: “Conservative Ideology and Theology at the Crossroads”

Conservative ideology and its kissing cousin, conservative theology has always been about maintaining the status quo; clogging up progress, grinding the forces of change. While both of these conservative groups, in an ideal world, have an opportunity to reshape and reconfigure their theological thought processes, chances are that they will not take advantage of the opportunity. Many will just double down on a more conservative interpretation of their own opportunistic shifting theology and in the process add to the growing number of dissatisfied former Christians looking for something relevant in their lives.

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush: “Election 2012: A New Day for Religion in America”

Christians cannot insist on a place at the center, but must move to being part of a wider circle of fellowship. We can recognize that our country has a wonderful heritage of Christianity, without subtly intimating that non-Christians occupy a place of second class citizenry. The most Christian act would be to love our neighbors of other faiths and no faith as equal partners who in our nation’s spiritual tapestry. [Tuesday’s] victory of the first Hindu to the US congress and the first Buddhist to the Senate only underscores the increasing and welcomed religious diversity in America.

The new religious vision for America insists on equal worth within our religious diversity. We reject the denigration of Muslims and distrust of people who have no religion. Part of religious diversity is acknowledging that we will disagree on matters of theology but that we can agree on matters of respect, and mutual commitment.

James W. McCarty III: “We Are Each Other’s Keepers: The Political Theology of Barack Obama”

Importantly, this story contains the first mention of the word “sin” in the Jewish or Christian scriptures. In what may be a surprise to some Christians, the word “sin” is not used in reference to Adam and Eve violating God’s command not to eat the fruit of a certain tree. Rather, “sin” does not enter the story of humanity until human beings hurting each other (and, as Obama points out, especially the “least of these”). Barack Obama recognizes this and infers that not to “keep” each other is to commit sin, a view that many of his opponents reject, especially in the political sphere. They describe such a stance to be paternalistic or a dictatorial and socialistic intrusion upon the liberty of individuals. Their vision of sin is one of private acts that offend God and not as public acts that injure others and the common good. Obama has consistently pushed against this theological vision with one of human interdependence.

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  • Uh didn’t someone say that they took like 3.5 hours waiting in line in Maryland to get to vote?

    BY my measure that counts as being “difficult to vote”. Who’s got ~3+ hours to waste like that? Not working people, that’s for sure.

  • Tricksterson

    We don’t know because Yahweh never answers him, he just changes the subject by asking him what he did.

  • Carstonio

     Where’s the petition for prosecuting Hank Williams Jr. as a war criminal?

  • ReverendRef

     Good points . . . none of which I ever considered.  And I have no idea how to prevent any of those fraud/suppression issues that you mentioned.

  • Hey, has anyone seen some goalposts around here?  I swear they were right here just yesterday.

  •  Perhaps that should go on a shirt: The South Shot First.

  • Lori

    I think Ted Nugent is probably ahead of him in line, but you should feel free to start the Hank Jr petition if it doesn’t exist. I’d sign it.

  • Signal Boosting some Romney Crony Capitalism.

    Seems Mitt wasn’t satisfied with trying to be all things to all people to become President. He wanted the government’s money, too.

  • Lori / Randy – I honestly am confused. It seems like we’ve turned a casual meaningless remark into a figure of speech.

  • Lori / Randy – I honestly am confused. It seems like we’ve turned a casual meaningless remark into a figure of speech.

  • Beroli

    Yes, Cain is saying he isn’t responsible for his brother. He is also being blatantly evasive about the fact that he murdered said brother. But “meaningless”? Really?

    The point of that passage, is that the answer to his flippant rhetorical he-wants-the-answer-to-be-no question would be yes. Yes, you are responsible for your brother due to your common humanity, and if God asks you where he is you’d better have a better answer than “not my problem,” even if you didn’t actually, literally bash his head in.

  • I think it’s a weak saying

  • Beroli

    Yeah, well–such are the thought processes of someone who responds to the idea of a business which can’t pay its employees failing with “that’s horrible,” and has no response at all to people dying of easily treatable diseases.

    God should have asked, “Where is the corporation your brother started?” Then you’d have no trouble at all understanding what was wrong when Cain said, “Am I my brother’s corporation’s keeper?”

  • Carstonio

    I’ve long had questions about how “my brother’s keeper” applies to self-destructive behavior, but that’s a side issue and too long of a discussion to have here. I liked how Obama articulated the principle during the campaign, where the responsibility is not just individual but also societal.

    The thought processes you describe amount to “life is a competition.” At best, it’s a disturbing disconnect as if everyone were in a giant Monopoly game, with winning or losing having no consequences in the real word away from the playboard. Unless, of course, friendships or family relationships end up strained if some players are overly ruthless.

  • It has nothing to do with the politics o it. I just think the saying is not what the bible meant and makes no sense.

  • EllieMurasaki

    So what did the author of that bit of Genesis mean by the verse that has become the saying ‘my brother’s keeper’? Since you’re so clearly the resident expert.