7 things @ 9 o’clock (11.27)

7 things @ 9 o’clock (11.27) November 27, 2013

1. Pope Francis made a big splash yesterday with Evangelii Gaudium — an 84-page “apostolic exhortation” that I hope to get to read more of soon. The snippets I’ve seen so far sound … feisty:

• “Today, everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without possibilities, without any means of escape.”

• “I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: ‘Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs.'”

• “Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an ‘education’ that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized …”

• “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”

• “The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings.”

Some initial reactions and thoughts from: James Martin, Daniel Burke, Eric J. Lyman, David Badash, Adventus, Timothy Morgan.

2. Evangelii Gaudium means “Joy of the Gospel,” and Francis’ exhortation apparently urges Christians to conduct evangelism from a place of joy. Perhaps a more important consideration for Christian evangelism awaits us in an upcoming decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to determine whether or not American for-profit corporations are, in fact, persons with religious beliefs.

If the Supreme Court rules that corporations are religious people, then evangelicals will have to start preaching the gospel to this guy. No, not to the human being in the costume, but to the actual corporate entity, Burger King Worldwide Inc. (BKW).

If Hobby Lobby et. al. are determined to be such people — faithful, religious people — then our duty as Christians is clear: We must preach the gospel to all corporations and save their immortal souls.

It saddens me to think of all the corporations that may have been dissolved in bankruptcy before this legal decision. They died in their sins without ever hearing the gospel and having the chance to pray the sinners prayer.

We’re going to have to start flooding Wilmington, Del., with armies of missionaries to reach the unreached people groups of the NYSE and the NASDAQ.

3. Interesting and somewhat encouraging: “Truth Wins Out commended The Salvation Army today for removing links to two notorious ‘ex-gay’ ministries that it had listed as sexual addiction resources. The move is consistent with the organization’s new campaign against LGBT discrimination.”

4. Trigger warning for this because it’s a tale of rape, rape-culture and injustice. But it’s also a tale of enormous courage and righteous anger in response to all of that. Melissa Harris-Perry’s interview with Courtney Andrews is incredibly powerful.

5. District court nominations by white presidents filibustered in U.S. Senate in all of American history: 3

District court nominations by black presidents filibustered in U.S. Senate: 20

Senate filibusters of executive nominees by white presidents since World War II: 20

Senate filibusters of executive nominees by black presidents since World War II: 54

6. “Here too’s a cause divinely spun
For those whose eyes are on the sun,
Here in epitome
Is all disgrace
And epic wrong.

Like wine to brace
The minstrel heart, and blare it into song.
Surely, I said,
Now will the poets sing.
But they have raised no cry.
I wonder why.”

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  • Benjamin Thomas

    Oh, please don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of reasons to believe that a lot of the Republican Party is hugely racist and this drives their problem with Obama – the point is that you cannot derive that simply from these statistics – as that would be a false cause (correlation/causation) fallacy of the highest order.

    Just because the conclusion may be right for other reasons doesn’t mean there aren’t invalid arguments that also lead to it.

    For instance:

    Cheese is generally made from Cow’s Milk – therefore – Senate Republicans are hugely racist.

    Again, the conclusion is probably right for other reasons, and the premise is undoubtedly true – but that doesn’t mean the argument is valid.

  • Original Lee


  • Yeah, no.

    When something is in accord with the large and institutionalized pattern of racism it is racist. It doesn’t matter what’s in someone’s heart or mind — the fact that they didn’t care enough about the fact that they were reinforcing the larger pattern is sufficient to deem it racist even if there wasn’t anything else racist about it.

    What you’re doing is why wee haven’t stamped out racism: it’s easier to just keep saying “No, really, none of these 100 independent things are themselves racist; the fact that they disadvantage one particular race is just a coincidence. There’s no racism here. Look at each thing in total isolation and you’ll see that none of these 100 individual things passes muster as racist therefore none of them are racist. Don’t look at the aggregate fact that these “isolated incidents” happen 50 times more often to one race than another!”

  • Benjamin Thomas

    Unfortunately for your argument – just saying “Yeah, no” – doesn’t suddenly make a logical fallacy into a valid argument.

    Once again – I’m not saying that they aren’t racist. I think they are – but that CANNOT be demonstrated from these facts alone.

  • The test for racism isn’t “Are they doing this because they are racist?” It’s “Does this action increase the extent to which some races are privileged over others”. Their actions do, and therefore they are racist.

  • Benjamin Thomas

    That’s a ludicrous test. In that case – any employer is racist if they employ a white person for any position because they could have employed a black person instead and slightly increased the lot of black people taken as a group.

    That “test” would make pretty much every single person racist. It therefore makes utterly no sense.