I know I’m gonna hear it for the snarky caption on the map graphic. And for my evolution education diatribe. I suppose my thinking grows a little more polarized and heuristic (can I use that as an adjective?) when I’m several hundred pages behind on my homework, and several hundred minutes behind on sleep, and still absolutely disgusted by the results of the election! (Dang! I’ve been trying to keep that under control!)
I’ve been meaning, since the “moral values” post-election day explanatory narrative started to take shape in the media, to link back to an oldie-but-goodie, a terrific column by Anna Quindlen entitled “At then Left Hand of God.” I linked to it way back in April, I think, when I started this blog — because it’s one of the things that made me want to. An excerpt:
When did it first become gospel that only conservatives knew God? It sure wasn’t true 40 years ago for a Roman Catholic kid in a Catholic neighborhood, when the knock on John F. Kennedy was that religion was likely to be too much a part of his politics and he’d be on the phone to the Holy See so often, the pope would be a de facto cabinet member. Jimmy Carter’s faith was as much a part of his persona as that Chiclets smile, and I’d like to meet the guy who could go head to head with Mario Cuomo on theology and not cry for mercy by the end of the exercise.
All that made perfect sense to me because I had long ago concluded that I had become a liberal largely through religion. Loving your neighbor as yourself, giving your cloak to the man who had none, blessed are the peacemakers: taken together, all of it seemed a clarion call to social justice and the obligation of individuals and institutions to help those who needed help. Jesus was the first radical rabble-rouser I’d ever read about in school, and the best.
Yet the other night I listened to Bill O’Reilly speak of “secularists” on Fox News, and as I tried to parse out who those secularists might be, I discovered to my surprise that they would be me…
My good friend Anne Carey filled in for our vacationing pastor at church today. Speaking to the Gospel text Luke 21:5-10 and the need for Christians to have the courage of their convictions, she worked her way to this elegant statement:
“It is crystal clear today that our national discourse on religion desperately needs to hear the voices of those who find in the gospel message of Jesus something more, something greater than the so-called ‘moral values’ of private piety. So I’ll go out on a limb here and propose that, according to the Gospel, eliminating povery is a moral value. Seeking peace is a moral value. Loving your neighbor is a moral value. Making an effort to understand who you neighbor is is a moral value. Caring for God’s good earth is a moral value. Working to heal divisions among God’s people and within the Christian family is a moral value. Welcoming the stranger and the alien, the widow and the orphan is a moral value. Justice for all, regardless of social position or economic status or any other form of classification, is most definitely a moral value. I didn’t just make all this up; every single value I mentioned is grounded in scripture.”