Saturday, November 5, 2016

Religion and Geopolitics Review: Saturday, November 5

by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch


CATHOLIC SPRING: Recent Wikileaks emails to Hillary Clinton campaign boss John Podesta talk about a "Catholic Spring" to try to get the Catholic Church more in line with the sexual ideology of the Democratic Party. Catholic News Agency asks if there is more to this story. We will take up this question after the election, but we are not sure the Catholic Church is the victim of Democrats. Is it possible that the sexual revolutionaries in mainline Protestant churches, as well as dissident priest and nuns in  the Catholic Church, degraded the short-lived white working class and Black Baptist alliance of the Democratic Party? The Catholic priesthood became a center of homosexuality long before the trade unions. And Catholic sisters rejecting a Marian femininity while embracing the shrillest anti-patriarchy theology preceded Hillary for President by 40 years. The corruption of our religious orders and the priesthood especially in terms of sexual identity became the engine for the middle-class feminist revolt against the working men and the anti-communist patriots once represented politically by the Democratic party. The theme we will explore is that the revolution against the patriarchy of God and the sacred started in the churches and bled into the political parties.

STORY BEHIND THE STORY - WE DON'T KNOWSulpicians leave San Francisco Seminary - is this good or bad? Like almost all issues of seminary formation and changes in Catholic clerical leadership, the real story is behind the headlines. There is a story here. We don’t know it. In general, modern Sulpician formation has been light on priestly holiness, heavy on psychobabble, and deeply implicated by the lavender influence. They remain at Catholic University where their tie to the notorious homophilic St. Luke Institute is damning indeed. The Archbishop of San Francisco is Salvatore Cordileone, who replaced the Sulpician rector of the seminary soon after he was installed as San Francisco’s first masculine bishop in a half century.

POPE FRANCIS ON FINALITY OF NO PRIESTLY ORDINATION OF WOMENIt doesn’t get any clearer - but why is the NCR the only one reporting with headlines? This is another example of "conservative intellectuals" and their media outlets ignoring the clarity and orthodoxy  of Pope Francis.

SACRED MUSICStravinsky and the sacred.

CHRISTIAN POLITICAL REVIVAL IN SOUTH AMERICA: Will it be the Protestants who lead the South American nations away from those failed movements of the modern West: Marxism, and libertine atheistic feminism? An evangelical mayor from Brazil proposes a new synthesis. He is Rio de Janeiro’s newly elected mayor, Marcelo Cribella.

The Chicago Cubs won the seventh game of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians on November 2, 2016. All week, though, Cub fans had been honoring the dead. Was there any more beautiful sign of remembrance and love for our ancestors than the commitment of Cub fans to bring the symbols of the long awaited victory to the graves of their parents? Their forefathers instilled that loyalty in them during a century in the desert. They were not forgotten in the season of deliverance. Let us live life fully. Let us remember the dead.


SAUDI ARABIA - THE REAL ENEMY: Is the US reconsidering its aid to Saudis in Yemen? There was new outrage at a deliberate strike of a funeral of the father of a high Houthi official with many other non-Houthi leaders  present and endangered while paying their respects.
A Catholic priest escapes ISIS - his simple message to the world: "Stop supporting Saudi Arabia.”

The Saudi feud with Gaddafi and the media which fed the narrative leading to the Libyan intervention. One especially binding link with the Saudis is arms dealers and US-made weapons.

The Saudis are committed by their brand of Islam to degrade any possible Shiite state or armed defense of a Shiite community. The Saudis have never recognized the post-Saddam Iraq government because of its Shiite majority. It has pushed for war with its primary Shiite rival: Iran. It now bombs the Houthi Shiites across the border in Yemen. The Sauds are long-time friends of the Bush family. They are huge donors to American universities, foreign policy think tanks, and the Clinton Foundation (10 to 25 million dollars).

The policy of Saudi Arabia for now is consonant with Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu who named Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq as Israel’s greatest enemies in the Mideast. Siding with the jihadist wing of Sunni Islam has taken pressure off the Israeli Palestine fault line and focused armed opposition against Iran. Israel has basically been at war with Iran since the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. The Israelis also have a serious armed enemy in the Shiite forces in Lebanon organized as Hezbollah. The anti-Shiite policy of the Wahhabi cult in Saudi Arabia is a dangerous but effective ally for Israel for now. This should not be US policy however. We do not consider Iraq and Afghanistan among our most serious enemies. This is the great contradiction at the heart of US policy as another presidential election passes without an open debate on the matter. When the election is over, however, there are going to be many forces ready to realign the relations of America with Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, Syria and Israel. The overwhelming source of jihadist terrorism in the world is NOT Iran. It is the Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia and their counterparts in Pakistan. The attacks of 9/11 should have been a wake-up call that American interests and the Saudi strategy had become diametrically opposed. The need for candidate support and party consolidation during the election has muted a building anti-Saud coalition of honest journalists, 9/11 victim families, the anti-war left and the non-interventionist right. No matter who is elected, these forces will be unleashed after November 8th.



FBI REOPENS EMAIL INVESTIGATION: Maybe all those prayers stirred the consciences of our lawmen and the mercy of God. It is mindful of another nation being chased into the Red Sea with hardly a hope when a sudden act of God intervened to save them. In the end, we are in God’s hands  but He still requires that we assemble at the edge of the sea where he can work his miracle.  Our best argument for Mr Trump.   A compilation of the best election arguments we have read--Summing up Mr. Trump. 


RUSSELL MOORE ON THE RELIGIOUS RIGHTFirst Things editor R.R. Reno has revitalized political writing in the magazine with some excellent insights on nations and the present election. Unfortunately, none of this was displayed in Russell Moore’s Erasmus Lecture. When Christian leaders decry the sins of Donald Trump in terms of degrading speech and unsolicited touch, rather than condemn his adultery, there is something to suspect. The pastor is using someone else’s metric. There is no outcry against adultery but outrage about his touch initiatives because the modernist is not offended by disloyalty between consenting adults. Pastor Moore’s approach to Trump was incoherent in terms of a biblical approach by a prophet to the would-be-king. A very nice man is Baptist leader Russell Moore, but his silence as a religious leader about the role of our nation in the war against jihadists is damning evidence that the ever-narrowing conversation of George Weigel and Pastor Moore in Robbie George’s living room will not produce a biblical response for the men of our nation in this present crisis. The purpose of the preacher is to call men to attention to hear the word and live it out in establishing the Kingship of Christ. Donald Trump has been significantly more aggressive about defending  persecuted Christians with real political force than any of the purists who find him so revolting. While the white conservative Christian  intellectual elite  gathered in New York to praise themselves, across the world many dark-skinned Christians prayed that the less pure more vigorous American would lead his nation to militarily protect them from the demonic jihadists at their doors.

FROM A RESPONSE TO MOORE BY SUSANNAH BLACK: Her criticism of his lack of political sensibility other than the prophetic is remarkably astute. Her understanding that "God cares about the nations even after the birth of the Church" is illuminating. Her appreciation of such categories exposes the depressing poverty of Moore’s lecture.
"Moore’s notion of Christians speaking in the public sphere seems to be almost exclusively church people, churchmen, speaking prophetically against the state. A Christian literally in politics, in power, is deeply weird to him and weird along the same angle as a Christian reasoning with a 'prince' rather than speaking prophetically to him. A society where Christians have a role other than speaking prophetically and living private church lives would, I think, freak him out.

The antipolitical stance that goes along with this prophetic stance carries another problem too. Here’s the thing: Many of us, many Christians, have many, many, many non-Christian friends and family members. We are bound to them with the kinds of human ties of common life that are the seeds of political association. We do projects with them. I’ve recently just cleaned out my basement, for example, alongside my family, who are not Christians. Then we made pot roast. We laughed and strategized and were human together. To deny that Christians can act politically in the world, to say that worldly politics is wicked only, seems to me to imply that all friendship, all collaboration, all common life with non-Christians is fake.

There’s another problem, this one less relational, though not less important. To say that Christians can only act politically or can speak to politicians in a prophetic mode implicitly denies that we can read or understand history as history. There’s a weird balance to be struck here: We mustn’t shove God out of post-New-Testament history. One of the reasons that we should read books like Hilaire Belloc’s Europe and the Faith is the sense he gives of God not having stopped caring about nations after the birth of the Church: God acts in history in the birth and adventures of the nations too. Warren Carroll does this in a more lurid and cheeseball way in his jillion-page History of Christendom. But the supernatural element to history must not drown our ability to understand it in common with our non-Christian fellow memory-bearing humans. Ordinary historical understanding, ordinary research, ordinary political history counts too. And to reject politics is to reject this kind of common remembering. We need both."
Mrs. Black gets at the heart of the history and polity discussion that is central to the Christian realism of Christopher Dawson and Russell Hittinger and sadly lacking in most First Things writing these days.

THE ALT RIGHT AND WHITE NATIONALISM: A good review by Scott McConnell at American Conservative.

THE CHAIN OF BEING AND THE ECLIPSE OF GOD: Why the right without God is a loser.


LOOKING FOR A THEOCENTRIC CULTURE: In 1978, Solzhenitsyn caused great controversy when he criticized the secularism and hedonism of the West in his famous commencement address at Harvard University. Condemning the nations of the so-called free West for being morally bankrupt, he urged that it was time "to defend not so much human rights as human obligations." The emphasis on rights instead of responsibilities was leading to "the abyss of human decadence" and to the committing of "moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror." At the root of the modern malaise was the modern philosophy of "rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy," which declared the "autonomy of man from any higher authority above him." Such a view "could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the centre of all."

MANENT ON THE DEEPER BONDS: Pierre Manent, one of France’s most renowned liberal intellectuals, formerly an associate of Raymond Aron, on the slaughter last July of 85-year-old Catholic priest Jacques Hamel outside Rouen:
The French are exhausted, but they are first of all perplexed, lost. Things were not supposed to happen this way. … We had supposedly entered into the final stage of democracy where human rights would reign, ever more rights ever more rigorously observed. We had left behind the age of nations as well as that of religions, and we would henceforth be free individuals moving frictionless over the surface of the planet. … And now we see that religious affiliations and other collective attachments not only survive but return with a particular intensity.
JAPAN AND RUSSIA (ABE AND PUTIN) TO MEET TO SETTLE BORDERS AND END WWII: Resolving the border island ownership is a festering wound that neither statesman wants to pass to the next generation. Abe and Putin to meet.

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