Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Detention centers, disaster relief and God

Hat tip to Zen for the inspiration on this post. He blogged about Halliburton's contract for a nearly $400 million detention center to handle a rush of immigrants.

This has been one of the most vocally religious presidencies since perhaps Abraham Lincoln. Yet, for all the pretension of holiness, this administration has been Godless in its results: Divisive election politics. Wars. New Orleans.

On Sunday's Meet the Press, Sister Joan Chittister said one of those phrases that resonates (my emphasis for the phrase):
SISTER CHITTISTER: ... I’m agreeing that we’re in this together, that, that we have to see life as, as our basic value that we have. We’re politicizing religion. Having religion in the public arena is one thing, politicizing it is another. If we, if we do that, we’ll lose pluralism for Puritanism. We don’t want to do that. We’re risking the country at the same time.

The function of the church is to form and shape consciences. We have two different kinds of laws. We have laws that require and laws that permit. Nobody—when Catholics did not believe in divorce—do not believe in divorce.

We never asked the United States government to outlaw the divorce procedure. We never said that’s the only way this can be an honorable nation. Now we’re back into those kinds of questions. If we’re looking for, for, for a moral standard, we have to do something about looking at the national budget. Your national budget is theology walking. If we’re really a pro-life country and not a pro-birth country, we, we won’t be taking from all the life bodies in order to feed a war body. Somehow or other, we have got to be willing to live in our denominations the best we can in those denominations, growing—open to growing into answers that are coming to us from other people, other places, other sciences. That’s, that’s my great concern. I believe it’s you all come. I don’t want anybody in a, in a time of great newness and emerging ideas to say, “Everybody, but you.”
The previous religious president, the Great Emancipator, never declared who was right or who was wrong. He delineated clearly the differences in position, but never ascribed the Almighty's judgment from his own knowledge. From the great Second Inaugural:
Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Studied, sincere humility would have been a gracious addition to this presidency. It is far too late to recover what has been lost. But, as the Clinton administration taught that moral failings can imperil a chief executive's agenda, may we now learn that false religiosity can be as distateful as excessive secularism.

Note: I will be unable to blog over the coming days due to family matters.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no! Halliburton is coming! The worst of all fears! The global war machine accompanied by (GASP) martial law? What will the liberals do?? Let's sic the ACLU on the white house, or better yet, let's get PETA on the move, but first, we'd best attack the creators of south park for making a mockery out of the left.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they're back! they're back! halliburton's back! they've come to take our liberties away, they're back! oh no!!!!! Led by dick cheney, they're back!!!!! global warming, what a mess! our nation is in quite a distress! they hate fags, they hate abortion! our nation is in quite a distortion!

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at me, look at me! I'm member of the Gop! Civil rights? They're not worth the fight! Global warming? That ain't caused by pollution; you can't trust a scientist who studied evolution. I wish the UN resemebled the League of Nations. I can't understand why black don't just get an education. I disagree with Amendments 1 and 3 through 10. I wish number 18 would come back again. We need terrorst prevention, let's suspend the Geneva Convention! New ideas isn't what this nation is all about, just read a history book if you have a doubt.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Xanthippas said...

You know it's funny, but no matter which blog I visit "anonymous" never really has anything to offer.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:40 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

agreed. I am starting to really dislike these anonymous remarks.

11:17 PM  

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