Tag: Christianity

Um… Thanks?

We have all heard the adage “better late than never.”

It’s a quaint concept, indicating that there is always time to correct a wrong, and that forgiveness is a virtue. Yeah, it’s all very uplifting.

But here’s another adage you may not have heard: “Deathbed confessions will not be accepted.”

Well, that one is not so much an adage as a dire warning. You see, in certain sects of both Christianity and Islam, a person cannot live a vile life, and then right before they kick off, get to say, “I repent.”

Sorry, you don’t get into paradise that way. The idea is that redemption doesn’t come cheap.

However, many Americans are fine with the political equivalent of deathbed confessions. That is the only way to explain the lusty cheering and teary-eyed thanks that many liberals are shouting at those few Republicans who are finally admitting that Trump is a disaster.

I mean, it has been perfectly obvious — after almost a year of nonstop presidential degradation — that the GOP standard bearer is less elder statesman and more vindictive racist liar in over his head who may get us all killed.

And yet the GOP is only now getting this.

It’s too bad nobody ever pointed it out to them.

In any case, before we trip over ourselves proclaiming how sanity is finally returning to the Party of Lincoln, let’s keep a few things in mind.

First, it’s worth noting that “the only elected representatives of the Republican Party in Washington who are willing to speak out against the dangers posed daily by Trump are either suffering from brain cancer or retiring from office.” No, standing up for your principles doesn’t mean as much when you do it while running out the door.

Second, even those Republicans who despise Trump’s malevolence tend to agree with his agenda. So they’re not terribly upset about, say, Muslims getting harassed or banks being allowed to screw over consumers or millions of Americans losing their health insurance.

They just wish that Trump would be a little more low-key about it, so he doesn’t scare off the average American by revealing the truth about the GOP’s brand of right-wing nuttiness. Oh, and many Republicans also don’t like it when Trump personally insults them, but they come crawling back anyway.

Finally, and most important, it’s not like any Republican is prepared to actually do anything about the lunatic they gleefully put in charge of the nuclear weapons. After all, they are “not advocating Trump be removed from office.” Nor have any Republicans “shown any signs that they’ll stand in the way of the Trump administration’s agenda.”

Yes, even after this most mild of public rebukes, Trump is still the man in charge of the GOP, and that will not change any time soon.

So forgive me if I refrain from applauding.

 


And No Religion Too

One of my fondest memories of childhood is attending Christmas Midnight Mass at my family’s Catholic Church. My cousins and I would bask in the glittering pageantry, well aware that as soon as we got home, all the presents beneath the tree would be vanquished under our attacking hands.

I’m about to become a father. Naturally, I should look forward to taking my own son to Midnight Mass.

Well, I’m not. Because he will not be raised Catholic. In fact, he will not be raised with any religion at all.

To continue reading this post, please click here.

 


Saint or Commie?

As I’ve written before, I dropped out of the Catholic Church when I was a teenager. I haven’t become an atheist, although I see nothing wrong with that philosophy. It’s just that I prefer to keep my distance from religion. However, I’ve also been upfront about my belief that one reason Latinos don’t make bigger social and economic gains is our overreliance on the Church.

So perhaps I should excuse myself from a debate taking place across the Hispanic community, Latin America, and the Catholic Church. The cause of this debate is that old rabblerouser himself, Archbishop Oscar Romero.

For those of you who don’t know, Romero was the head of the Church in El Salvador from 1977 to 1980. During this time, he spoke out against the brutality of the government and the oppression of the poor. For having such crazy ideas, he was assassinated, presumably by members of a right-wing death squad. Following his death, a civil war ripped the country apart and killed tens of thousands of civilians, including members of my mother’s family.

In the thirty years since his death, Romero has been lionized as a martyr for the cause of social justice, or criticized as a dupe for communist agitators, depending on whom you talk to. The Catholic Church has been considering him for sainthood for years, but weirdly enough, they can’t seem to go ahead and canonize the guy.

The debate over Romero goes to the heart of the Church’s standing in Latin America. Is it an institution that upholds the traditions of the culture, even if those traditions include exploitation and enforced poverty? Or is it a force for peace and compassion, which is what that famous hippie Jesus espoused?

The perception of the Church in Latin America has a direct impact upon U.S. Hispanics. Many of us who are first-generation, for example, saw an organization that gave lip service to helping the poor, but supported corrupt regimes in our parents’ home countries. Priests like Romero, far from being supported, often earned Rome’s disdain. The dichotomy (some would say hypocrisy) was not endearing.

But Romero’s legacy may finally be thwarting the establishment culture that shunned him during his life. In a truly surprising moment, my mother’s home country of El Salvador has finally gotten around to acknowledging its most famous citizen.

The LA Times reports that “For the first time, the Salvadoran state is publicly commemorating Romero. Through most of this month, marches, concerts and debates have honored the priest.”

Furthermore, the country’s president, Mauricio Funes, recently asked forgiveness on behalf of the state for Romero’s assassination. Funes said, “This is something that should have been done a long time ago” and added that his government would “end the decades of silence” that have been Romero’s official legacy.

If El Salvador can finally acknowledge that Romero was killed because of his strong drive for justice, maybe the Vatican can get around to saying that he was a pretty good guy.

By the way, and at the risk of taking a cheap shot, it seems like the Catholic Church’s current issues prove that it’s not the best judge of morality and saint-like behavior. But then again, what do I know? I’m just an ex-Catholic.


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