Friday, September 24, 2010

Jesus Loves You; Caesar and Mammon, Not So Much

By Mark P. Shea

(Inside Catholic) Here are some recent scenes from American Christianity waiting on the rich and powerful in the hope of catching some table scraps. You got your Christian representatives of the Thing that Used to Be Liberalism in bed with millionaires bent on "tailoring the message" to the needs of pro-abortion zealots:

Correcting his initial comments denying the charge, Rev. Jim Wallis of the left-leaning Christian group Sojourners has acknowledged that his organization received grants from the Open Society Institute (OSI). Funded by the financial speculator George Soros, the OSI is a backer of many political causes including legal abortion and homosexual ctivism.

Marvin Olasky, a writer with the evangelical publication WORLD Magazine, had reported that Sojourners, an inter-denominational Christian organization which backs left-leaning political issues, received several hundred thousand dollars from Soros' OSI.

In an interview with Timothy Dalrymple of the Patheos website, Wallis denied that claim. He compared Olasky to radio and television show host Glenn Beck who in Wallis' view "lies for a living."

"No, we don't receive our money from Soros. . . . Our books are totally open, always have been. Our money comes from Christians who support us and who read Sojourners. That's where it comes from."
Tax documents show that Sojourners received a $200,000 OSI grant in October, 2004.

D'oh! Caught with your pants down, Rev. Wallis? That's okay. Nobody was too surprised that Soros would bankroll you. The standard message of the Left since 1973 has been, "Pay no attention to those dead babies. What about the minimum wage?"

Speaking of the Soros payroll, you got your Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good disappearing without a trace, now that their only real mission -- snookering suckers into thinking that supporting a guy who favors sticking scissors in a baby's brain is some glorious expression of Catholic social teaching -- is accomplished. Being a wholly owned subsidiary of Soros, they were, in fact, as real a Catholic social teaching apostolate as a Potemkin Village is a real city. Prattling on about how a guy who has no qualms with leaving a baby who survives an abortion to gasp out her last breaths, neglected and ignored on an operating table, while her murderer collects a fat fee from Planned Parenthood is just the sort of thing that truly true Catholics should be all about! But now that the job of fooling suckers is finished, the money has dried up, and our heroes at CACG, once as dedicated to social justice as Mother Teresa (according to them), are now presumably busy trawling inside the Beltway for new opportunities to doll up Christianity in a low-cut red number, spiked high heels, and fishnet stockings for the next Democrat candidate cruising for a good time. wait! That's not all! You also got your baffling spectacle of Christians jumping in feet first to a rally on behalf of American Civil Religion and praying to whatever or whoever or whichever deity or deities might be out there, led by an apostate Catholic talk-show host gone Mormon -- who believes the Constitution is divinely inspired, that any church that preaches social justice is secretly a Marxist or Communist front, that a planet called Kolob is the one closest to the throne of God, and that God the Father used to be a man.
Quite a number of Christian commentators are trying to figure out what on earth the purpose of the Restoring Honor Rally was supposed to be. But I think this is sort of like asking what the reasoning behind a mood swing is supposed to be. Reason was not on display to a great degree. What was on display was a great gush of politicized worship of a patriotic American god or gods (To Whom It May Concern? The Force? Insert Name Here?) who loves this country above all others and needs us to help him/her/them/it to make America work again.

This/These god(s) appear(s) very malleable, and it's hard to say what he/she/them/it look(s) like for sure; but from what I can tell from Beck's strange amalgam of divinized political theology, here he/she/them/it is, portrayed by a Mormon painter who very much shares Beck's views. In this particular incarnation, the American god resembles Jesus (absent the other two gods, the Father and the Spirit, and without the (visible) helping hand of his kid brother Satan) and is surrounded by the Holy Company of Founding Fathers, saints, martyrs, special ops forces, astronauts, and congressmen as he separates the sheep and goats according to whether they obeyed the Word of the Sacred and Inspired Constitution. What could be more Catholic? What more biblical?

Beck, like a lot of Mormons, has a genius for spinning out secular messianic American narratives that rely on Christian patterns of creation, fall, and redemption and which tap into great reserves of Christian piety still fermenting American culture. Yet these largely emotional relics of a post-Christian civilization feed not on Christianity, but on moralistic therapeutic (and patriotic) deism. Such a desiccated religiosity bears about as much resemblance to actual Christianity as a smiley face does to the Mona Lisa, but it's still enough to generate a charge that both baffled and stymied the MSM, which expected the rally to be political in a conventional way...

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