The older I get, the less patience I have with the intricate traditions of patriarchal religions. You want to tie yourself in knots over minutiae because you believe in a God that requires it? Well, I guess you have no other choice. Other than owning your own life and creating your own relationship with the universe, I mean.
Archive | Theology
Nestled in the Northwest Georgia Mountains in the city of Rome is Shorter University. Shorter University is a small Baptist Institution with a big problem.
Close to 60 of its faculty will not renew their contracts for new school year. The school has about 100 full time faculty members.
This is due to the requirement to sign a “Personal Lifestyle Statement.”
Here is part of the statement:
I agree to adhere to and support the following principles (on or off the campus):
1. I will be loyal to the mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention.
2. I will not engage in the use, sale, possession, or production of illegal drugs.
3. I reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality.
4. I will not use alcoholic beverages in the presence of students, and I will abstain from serving, from using, and from advocating the use of alcoholic beverages in public (e.g. in locations that are open to use by the general public, including as some examples restaurants, concert venues, stadiums, and sports facilities) and in settings in which students are present or are likely to be present. I will not attend any University sponsored event in which I have consumed alcohol within the last six hours. Neither will I promote or encourage the use of alcohol.
The University is practically decimated. Four out of seven deans will not be returning. The School of Professional Programs (remote learning for non traditional students) is the largest tuition draw, has lost a sizable portion of its students and 20% of its faculty. The College of Nursing has lost all but 2 inexperienced faculty members. The faculty that left is developing a new nursing program at nearby Berry College. Music and Theater has historically been a big draw to the undergraduate program at Shorter and they will lose 12 out of 20 faculty members. A tenured librarian of 14 years has also turned in his resignation.
Inside Higher Ed has an article giving some background:
In 2002, Shorter’s board of trustees voted to break away from the Georgia Baptist Convention after a dispute about who would appoint the college’s board. In the past, the state convention had chosen from a list of candidates approved by the college; beginning in 2001, it began to put its own board members forward.
The state convention fought the move, and the case went to the state Supreme Court, which ruled in 2005 which ruled the college did not have authority to sever ties with the church on its own……Another Georgia Baptist college, Mercer University, provides a view of an alternate path, had Shorter won at the state supreme court.
When Shorter sought independence from the Baptist convention, it used Mercer as a model: at the time, the college’s charter limited the convention’s control over the board of trustees. In 2006, not long after Shorter lost its court case, the convention cut ties with Mercer entirely, the result of a dispute about both institutional control and the rights of gay student groups.
Unlike Shorter, that separation stuck. Thus, five years later, a few days after Shorter announced its new faith statements, Mercer announced an employment policy change of its own: the Baptist university is now extending health insurance and other benefits to employees’ same-sex partners.
I suppose the Georgia Baptist Convention can take the school in any direction they see fit. It is a private institution. But tearing down this university’s academic integrity will be no door to heaven.
Former Ambassador to the UN and U.S. Sen. John Danforth (R-MO), in 2010: “If [Indiana Republican Senator] Dick Lugar, having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”
On Wednesday, Lugar lost his bid for re-nomination in Indiana by a wide margin to an extreme right-winger. There you have it.
Stephen Colbert recently explained the theological underpinnings of the Church’s opposition to contraception, and warned birth control users that their sin is a grave one:
The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God. You see, to Catholics, sex isn’t two drunk strangers getting their freak on at closing time. It is the mystical union of two people inspired to create new physical life while God adds a soul in a divine and ineffably beautiful three-way. So, when you use contraception, you are not only sinning, you are cock-blocking the Almighty.
Catholic leaders to Santorum and Gingrich:
Catholic leaders issued a letter Friday to GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, themselves Catholics, urging them “to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail.”
The letter, signed by 45 Catholic leaders says:
Mr. Gingrich has frequently attacked President Obama as a “food stamp president” and claimed that African Americans are content to collect welfare benefits rather than pursue employment. Campaigning in Iowa, Mr. Santorumremarked: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”
“At a time when nearly 1 in 6 Americans live in poverty, charities and the free market alone can’t address the urgent needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. And while jobseekers outnumber job openings 4-to-1, suggesting that the unemployed would rather collect benefits than work is misleading and insulting,” the letter adds.
“This statement is urging prominent Catholics in the race to go back and look at church teaching,” John Gehring, the Catholic outreach coordinator at Faith in Public Life, tells The Florida Independent, adding “that the letter is also about poverty.”
“The Catholic bishops have been incredibly important in raising a prophetic voice that really challenges those who think that the free market alone can sort of solve our economic problems,” Gehring says.
“You have Catholic conservative leaders, like John Boener, Paul Ryan, Rick Santourm, Newt Gingrich and they’ve all been looking to dismantle vital social safety nets,” Gehring says.
Faith in Public Life “works to promote a common good message in the media and helps progressive and moderate faith leaders to get their message out,” Gehring tells the Independent. “We’ve done a lot of work around common ground issues on abortion, we try to talk with pro-choice leaders. We provide an alternative voice, making sure that the values debate is not one-sided. For many decades the Christian right has dominated political conversations over faith and values.”
Gehring highlights the idea of “intrinsic evil,” adding that “a lot of people look at Catholic teaching and think about abortion as being a preeminent political issue, and that is true, but the bishops are also very clear that racism and torture — where Santorum is very bad on, Santurom has been an apologist for enhanced interrogation — are an intrinsic evil.”
He also highlights that Gingrich and Santorum’s “rhetoric around class and racial issues is in many ways out of line with Catholic social teaching.” “That is something Catholic voters will be concerned about,” Gehring says, “particularly given that both Santorum and Gingrich have not been shy about talking about the importance of their faith from a personal perspetcive and also how it shapes their political views as well.”
This time Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t making vague threats about secession. He’s merely threatening to ignore a possible Supreme Court ruling:
At a radio forum sponsored by the anti-abortion and anti-birth control group Personhood USA, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that he would refuse to obey a Supreme Court decision striking down the group’s signature anti-choice proposal:
QUESTION: You have agreed to “endorse legislation making clear that Fourteenth Amendment protections apply to unborn children” . . . . What happens if the U.S. Supreme Court attempts to strike down this legislation, and replace it with one of its own edict denying the inalienable right to life for all persons born or unborn? Would you enforce the inalienable right to life or the Court’s opinion as the law?
PERRY: Well, obviously you enforce the right to life opinion.
Perry’s promise to openly defy the Supreme Court is disturbing, but it is also far from original. Fellow candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have also pledged to treat binding Supreme Court opinions as if they were merely optional, and Gingrich even supports legitimizing his radical view of the Constitution through a campaign of intimidation against judges who disagree with him.
Nevertheless, the GOP’s burgeoning love affair with Jim Crowesque defiance of the judiciary is very strange, considering that activist judging is the backbone of their policy agenda.
The more I read the Gospels, the more they seem to confront the very patterns of the world we live in. At one point Mary, pregnant with Jesus cries out: “God casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly… God fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty…” You can’t help but think if she were alive in contemporary America some folks would try to accuse the Virgin Mother of being Marxist or promoting class warfare. But all through Scripture we see this – over 2000 verses about how God cares for the poor and most vulnerable.
What would Jesus say about Wall Street?